As members of the Three Rivers Archivists Steering Committee, we strongly believe that Black Lives Matter and condemn the state-sanctioned police violence rampant in our society. The Steering Committee for TRA is a group of White and White-Passing archivists who strive towards social responsibility, justice, and anti-racism in our work and personal lives. We acknowledge the power structures at play within our profession and the Whiteness of the archives field. As Pittsburgh archivists, we are committed to doing the work to center and uplift the Black voices in our collections and workplaces and to support the work of Black archivists and memory workers. We take responsibility for creating an inclusive and anti-racist environment for our events, community listservs, and other activities. We invite our membership and other interested librarians and archivists to join us in this endeavor.
We acknowledge the Black archivists and librarians in our communities and those that have come before us including E.J. Josey, Virginia Proctor Powell Florence, Bekezalia Mguni, Dominique Luster, Samuel Black and others whose work influences our thinking.
We’re committed to taking action to dismantle the racist systems that function within our daily lives: our workplaces, our homes, and our schools. We’re excited to support each other–from those new to anti-racist work to organizers and activists who have long been engaged.
As part of this process, we would like to share some of what we have been reading and discussing over the past months. We’ll be updating this list regularly, so please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to share any resources that you’ve found helpful.
SAA’s Community Reflections on Black Lives and Archives Zoom forum was held in June and is now available to watch online. Speakers Zakiya Collier (Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, The New York Public Library), Dorothy Berry (Houghton Library, Harvard University), Courtney Chartier (Rose Library, Emory University and incoming SAA vice president), and Erin Lawrimore (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) shared their thoughts on civil rights, activism, and the development of anti-racist goals within the archives field: https://www2.archivists.org/news/2020/saa-community-reflection-on-black-lives-and-archives
During the meeting, Dorothy Berry encouraged attendees to refer to Black archivists’ research and publications in this moment. This “Black Excellence LIS Syllabus” collaborative GoogleDoc created by Twitter user @tttkay is a great resource: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/u/1/d/1vV0j2RrAszGulihZPstj_8Rc2PCURYSpYqYQxFc6Yeg/edit#gid=0
SAA Council Statement on Black Lives and Archives: https://www2.archivists.org/statements/saa-council-statement-on-black-lives-and-archives
Archivists Roundtable of Metropolitan New York statement and resources: http://www.nycarchivists.org/Human-Rights-&-Anti-Racism-Resources
LA Archivists Collective statement:
Archives for Black Lives Community Archives initiative: https://archivesforblacklives.wordpress.com/community-archives/
- Includes Anti-Racist Description Resources: https://archivesforblacklives.files.wordpress.com/2019/10/ardr_final.pdf
The Blackivists’ Five Tips for Organizers, Protestors, and Anyone Documenting Movements (June 2, 2020): https://sixtyinchesfromcenter.org/the-blackivists-five-tips-for-organizers-protestors-and-anyone-documenting-movements/
When Not to Call the Cops: A plea to protect Black patrons by Jarrett Dapier and Emily Knox (July 8, 2020) American Libraries Journal: https://americanlibrariesmagazine.org/2020/07/08/rethinking-when-to-call-the-cops/
Libraries Respond: Black Lives Matter. American Library Association (ALA) – Includes plans for everyday actions, centering and supporting black voices in LIS, staff development, library programming, and evaluating policies:
- Bukit Bail Fund (Pittsburgh): https://www.bukitbailfund.org/home
- Pittsburgh Without Police Fund: https://www.dustinpgibson.com/pwpf
- A People’s Archive of Police Violence in Cleveland: https://www.archivingpoliceviolence.org/
- We Here: A Supportive Community for BIPOC Library & Archive Workers: https://www.wehere.space/