We call on all librarians, library workers, students, volunteers, boards and commissions to join the Movement for Black Lives.
Call to Action
#BlackLivesMatter is an invitation to listen to the lived experiences of Black communities, to join in dismantling racism, and to affirm that “embracing and defending Black life in particular has the potential to lift us all” (Alicia Garza, #BLM co-founder, July 2013).
Recent events have highlighted the undeniable travesty of systemic racism in America. From Sanford, Florida, to Staten Island, Ferguson, Chicago, Baltimore and Baton Rouge, open media access has opened the eyes of the nation to the disproportionate loss of Black lives at the hands of law enforcement. We cannot unsee what we have seen. We know these tragedies are not new, and that systemic racism persists in every social institution. As author and activist Adrienne Maree Brown said, “Things are not getting worse, they are getting uncovered. We must hold each other tight and continue to pull back the veil.”
As library workers, advocates and archivists, we help our communities uncover truths, interrogate assumptions, write new narratives, create media, build community, learn from history and document history-in-the-making. We have an important role to play.
Many libraries and librarians have already shown support the best way we know how: We have created amazing resource lists, programs, curriculum, staff trainings and opportunities for critical community dialogue. We have begun to ask:
- What role can libraries play to address systemic racial injustice and implicit personal bias?
- What needs to change within our libraries, campuses and associations?
- How can the library serve as a platform for communities seeking to pull back the veil so that we may all engage in social transformation?
This “call to action” unifies library efforts and demonstrates our unequivocal professional commitment to social justice and equity. We publicly affirm our support for the Movement for Black Lives and we commit to deepening racial equity work in our institutions and communities. We join the call for #FreedomNow. If you agree, join us. We don’t have all the answers, but we do know that harnessing our collective power is the only way to create meaningful and transformative change.
This is the beginning.
To support the Movement for Black Lives, we can start here:
Join 40,000 people and counting to support the Movement for Black Lives. Then share it far and wide! #M4BLPledge
The M4BL platform provides a road map and vision for moving towards a world "in which the full humanity and dignity of all people is recognized." We see a role for libraries in this road map. Study and share the platform with your colleagues and communities.
Let us know you support the #Libraries4BlackLives call to action. Share your ideas. And spread the word!
We will be creating and sharing more resources and action tools in the weeks to come. View Projects →
With love and in solidarity,
Amita, Jessica, Amy and Sarah (Meet the team)
Thanks to our friends at the Incluseum for inspiring this call to action, and to #blacklivesmatter for your vision and leadership.