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MLA Statement on Systemic Racism

Friday, June 26, 2020  
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In recent weeks, our community, our state, has been at the center of national unrest around the murder of George Floyd. The Minnesota Library Association Board condemns racism in all its forms.  

The vision of the Minnesota Library Association is to ensure a future where libraries thrive. Libraries rooted in white supremacy cannot effectively work to reduce racial disparities.  As Dr. Nicole Cooke, author of “Information Services to Diverse Populations,” reminds us, “Even with numerous programs, initiatives, and conferences specifically designed for and dedicated to recruiting and mentoring outstanding minority candidates, there still has only been a 1 percent increase [in racial and ethnic diversity within our profession] in almost a decade.” 

As a predominantly white association, MLA endorses the statements from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and the ALA Executive Board that provide a larger voice to the status of racism within our profession. 

As an organization, we need to address systemic racism across all types of libraries and within librarianship.  In January 2019, the Minnesota Library Association acknowledged our own complacency in supporting the current state of racism in librarianship.  We offered our own action items to address racism and discrimination in our profession.  We accomplished some of these items by reviewing the MLA Code of Conduct and hosting an ongoing dialogue about racism and inequity. We will continue the conversation at the MLA 2020 Virtual Conference in October.  

We know conversation is not enough. The mission of the Minnesota Library Association is to bring together staff and supporters from libraries of all types by helping them accomplish together what none can do alone.  MLA will hold space for its members to do the internal work necessary to integrate change in our day-to-day work as individuals, and as an organization we call on members, supporters, and all libraries to connect, partner, and act against racial injustice.  

To bring together staff and supporters and address systemic racism, MLA will:

·         Listen to and learn from our library community 

·         Support BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) library staff

·         Establish an Ad Hoc committee to gather ideas and create an action plan

·         Add antiracism resources to our website 

·         Incorporate antiracism into the agenda for the monthly MLA Board meetings

·         Create annual antiracism training for the MLA Board

·         Hold the organization accountable in moving these items into action

 

We thank all our members and supporters for working with us as we continue to call out racism in our profession and create a roadmap for going forward.


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