[Adapted from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DignidadLiteraria
#DignidadLiteraria was formed the last week of January 2020 by journalist Roberto Lovato, and the authors Myriam Gurba, and David Bowles, in response to the controversy surrounding the novel by Jeanine Cummins, American Dirt. The controversy exploded after Gurba wrote her now historic review of the book in Tropics of Meta, after Ms. magazine rejected her review because she was not well-known enough to write a negative review. The article led Bowles and others to join her in what became a firestorm of Latinx and other critics of the book.
The hashtag was first used in relation to the controversy surrounding American Dirt in a tweet by Roberto Lovato on January 22, "The fight is just starting. Stay tuned for #DignidadLiteraria." The campaign was officially announced on Twitter on January 26 with a call to action, "We call on Latinx writers, artists, & rebels to join us in staging actions this coming week: inspired, angry, beautiful actions that will draw the nation's attention to a community of 60 million left off of bookshelves & out of the national dialogue, a community targeted because the humanity of our stories is still being muted." The campaign calls for actions on Twitter, Instagram, and in real life.
In response to the grassroots call to action, on Twitter thousands of tweets that used the hashtag #DignidadLiteraria were tweeted, readings were held, eleven cities held events in a matter of days, and books by Latinx authors were virally shared and promoted on social media platforms.
On January 30 REFORMA—the National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish-speaking—issued a "Statement in Solidarity with #DignidadLiteraria". In the statement REFORMA indicated they had started discussions to establish a dedicated reading list and annual Adult Fiction Award "highlighting the stories that are written by and resonate with Latinos." They called on their members to "be a part of this movement." REFORMA has 20 active chapters.
On February 3, representatives for #DignidadLiteraria met in New York City with officials from Macmillan, the parent company of Flatiron Books, which published American Dirt. It was there that David Bowles read a statement that Macmillan had agreed to transform publishing practices to increase Latino authors, books, and staff. During the meeting Macmillan committed to developing an action plan to address these goals within 90 days. The meeting included Bob Miller and Don Weisberg, presidents of Flatiron and Macmillan; Amy Einhorn; representatives for Oprah Winfrey; and #DignidadLiteraria co-founders Bowles, Myriam Gurba, Roberto Lovato, and Matt Nelson, representing Presente.org
, which provides legal and logistical support to the #DignidadLiteraria effort.
Less than two weeks after the launch of the campaign, Latinx authors reported a jump in book sales, attributing it to social media campaigns drawing attention to their work.
The group was also instrumental in getting Barnes & Noble to cancel its "Diverse Editions" line of canonical classics written by and featuring white people, but with new variant covers that changed the race and/or ethnicity of the protagonists, a choice widely decried as brown- and black-face. David Bowles used Twitter to call for a protest at the line's launch event at 6 pm on February 5, 2020, at the Barnes & Noble location on 5th Avenue to talk to reporters and to a representative of Penguin Random House, the publisher partnering with Barnes & Noble to release the "Diverse Editions." That very day, Barnes & Noble cancelled the event and the line of books.