To the Emory Community and our Friends, Supporters, and Patrons,
The Emory Libraries staff shares in the pain and frustration felt by communities across the country from the ongoing racial injustice. We are angry, frustrated, and disheartened by the violent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Rayshard Brooks (Georgia), Breonna Taylor (Kentucky), George Floyd (Minnesota), Tony McDade (Florida), Riah Milton (Ohio), Dominique Fells (Pennsylvania), and the numerous injustices that continue to plague Black people and people of color in America. We are in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and the adoption of an anti-racist mindset in our practices. Libraries are pathways to information, ideas, and new knowledge. We preserve history and culture and provide interpretive programming to build awareness and provide context to our resources. We are uniquely positioned to do this work and to provide resources and tools to encourage research, teaching, learning, and action in the fight to eliminate racial injustice and oppression.
As noted in our diversity statement, Emory Libraries recognize diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values integral to achieving our mission to enrich the quality of life and advance intellectual discovery by connecting people of diverse backgrounds and experiences. We are committed to embracing opportunities that strengthen these values – both in our organization and in the communities we serve – by exposing and addressing all forms of injustice through the implementation of solid actions and strategies to cultivate an anti-racist environment and abolish systemic racism.
We understand that in having an anti-racist mindset, we are responsible and accountable for the elimination of systems and practices that perpetuate the current cycle of racial injustice. With this in mind, in the coming year and years to come, we will actively participate in the following activities:
- To increase their own individual level of awareness, each library staff member will be encouraged to engage in activities and education opportunities to expand knowledge of privilege and racial injustice
- Implement an audit of internal and external policies and practices for collection development, creation of metadata for collections, employee recruitment and retention, and promotion and advancement to identify and eliminate any racist practices
- Complete an internal review of the Libraries’ workplace to determine what issues must be addressed to build an anti-racist organization and develop processes, assess organizational development activities and programs for effectiveness, and develop mandatory training and research to build cultural competencies
- Develop programming for the Emory community and beyond to build awareness of racism and encourage dialogue
- Continue creating exhibitions physical and digital to expose stories and acknowledge injustice and racism
- Complete an audit of the Libraries physical spaces and redesign if needed to develop an environment of inclusion and belonging
- Increase our efforts to provide information and resources that identify inequities and injustice and acknowledge our complex institutional history
This will be difficult work, but we will be determined, intentional, and focused. We will engage with students, faculty, staff, and the community to inform and assess our progress and identify future areas of focus as we move forward. As always, thank you for your support.
Yolanda Cooper, Dean and University Librarian
Living and Learning About Race resource guide (Emory University Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion)