The Library Racial Justice Team was formed to seek out and address instances of racial injustice within the library, curate the work of the Racial Justice Initiative, and provide resources that further the work foundational to all libraries of centering the voices and experiences of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
Bentley Library is committed to diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility in our spaces, collections, services, and community. We are dedicated to ensure that diverse voices are represented in our collections and displays; that everyone has access to the same resources and respect regardless of race or identity; that we conscientiously eliminate barriers in all of our programs and services; and that our physical and virtual spaces are accessible and welcoming to all.
I decided to join the library racial justice initiative after taking a Cultural Competence course in graduate school. That class showed me that there is still a long way to go regarding racial justice and I want to be at the forefront to help combat systematic racism. I also learned from that class that it is essential to create a safe space to be able to talk about these issues. I want to help ensure the library is a space where everyone on campus can see themselves.
I joined the library racial justice initiative in an effort to challenge my own privilege and perception of the world around me. Out of pure circumstance, I have lived in a very white bubble my entire life. Over the summer, when I saw the video of George Floyd crying out for his mother as he lay on the ground gasping for breath, I knew that I could no longer continue to be blissfully ignorant of the world around me. Joining the library racial justice initiative has forced me to be vulnerable; to accept that I am privileged and to process the immense guilt that accompanies that privilege. Most of all, the LRJI has provided a safe space to process these feelings, and has provided me with a set of tools to use going forward so that I may enact change in daily life.
I am part of the library racial justice initiative because I want to help stop systemic racism. I want to be part of the solution, not the problem. I hope to be constantly learning about what I can do to actively be a better person, a better listener and an antiracist. I am learning that my comfort and convenience at our historically white institution and in America is at the expense of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, who have had to be uncomfortable and inconvenienced for centuries. Our initiative at the Library is to help change that.
I am committed to practicing anti-racism at work and in my personal life. I am involved in the Bentley Library Racial Justice Initiative to listen, learn, and work within this lifelong process.
As a person and a librarian, I have always believed that all people are created equal. Knowing that some are not treated equally makes me strive to learn more and help in any way I can.
While I strive to provide equal access to information to everyone who uses the library, I am not sure I always succeed. My desire is to improve the library experience for students of color, promote conversations on racial injustice, and learn from diverse voices and cultural experiences through the actions I take in the Bentley Library Racial Justice Initiative.