‘Enough is Enough’: A Commitment to Anti-Racism
By Kathleen M. Webb
Kathleen Webb is dean of the University Libraries. She writes, “While my name is attached to this statement, it has been informed by the experience and consultation of library faculty and staff.”
Like many of you, I have been horrified, saddened and angered by violence and racism toward black people and all people of color — not only the recent senseless killings by police officers and vigilantes, but also the severe and disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on communities and people of color. Together, these events have brought our country’s longstanding racial inequity into an undeniably clear focus. Witnessing the death of an unarmed black man under the knee of a police officer and seeing unassailable evidence of health care injustice, much of the world has collectively shuddered at the astonishing and disturbing regularity of such treatment. Ignorance can no longer be tolerated; now is the time to acknowledge and act.
'Not a time for silence or inaction'
At the University of Dayton, one of the fundamentals of our Marianist charism is that we believe people live, learn, serve and pray most effectively in community. While true community is an ideal for the University, the reality for persons of color does not always match that ideal. We all need to be committed to moving to that ideal. President Eric Spina has said, “Now is not a time for silence or inaction. It’s a time for solidarity, courageous dialogue, and a renewed commitment to equality and dignity for all. Drawing on our Marianist heritage, we understand that we all share the responsibility for finding a new path forward that upholds and protects the worth and dignity of every person.”
Tens of thousands of Americans, joined by like-minded people in other countries, have united to say enough is enough. I and other members of the Libraries’ faculty and staff stand in solidarity with those who have been the target of racism, bigotry, violence, inequality and police brutality. Unequivocally, we affirm: Black Lives Matter.
'You cannot fix what you will not face'
The late author James Baldwin, whose works shed light on racial and social injustice in the 20th century, said, “You cannot fix what you will not face.” The Libraries’ leadership team is committed to facing the instances of racial bias and discrimination in our collections, services and spaces. To that end, we pledge to:
- Actively seek to recognize barriers to equitable services and spaces.
- Identify and address collections, services and spaces that exhibit racial or cultural bias.
- Ensure that the histories of UD’s African American and other underrepresented communities are collected, preserved and shared.
- Actively work to increase the diversity of thought and experience in our collections.
- Expect each member of the Libraries’ faculty and staff to deliberately increase their knowledge of diversity, equity and inclusion and to actively build an inclusive environment in the Libraries.
- Provide training and opportunities for learning and dialogue to the Libraries’ faculty and staff and to the UD campus.
The Libraries’ Diversity and Inclusion Team has created a research guide on Anti-Racism Resources. Additionally, we are actively adding unlimited electronic access to anti-racism books so that our whole community can read and learn how to actively fight to eradicate racism in America.