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A message on anti-racism and our way forward

Thursday, June 25, 2020

The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks are stark illustrations of the long-standing racism, injustice, and inequity that shape our history and our daily lives. The protests that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by members of the Minneapolis Police Department are a response to years of systemic racism enacted against people of color. For everyone who is hurting and exhausted and angry, we unequivocally stand with you. We affirm that Black Lives Matter. But it is not enough to condemn racism. We need to do our part every day to build an organization that helps shape the future by actively rejecting the legacy of white supremacy. 

The University of Arizona Libraries Dean’s Working Group, Cabinet, and the Diversity, Social Justice, and Equity Council (DSJEC) commit to working together with colleagues across the Libraries to examine this legacy and its impact on our organization and profession. We will develop an explicitly anti-racist plan to counteract the systems of oppression that undermine our mission and values. This commitment is essential to the effective and equitable operation of our libraries within a land-grant institution that is profoundly enriched by the diversity of people who comprise our university. We look forward to engaging with the campus community in these efforts.

To ensure transparency and accountability, Cabinet will partner with DSJEC and Dean’s Working Group to produce a plan documenting our organizational commitments and approach in the coming months. To develop the plan, we will engage with library departments and shared governance groups to establish a concrete set of anti-racist actions. More immediately, DSJEC continues to organize roundtable discussions on racial justice and equity, identify formal training opportunities with external experts on anti-racist education and actions, and advocate for organizational change.

More details will be released as the specifics of this plan are established. Learn more about the Libraries’ history of engagement with diversity, social justice, and equity.

Shan C. Sutton
Dean of University Libraries
Katheryne B. Willock Endowed Chair

Megan Senseney
Co-Chair, Diversity, Social Justice, and Equity Council
Head, Office of Digital Innovation and Stewardship

In consultation with members of the University of Arizona Libraries Dean’s Working Group, Cabinet, and the Diversity, Social Justice, and Equity Council