The Valkyries, an organization of women working in comic book shops, announced on Twitter this morning that the group will be disbanding. In the statement, provided below, the administrators say they believe the group is now actively doing harm by failing to meet its stated purpose and mission statement. The statement goes on to acknowledge where the organization has both succeeded and failed. Cited failures include the group’s treatment and response to people of color and folks from marginalized communities.
A statement from our admin team. pic.twitter.com/p5YBlVhptJ
— The Valkyries (@LCSValkyries) September 6, 2018
The Valkyries disbanding comes nearly a week after writer and comic book shop owner, Jazmine Joyner detailed her experiences as a person of color with the group whose administrators are white women. The article, published on the comics news website The MNT, highlighted an incident where Joyner’s expressed concern over how the group’s response to a white women’s harassment on social media overlooked and erased the experiences of women of color. Joyner states that her warnings were not heeded, and in one case, were co-opted by a white administrator.
I brought this up with one of the Valkyrie founders, the woman who recruited me. I told her how insensitive it was for them to blindly follow this hashtag without realizing that it erases the black women and women of color who get harassed in comics every day without a hashtag or a hoard of white women coming to their rescue. She seemed to understand, especially after I said that, as a black woman, The Valkyries didn’t seem to be a safe place for my voice. I told her that I might leave the group. She admitted to me that the Valkyries admin team was completely white and the group was predominately white as well. I saved my decision for the next day. I wanted a night to think about it. The next day I decided to leave. That same admin had taken our conversation and my grievance with the group and turned it into an article published on a large comic website. She was praised for writing about the exact concerns I brought to her. Jazmine Joyner, The MNT
The article, published on August 29, set off a dialogue on social media where others expressed their concerns regarding the organization and administration of The Valkyries. In the statement, The Valkyries administration cites as part of the reasoning for their failure to serve all communities, a lack of volunteers. This line, in particular, has been problematic for many as it appears to place blame on women of color for not stepping up to serve in a volunteer capacity. We will continue to update this story with any additional information as it becomes available.
Andrea Ayres writes about comics and representation in pop-culture.