The following statement was posted on the Harold F. Johnson Library’s website and social media channels on Juneteenth. We stand by our words and believe that anti-racist action is the only moral response to the injustice experienced by Black Americans every day.
The Hampshire College Library stands in solidarity with all those who protest police violence against Black people and unequivocally supports the Black Lives Matter movement. We mourn the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Rayshard Brooks, Ahmaud Arbery, Oluwatoyin Salu, and many others, and we are outraged by the brutal militarized response to recent protests. Within our communities, libraries have a responsibility to advocate for the marginalized, to oppose ignorance and prejudice, and to seek the unmaking of systems of oppression and inequality. The pursuit of these ideals requires that we confront the malady of white supremacy, which has immediate and vicious implications for the wellbeing of people of color, and it is in this context, on a day celebrating emancipation from slavery, that we reaffirm our dedication to the ongoing work of anti-racism.
We also believe that a statement alone is an insufficient response in light of the magnitude of the injustices being enacted upon the Black community, and that, as a predominantly-white staff and profession, it is our duty to soberly consider both how our actions contribute to a culture of racism and how our inaction undermines efforts to enact lasting change. As such, we commit to the following over the course of the 2020-21 academic year in the hope that our work helps to advance the movement for racial justice:
- We will review our collection and address areas where Black scholarship is underrepresented.
- We will feature displays and events centered on the work of Black luminaries.
- We will create a guide featuring resources available to the Hampshire College community that explore racial justice issues.
- We will review library policies with the intent to identify practices that disproportionately affect the lives and educations of students of color.
- We will make time for library staff to pursue professional development and self-education on topics related to racial justice.
We know that this is only a starting point, and we welcome our community to offer both feedback on our plans and ideas about additional actions we should take in our efforts to combat injustice. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will try to respond individually to every message.