With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, economic instability, and public murders of multiple Black individuals (including Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd), our community has been and is going through trauma. We are committed to supporting Spectrum Scholars and providing multiple spaces for individuals to process, grieve, and express the ways these events and systems are impacting them as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in LIS. The Spectrum Advisory Committee (SAC) has collected stories and responses from Scholars and we share here to provide space for individuals to express a variety of emotions. Some Scholars have chosen to remain anonymous; others have consented to have their names published.
One question SAC asked Scholars was, "What's happening around you?" Below are selected responses.
"Somewhat chaotic outdoors. From people gathering and not wearing masks to protests around the city." -Anonymous Scholar
"I see so many white librarians using their privilege to speak, and to grandstand, but not to give space and time to those of us who aren't as privileged. In discussions about power and privilege and supporting those who don't have either, they talk about what they've done to "help" and they demand praise for their "generosity". To ask for actual action is seen as something that can not be tolerated, instead statements are written and issued, and the change that needs to be made is not even started." -Anonymous Scholar
"Michigan is still on lockdown until June 12 but people seem to be in better spirits now that the weather is nicer." -Anonymous Scholar
"I live and work in a small town and it's like we're in our own bubble. There have been no positive cases for anyone living here, no deaths, and no protests. The impact of everything happening around us though is something that I feel deeply though. And being in a small town does not save you from losing people or being subject to the ignorance of others." -Heather Posey VanDyne (2018 Scholar)
"Trying to stay mentally focus while sheltering in place, and working from home." -Anonymous Scholar
"The statistic that continually sticks out in my mind is that 30% of COVID-19 cases in my county are Latinx folks. While on a national scale, we know that communities of color are disproportionately affected, it affects my day-to-day as I know family members and loved ones continue to report to work as essential workers. The city where I grew up has always been segregated along ideological and racial lines. While there has been strong support for the Black Lives Matter movement, there is much education still needed in my community and need to center BIPOC voices and experiences." -Sheila Garcia (2016 Scholar)
"In my immediate surroundings, it's quiet. It's morning. Hardly any movement. I am currently in the SF Bay Area. There is unrest and violence in my city and other cities around the bay and, as a result, there are curfews implemented." -Anonymous Scholar
"Protests in nearby Washington, DC. Friends and family using social media to discuss anguish, hope, and resources." -Anonymous Scholar
"I live in New York City. After 90 plus days of quarantine, we are all tired and stressed. There are serious concerns over Coronavirus Pandemic, systemic long-term unemployment and all the things that accompany food and income short-falls. A general sense of unease and worry persists, it's more palpable than the invisible virus of hate and COVID. I thought we reached a low with the viral video release of Amy Cooper falsely calling the police on Christian Cooper, no relation, in Central Park. Then the murder of George Floyd set off a domino of genuine outrage, morphing into small out-breaks of false outrage by proxy, with outside groups, ranging from Anarchists, White supremacists and the desperate disenfranchised usurping those who have a legitimate sense of outrage and seeking justice." -James Soucé (1998 Scholar)
"Contraction of library services, retraining staff and managing folks while reopening library." -Anonymous Scholar