Because we so often run out of time to discuss the other resolutions, I wanted to share my 3 minute explanation of resolution 52 which we should be discussing and voting on today.
Why did AASL bring this resolution? This resolution is not solely an apology for inaction and for harm to others regarding past actions that were brought to our attention by author Wayne Wiegand. While looking at the actions, inactions and the silence of the past, we looked at ALA and AASL today to see how well we are working together on current EDI initiatives. We discovered that AASL has taken some beginning steps that others in ALA are unaware:
AASL has created documents and initiatives to support equity, diversity and inclusion and we listed these in the resolution in case you haven't seen them.
AASL has sponsored Spectrum Scholars program since its inception – our current president Kathy Carroll is a Spectrum Scholar.
Equity, diversity & inclusion are core values of our profession; EDI is at the forefront of AASL policies, our strategic, and our operational plans; and within every area of school librarian practice.
We acknowledge and we apologize for past actions and inactions that have harmed members of the profession and for the part AASL and ALA has played in historical racism and segregation in the library profession.
We commit to promoting diversity at the beginning of their careers, in leadership opportunities and in the greater work of AASL and ALA through an EDI lens in a sustainable manner.
We see the need for better communication throughout ALA so all are aware of EDI initiatives. One of the problems historically has not been that nothing was done, but that nothing was written or communicated to others within our profession about our work and opportunities.
AASL stands ready to lead loudly while creating opportunities and resources for collaboration with ALA divisions, ALA chapters, AASL chapters, ALA Roundtables and Ethnic Caucuses to create a stronger voice for our profession.
At a time when school and youth librarians are being targeted in our society for our intellectual freedom and social justice efforts; at a time when our BIPOC students are losing equitable access to school librarians and their libraries; at a time when we need to be standing together, taking action and communicating to others, this is when ALA needs to join with us to acknowledge the past, commit to doing better, and sharing our message of power and hope to promote Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Efforts in ALA while addressing historical effects of racism.
Diane R. Chen
School Librarian @ Stratford STEM Magnet School
AASL Division Councilor