Dear Stanford community and friends,
In the cascade of challenges confronting the entire world, our nation, and Stanford, grasping the meaning of the one that has been repeated generation after generation for a few hundred years is both most obvious and most vexing. Yet for people with privilege and influence joining coalitions as ordinary citizens to speak up and reject racial injustice is more important now than ever before. The outrage and revulsion in response to the unnecessary and unjustified deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and far too many before them is being felt across our entire library system, our university, our state, and our nation.
We cannot tolerate the systemic racism, inequity, and injustice that communities of color have had to endure since the inception of our country. As an academic library community, we believe in justice and democracy. We exist so questions can be debated, ideas expressed, and new pathways forward developed. We therefore have a responsibility to our Stanford community, and most especially to our communities of color, to ensure we continue to be a safe place for intellectual exploration and debate. Racism or discrimination, in any form, has no place at Stanford Libraries.
We take pride in being a welcoming and safe destination on campus, and we acknowledge the diverse backgrounds of our staff and patrons, but we can and we want to do better. This moment shall not pass without taking a deep and serious look at ourselves, our environments, and our services to assure we are meeting the needs of our community and through to all the communities we serve.
We will start by making training widely available to our staff on implicit bias, microaggression, upstander, and bystander responsibilities. We will continue to solicit, steward, and promote our collections of notable organizations and thought leaders of color, such as the leaders of the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and beyond, Angela Davis, Juan Felipe Herrera, Ruth Asawa, MALDEF, and the Chinese American Citizens Alliance, among the other 3,000+ linear feet of diverse collections on social movements.
Our staff intends to rise up in support of the chorus of voices that deserve to be heard and to do our work to be a welcoming, safe home for all scholars regardless of race, religion, or sexual identity and orientation.
Lastly, to our amazing library staff, the honesty, vulnerability, and compassion you have displayed this week continues to inspire ourselves and me. We recognize, with heartache, the weight that is on the shoulders of our colleagues of color right now as the gravity of current events and the worry over family, friends, and community is evermore present. We are stronger together, and only together do we comprise the Stanford Libraries.
As we begin to approach the resumption of research on campus, may we all do so through a new lens. May this moment not be like the moments before, let it inspire new research, new approaches, new policy, and most importantly new action. Every journey begins and continues with single steps; let us take those steps together.
In solidarity and support,
Michael A. Keller
Vice Provost and University Librarian