Correction to Post on Joint Statement

In my last blog post about the JOINT STATEMENT FROM THE PRESIDENTS OF THE ETHNIC CAUCUSES OF ALA (AILA, APALA, BCALA, CALA, REFORMA) AND THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION (ALA) I made the following statement:

 Unsurprising[ly] and understandably, the joint statement was followed by a demand to include a representative from the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (GLBTQ) Roundtable on the task force. ALA President Barbara Stripling responded that plans to invite representation from GLBTQ were already underway.

 

After reviewing a very nice e-mail sent to me by Ann Symons who is not only Chair-Elect of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Round Table but an Alaskan colleague, I’d like to withdraw my characterization of the communication I saw on the ALA Council list as a “demand.” That was too strong a word. Here’s the actual e-mail that prompted my remark:

  • From: “Hepburn, Peter” <Peter.Hepburn@canyons.edu>

  • To: Barbara Kay Stripling <bstripli@syr.edu>, ALA Council <alacoun@ala.org>, “alaboard@ala.org” <alaboard@ala.org>, Jerome Offord Jr <jeromeoffordjr@gmail.com>, ‘Isabel Espinal REFORMA President’ <president@reforma.org>, eugenia_beh <eugenia_beh@yahoo.com>, Lisa Zh <zhzhls200@gmail.com>, “ailawebsite@gmail.com” <ailawebsite@gmail.com>, “kellypster@gmail.com” <kellypster@gmail.com>, “hhdevine@gmail.com” <hhdevine@gmail.com>, ‘Michelle Harrell Washington’ <mwashington@ala.org>

  • Cc: Mark Gould <mgould@ala.org>, “bgoldberg@ala.org” <bgoldberg@ala.org>, “Laurie Borman (lborman@ala.org)” <lborman@ala.org>

  • Subject: [alacoun] RE: Joint Statement from Ethnic Caucuses and ALA

  • Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2014 20:11:01 +0000

  • Accept-language: en-US

Barbara, thank you for sharing this.  It’s a good starting point.  The Committee on Membership Meetings is already considering ways in which the conversation can be a core part of the conversations at the virtual meeting  and the meeting at Annual.As the GLBTRT Councilor, I hope that the task force will include some representation of the round table’s membership and of its keen interest in matters related to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

Thanks,

Peter

Later that same day, another note was posted to the Council list:

  • From: “Matthew P. Ciszek” <mpc16@psu.edu>
  • To: Barbara Kay Stripling <bstripli@syr.edu>
  • Cc: “alacoun@ala.org” <alacoun@ala.org>
  • Subject: [alacoun] Re: Joint Statement from Ethnic Caucuses and ALA
  • Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2014 17:19:47 -0400 (EDT)

Dear Barb,
Thanks for the your quick action, in conjunction with the Ethnic Caucuses and the Executive Board, in support of BCALA regarding Florida’s “stand your ground” laws and the discriminatory and racist way that they are applied in that state.  This work is crucial, important, and necessary, but I feel that it is equally important that ALA focus on an expansive definition of diversity that includes LGBTQ voices. When appointing a Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion it is crucial that LGBTQ representation be included as well.
LGBTQ people of color are much more likely to be victims of violence than their non-LGBT counterparts. LGBTQ people of color often suffer from higher rates of job insecurity and housing discrimination. Additionally, all LGBTQ people lack protection by anti-discrimination laws in 5 states, including Florida, where ALA conferences and meetings will be held in upcoming years. I would ask that representation from the LGBTQ community be considered on the Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion to ensure that the Association takes diversity in all forms into account in this important work.
I am a firm believer that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and look forward to working with you and the Association in this area. I appreciate your time and consideration.
Matthew P. Ciszek
ALA Councilor-at-Large

I think it is fair to say that neither of these posts actually constitute a “demand.” In particular, Peter Hepburn’s email as GLBTRT Councilor seems to simply express the hope the task force would be expanded. While I think Matthew Ciszek’s e-mail could be described as more insistent, he was not speaking as an official rep of GLBTRT.

I apologize for the use of the word “demand.” I also apologize for adding a Q to to the end of the RoundTable. I’ve been hearing GLBTQ a lot and was trying to be inclusive. BUT – I should have actually looked up the Roundtable page to confirm their name.

Finally, I see that I forgot to mention that I do support the inclusion of GLBTRT on the task force. I think Matthew Cizsek’s comments are very well taken.

NOTE: This statement is also on the original post as an “update.”

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