This afternoon at ALA Midwinter 2021, ALA Council will review and discuss a proposed resolution condemning white supremacy and fascism that I co-authored. Below are my drafted opening remarks.
Hi, everyone! It’s been an honor to help develop the CD#43, a proposed resolution to condemn white supremacy and fascism as antithetical to library work with the help of many of you, my fellow Councilors. I want to start by thanking and acknowledging my non-Council coauthor Violet Fox and the many folks, member editors among them, who have helped get this resolution in shape to be discussed. How we got here: I did my millennial best, I put out a call for coauthors on social media, facilitated a group draft in google docs, and got feedback from affiliates, committees, and roundtables. I messed up and figured it out a lot (it’s my first resolution). You were all extremely patient and helpful, as were our incredible ALA staff.
Some context of why we’re bringing it forward now, though I think this resolution is understood to be urgent. Just a little more than two weeks ago, a mob, inflamed by misinformation and disinformation in the form of ideological rhetoric and carrying fascist and white supremacist symbols including nazi swastikas and confederate flags, attempted to interrupt and counteract democratic process. They were emboldened by inaction from American institutions. They overwhelmed our nation’s capital.
The Association is ready for this resolution for a few key reasons I’m going to quickly outline:
- First, we’ve done the reading. Over the course of consecutive ALA conferences, white allies have interrogated our fragility, and we’ve had experts provide a vision of how we can become an antiracist profession. We’ve listened to and amplified the voices of our colleagues of color enough to acknowledge that diversity is not the solution to racism or fascism.
- Second, we’re doing the work—I want to applaud the work the Executive Board, Chapters, Affiliates, and others have done to help us commit to antiracism in practice. When working on this resolution’s first draft, I took notes from APALA’s elegant and direct statements refuting racism. We have two working groups (that I am aware of) through the Freedom to Read Foundation and the Intellectual Freedom Committee exploring how we can do intellectual freedom and social justice work together.
- Third, we’re changing—as we move towards a Constitutional Convention and shape a future for the association that is more participatory and less oriented towards a hierarchical governance structure, the frameworks we employ to create a genuinely welcoming, equitable, and just community will become all the more important, and this resolution seeks to develop and strengthen those intentional antiracist and antifascist frameworks.
A quick rundown of what’s in there: this resolution is focused on three key areas, acknowledgment (which, as I mentioned, we’ve already begun to do), apology (which is something we owe BIPOC among many), and exploratory actions to reconcile our path forward.
Wasn’t able to finish this part (time management!)
It’s a scoped resolution, one designed to put us as an association and a profession where we belong, the center of discussions of free expression and inquiry for all—I’m glad to have the opportunity to discuss it with you today.
Thank you for your time and attention.