This issue has been a long time coming.
We’re not only referring to the extensive production process (we proofread and copyedited till our eyes went cross!), but also to the history of Room as a whole. To put it plainly, this magazine—as beautiful and important as it is—grew from white women’s philosophies as adopted by an editorial collective composed primarily of white women. It comes as no surprise, then, that the majority of the content published has been, ostensibly, quite white in meaning and focus. We are not saying this as an accusation, but rather an indictment of plain-faced fact. Our radical imaginations finds its basis in narratives we already know; we recycle facets of the world we find comfort within when imagining a supposedly “more just” future. The result? As unintentional as it may have been, white begat white for nearly forty-one years.
Enter 39.1. In the pages that follow, you’ll find pieces about love, loss, triumph, and fear—typical tenets of the human experience. You’ll find poems about loving the dark lips of a mixed woman’s vagina; stories about losing the teenaged understanding of desire to a boy who murmurs, Do you know how beautiful you’d be if you were white?; visual art about the triumph of black beauty in societies that consider black bodies to be anything but; and creative non-fiction about the fear of retribution from Indian family members because of the speaker’s queer identity. Here at Room, we’ve come to see race—and cherish you all the more for it.
In the commission, the stereotypical immigration narrative will be challenged, asking could home be more fulfilling than the place we left it for? Our interviewee implores women of colour to elevate their own voices and stories and encourages them to be the only judge of what is valuable to them. The issue raises questions, opens doors, and creates space but the work in Room and elsewhere is hardly over.
Join us. Take this vital turn with Room.