Armbands @ Annual

“Equity,” “Diversity,” and “Inclusion” armbands at the 2016 Annual Conference

The words “Equity,” “Diversity,” and “Inclusion” appear on black armbands that attendees are invited and encouraged to wear during the 2016 Annual Conference.

What do the armbands signify? 

They are a symbolic acknowledgement of the Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion’s charge to have a “public and honest conversation” around issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, and a reminder that we stand together and have not forgotten.

What is the Task force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion?

The Task Force was created as a response to a statement from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) in 2014 critiquing ALA for holding the conference in a state that has “Stand Your Ground Laws.”  The armbands, conceived and designed by the Task Force with support from the ALA Office for Diversity, Outreach, and Literacy Services, acknowledge the events following the Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander cases, and are intended to signify that all ALA members must commit to building equity, diversity, and inclusion across the organization, the field of librarianship, and the communities served by libraries.

Why black armbands?

Since the 1960s, black armbands have been symbols of protest and solidarity in the US. The “Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District” in 1965 is a well-known example, when three students (John Tinker, Mary Beth Tinker and Christopher Eckhardt) wore black armbands decorated with white peace signs to school to protest US involvement in the Vietnam War. The Supreme Court decided in favor of the defendants’ first amendment rights to speak out in a public school setting.

Where can I get an armband?

The armbands will be available at the two entrances to the Opening General Session at 4:00pm on Friday, in the registration area and the Diversity Pavilion on Saturday.

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