The ALA Social Responsibilities Round Table calls on ALA leadership to take action in support of our shared values of social responsibilities, racial and social justice, and democracy, as well as safeguarding the health and safety of the ALA membership and LIS community by cancelling the in-person LibLearnX meeting in January 2022 in San Antonio, Texas.
The state of Texas has recently passed the historically most restrictive law concerning access to abortions, and the most restrictive voting rights law in the nation.
In May, Texas passed Senate Bill 8, restricting abortions after 6 weeks and actively incentivizing lawsuits against those who provide abortions. The United Nations Human Rights Council has declared that S.B. 8 "endangers women with unprecedented obstacles to safe abortion." Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court Sonia Sotomayor has called the Texas law an "unconstitutional law engineered to prohibit women from exercising their constitutional rights.
In addition, Texas has passed S.B. 1, titled An Act Relating to Election Integrity and Security. This bill is widely recognized as a voting suppression measure. MOVE Texas has called this law "an undemocratic attack on the freedom to vote" while Texas Senator Carol Alvarado has called it a "threat to democracy everywhere."
Both of these laws are a threat to our democracy. By holding LLX in San Antonio in 2022, ALA will in effect endorse these anti-democratic laws. ALA has long been a proponent of women's and voting rights, including the 1971 resolution on Equal Opportunity for Women in Librarianship, the 1974 resolution on Support for the Equal Rights Amendment, and the 2012 resolution against voter suppression in America. We note the precedent when ALA moved its 1979 Midwinter Meeting from Chicago to Washington, DC because Illinois had not ratified ERA.
Further, due to the current tragic wave of Covid-19, we advise that holding the in-person LibLearnX meeting unnecessarily risks the health and safety of conference attendees and ALA staff as well as the staff of the venues that support the in-person event.
We ask the ALA Executive Board to move expeditiously to convert the scheduled San Antonio 2022 LibLearnX meeting from in-person to virtual.
Passed by SRRT Action Council September 2, 2021
Endorsed by the Committee on the Status of Women in Librarianship September 2, 2021