A Statement of Solidarity

June 2, 2020

Words cannot undo the centuries of trauma, hurt, and damage inflicted on the Black and Brown people in our country. What we say makes a difference – words have power. But action creates change. Change takes all of us – but right now, breaking the systemic, structural racism that exists in this country requires white people to stand up. Speak up. And work. 

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries stand in solidarity with our Black and Brown students, staff, faculty, colleagues, and community members. We unequivocally reject the racism, bias, and hatred that has permeated our society.  

We know addressing the inequities in our organization and our profession requires more. To effect change, we must start with personal work and the willingness of those of us in positions of privilege to hold ourselves and each other accountable. Educate ourselves. Use our voices to make a tangible difference. Further, it is incumbent upon those of us with privilege to not require additional emotional labor and cause more trauma by expecting those suffering to do the work we need to do.

Change will not be easy. It will require continual reflection on personal shortcomings, biases, and assumptions. It will be uncomfortable. However, the time to address structural inequities is long overdue, and we must commit to meaningful action now.  

To all of our Black and Brown staff, students, faculty, colleagues, and community members: We support you. We are committed to creating change. We are committed to you. 

Turmoil and unrest are unsettling. What can we do? We can do the work.

The Division of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement provides information and platforms to engage and learn more. Our Social Work Library has provided this list of anti-racism websites for additional resources. The Libraries’ Equity and Diversity Committee has provided a strategic plan — assist, get involved, and help us implement. Create and achieve a work goal that advances our diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice values.     

Please visit this page for more on our continued commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as an extensive list of resources.

Libraries are dedicated to the principles and practices of social justice, diversity, and equality among our staff, collections, and services. As part of the efforts to further and enable the opportunities for education, benefit the good of the public, and inform citizens, the University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries commit ourselves to doing our part to end the many forms of discrimination that plague our society.