The BSA Unequivocally Condemns Racism: An Open Letter from the BSA Council & Executive Director
June 3, 2020
Dear Fellow Bibliographers,
I write today on behalf of myself and the Council. The Bibliographical Society of America stands alongside our peer humanities organizations and learned societies in unconditionally condemning the ongoing destruction of Black life in the United States. We unequivocally oppose racism, state violence, and both overt and subtle forms of oppression.
The acts of violence toward Black Americans – most recently resulting in the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, & Tony McDade – that precipitated recent events do not exist in a vacuum. The Society also recognizes and condemns insidious forms of systemic racism existing within spaces where bibliographers work. American institutions of higher learning, libraries, bookshops, and other organizations have actively and passively excluded Black bibliographers, as well as other people of color, gender non-conforming people, the LGBTQ+ community, and women throughout our long histories. As a result, bibliographers from these groups have had fewer opportunities for advancement and support, and scholarship they produce as well as bibliographical studies of their textual cultures have been overlooked or unpublished. We must do better.
The Society recognizes that we must actively work to change the status quo. At the January meeting in New York, the Council voted to update our Mission and Values statement so that it clearly communicates the Society’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. I am also working with members of the Membership Working Group to develop a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Plan, because statements mean nothing without action. We are on track to bring both of these to a vote at the Society’s next Council meeting in October.
You can expect to hear more about these initiatives this fall and at the 2021 Annual Meeting. In the meantime, anyone interested in getting involved is welcome to contact me directly. And, last but not least, I am always here to listen.
BSA Executive Director