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Smith College Libraries Statement on Acts of Racial Violence

Published June 26, 2020

The Smith College Libraries community is outraged by the recent brutal deaths of Rayshard Brooks, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, among others. These murders of Black people are unacceptable and unjust. They are visible acts of violence deeply rooted in a history and culture of racism in the United States. Protests held in every state of the Union and District of Columbia against police brutality, White supremacy, and injustices toward the Black community, have created a turning point in challenging systemic oppression and racism.

While libraries as cultural institutions have long championed free and open access to accurate and unbiased information, the Smith College Libraries recognizes that this work continues to be shaped by a legacy of White supremacy and anti-Blackness. If the library community is to be truly inclusive, we must examine our values, physical spaces, programming, systems, and methodologies.

The staff of the Libraries commits to:

  • Being accountable to our communities, listening deeply, sitting with hard truths and discomfort, and taking action to dismantle racist structures that continue to marginalize Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color.
  • Learning and using non-oppressive, non-racist language in our catalog, our research guides, our finding aids, in our teaching and presentations, and in our personal interactions with users and colleagues.
  • Building collections by authors of color, and documenting the lives of women, trans, non-binary and gender nonconforming People of Color. 
  • Sharing resources that support our community in antiracism education and dismantling White supremacy.
  • Seeking out other opportunities to dismantle White supremacy and anti-Blackness within the Libraries.

We can no longer simply aspire to the notion of ‘access for all’. Now is the time to act on it.  

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