Words alone cannot honestly express the hurt and pain we are feeling during this moment in our history. Georgia Health Sciences Library Association (GHSLA) stands in solidarity with its membership, the community, and our professional organizations condemning acts of violence, discrimination, racism, and social injustices against People of Color. We unequivocally support #BlackLivesMatter and recognize that advocacy, accountability, and an actionable plan can lead to long-lasting change.
Like many, we have spent the past few days overwhelmed by media coverage of the senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd. Their untimely deaths due to police brutality have led to protests, uncomfortable, yet long-needed conversations and to new civil rights movements. We fully acknowledge the emotional toll and resounding societal impact of these traumas in the midst of the global COVID-19 outbreak, a pandemic that disproportionately impacts the African American community at alarming rates.
GHSLA encourages our members to actively participate in promoting a culture of change by engaging in peaceful demonstrations of protest, forums, and crucial conversations with colleagues, family, and friends to evoke transformation. We stand firm in our commitment to abolish systemic injustices, implicit bias, or micro-aggressions against our Black communities. We recognize that the catalyst of current events is born out of cumulative and sustained impacts of racism in this nation.
It is important that GHSLA be accountable. A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiative has been regretfully absent from our association and it is our duty to encourage and stand for our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) colleagues and friends.
Moving forward as an organization, we will work with our professional and community partners to:
- Listen and hear the concerns of our BIPOC members, so that a strategic plan is created that is inclusive and supportive in real, actionable ways
- Provide leadership/professional development opportunities and career support, especially for new BIPOC librarians and library students
- Foster a community that addresses the mental health, growth and well-being of our members
- Combat health disparities and information inequities by assisting our membership with education, conversation, and support
- Establish a DEI Taskforce for diversity, equity, and inclusion
Hate and racism have no place in our society. All people regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic, or national origin should be treated with respect and not deprived of civil liberties.
To our members of Color, we acknowledge your pain and heartbreak. Your professional organization is here for you in whatever you need. To be a true ally in action, not just words, we must advocate for and amplify BIPOC voices and show in real ways how we recognize the harms done and make long-lasting amends.
GHSLA Executive Committee
June 16, 2020