REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, has learned that various conference attendees conveyed experiencing inappropriate and unacceptable behavior, including displays of racism and discrimination, at the 2019 ALA Midwinter Meeting & Exhibits in Seattle, WA.
An ethnic affiliate of the American Library Association (ALA), REFORMA is an association committed to supporting the academic, professional, and personal efforts of the Latinx community. It is disheartening to learn that as we near our 50th anniversary as an organization, we are still dealing with micro and macro aggressions that make the library profession difficult for many people of color to navigate.
In working with and for the Latinx community we are cognizant of the systemic racism that affects the lives of marginalized individuals and acknowledge that, while people of color may reach leadership positions, we cannot dismiss the hostility and inequity that comes with being a person of color in a predominantly white profession, as well as the ways oppression impacts all minority groups.
REFORMA urges the American Library Association to address racism and discrimination in the profession, be it at the institutional level or at professional development convenings. As a beacon for information that is viewed globally, ALA must be the foundation for inclusion and respect for all. We ask that ALA take action, and support librarians of color who experience deliberate or unconscious discrimination, by taking all accusations or concerns regarding racism seriously. It requires further investigation and is a dialogue that must expand upon the program on ‘White Fragility’.
REFORMA stands with individuals who have been seen as anything other than their authentic selves recognizing that discrimination finds roots in all marginalized communities and across intersections of identity. We must not forget that while libraries are repositories and hubs for information and resources, they are also the cornerstone of the human condition where social justice plays a role in aiding in the quality of life for all.
To learn more about REFORMA’s mission, visit reforma.org
On behalf of the REFORMA Executive Board by David Lopez, REFORMA Western Region Chapter Representative & ALA Councilor-at-Large
Approved by members of the REFORMA Executive Board: Madeline Peña Feliz, Kenny Garcia, Tess Tobin, Ana Campos, Gloria Grover, Patricia Valdovinos, Nicanor Diaz, Manny Figueroa
January 29, 2019