Once again, we are saddened by the crimes in our nation being committed by those who should be defending and protecting everyone. It is horrifying and unthinkable that heinous events like the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd continue to happen. Like all of us, my reflections have been consumed by the unrest our country faces stemming, ultimately, from the atrocities of slavery and extending to the insidious racism since. Realizing the historical gravity of our current situation, the seemingly intractable complexity of the anger and fear, not to mention the implosion of extreme viewpoints on all forms of media, I sometimes find myself overwhelmed and overcome with hopelessness. My privilege allows me to toggle this hopelessness with hope, although I suspect that hopelessness defines the reality of far too many people in the United States and the world. I want our community to know that the Boston College Libraries stand in solidarity with the victims of racism, racial inequality, and police brutality. We are angry along with you and saddened along with you. We are here to help and will continue to be a safe place for everyone both now in our virtual spaces as well as when we are together once again.
All forms of bigotry and racism are unethical, anti-intellectual, and wrongheaded. As librarians, openness to ideas and rational dialogue are fundamental to our being. We believe that racism and intolerance are unacceptable. Our Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Values Statement begins: “The Boston College Libraries acknowledge historical, structural, and systemic injustice. The struggle against racism, prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination is central to our mission and profession.” Over the past year, library staff have actively engaged in discussions about racism, privilege, and social justice. We have been reviewing our policies, services, resources, collections, and priorities with attention to equity, diversity and inclusion. We are committed to educating ourselves while supporting those who have lived and learned through difficult experiences. We believe it is imperative that more voices are included. Therefore, we invite comments that will hold us accountable and improve the lives of everyone in the BC community. This work will not stop with an arbitrary deadline or goal, but will be ongoing.
Library staff love to share information with everyone. Here are some links to articles, books, and videos. Please reach out to us if any help is needed in identifying and accessing additional resources.
Thomas B. Wall, PhD
University Librarian, Boston College
Although the following statement has my name attached to it, the document is a collaboration between our EDI Working Group, our LEAG (Organizational Culture) group, and senior library management.