Statement from the Library Director and the Springfield Library Commission on Racial Justice
June 5, 2020
On behalf of the Springfield Library Commission and the Library Administration, we are writing to share our personal sense of heartbreak and devastation at the events surrounding the killing of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis. And we join you and the Springfield Community in your grief and justified anger. As we witness repeated episodes of violence and killings perpetrated against our Black Community by rogue police officers, it is impossible not to experience a deep sense of outrage, disbelief and grief. We honor the lives of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and so many others. We are reaching out to you to share the grief and anger that we know you also feel, but also to reaffirm our common resolve. Both as private citizens and as members of this great institution, we must all do what we can to ensure that we foster a culture of inclusion, equity, and respect for one another. We promise to keep our resolve and strengthen our combined efforts against systemic racism until we can all see that this time justice will prevail and endure. We need to look to each other for strength and hope, and recommit ourselves to our shared goals of making the world a better place for all, especially black and brown people. Now is the time for us to come together as we serve together. Our work has never been more critical. Our concern for each other has never been more important.
We saw a young woman at a recent protest holding a sign with a quote from Angela Davis. It reads, “I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept” This quote is a perfect nest of powerful words to reflect about George Floyd’s death and a call to justice. These words beg people and organizations to change this unacceptable and systemic racism.
The Springfield Library Commission cherishes the work that library staff perform to address literacy challenges, the digital divide, to provide a place where everyone can share ideas and gain knowledge. We believe the incredible mission of the Springfield City Library serves as a powerful force to counter many inequities including racism.
The Springfield City Library is proud to have signed the Urban Library Council’s Statement on Race and Social Equity through which we, along with 167 other Urban Libraries have steadfastly committed to:
- Eliminating racial and social equity barriers in library programs, services, policies and practices.
- Creating and maintaining an environment of diversity , inclusion and respect both in our library system and in all aspects of our community role.
- Ensuring that we are reaching and engaging disenfranchised people in the community and helping them express their voice.
- Serving as a convener and facilitator of conversations and partnerships to address community challenges.
- Being forthright on tough issues that are important to our communities.
It is our collective responsibility to examine what we are doing now in light of our commitments that we signed onto, to reevaluate our services and internal culture and to constantly improve and stand with our communities of color.
In the words of the great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr:
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Stephen Cary: Chair, Springfield Library Commission
Molly Fogarty: Library Director
Molly Fogarty, Director
Springfield City Library – All Yours, Just Ask
220 State St.
Springfield, MA 01103
413-263-6828 ext. 290