As an organization and as human beings, Spokane Public Library stands with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and all who are calling for immediate, collective action to end the systemic racism and inequity entrenched in our communities.
While the unprecedented impact of COVID-19 has set the stage for a “new normal,” the past months have been filled with all-too-familiar demonstrations of racism’s enduring harm and deep roots. Facing increased barriers to resources and health services, Black and other marginalized communities are losing their lives to COVID-19 at a disproportionate rate. During this same period, the U.S. has witnessed the brutal, racist murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.
Systemic racism undermines our society and putting an end to it will require all citizens to work together — with the active support of dedicated community and government leaders. As highly trusted institutions and essential foundations of civic infrastructure, public libraries have a unique and vital role to play in advancing equity and addressing racial divides.
In 2019, Spokane Public Library showed our commitment to ending structural racism by signing the Urban Libraries Council Statement on Race and Social Equity, which asserts that “libraries can help achieve true and sustained equity through an intentional, systemic and transformative library-community partnership.” We will use this statement as a baseline for building progressive policies, activities, and collaborative relationships to advance equity.
This is not a fleeting moment, or merely signing a statement. We’re committed to doing the work. We are dedicated to progress and tangible change. We stand against racism and violence toward the Black community. We commit to listening as we work toward becoming part of the change. As a starting point here is a list of books on racism available from the library.