SLA Releases Statement against Racism and Unequal Treatment

Association to ‘Use Our Voice Not to Echo, but to Lead’

McLean, Va., 2 June 2020—Information has the power to do many things: to educate, to inspire, and to excite. It also has the power to anger and to sadden, as was the case with the news of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police last week, while we are still reeling from the recent killings of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and others.

As an association committed to equity—in access to information, in availability of opportunities, and in the treatment of our members, our industry partners, and all with whom we engage and interact—SLA is adding its voice to the growing chorus of calls for an end to racism and the unequal treatment and violence it fosters toward Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC). We urge those who share our commitment to use this tragic event as an inflection point, a moment where we change the trajectory of our mission and vision and seek a higher calling.

Going forward, we will use our voice not to echo, but to lead. Leadership is a core value of SLA, and we will work to identify opportunities to take a leadership role in eliminating racism and instilling greater respect for centering the ideas and voices of those who have been excluded because of systematic racism in our profession. SLA needs to reflect on how we as an association have perpetuated institutional racism.

We are in pain and mourning, yet we understand that these events place a heavier burden on some members of our community for whom this is not just “news” but a threat to their existence. Racism, intolerance, and unequal treatment of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and others who are not of the dominant culture are violations of human rights and are antithetical to the tenets of librarianship and the mission and values of SLA. We condemn racism and hate unequivocally, we assert that Black lives matter, and we resolve to use our resources to actively combat racism and white supremacy in the future and to work to reverse the effects of years of inequity.

SLA’s Diversity Inclusion Community Equity Community (DICE) provides many resources to promote equity in the association and the profession, as well as a space for open discussion of these topics. The DICE website includes a slideshow highlighting librarians who have advanced social justice, and a calendar of diversity events.

About SLA
The Special Libraries Association (SLA) is a nonprofit international organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners. SLA serves information professionals in more than 60 countries and in a range of working environments, including business, academia and government agencies. SLA promotes and strengthens its members through learning, advocacy and networking initiatives. For more information, visit

Kathy Bradley

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Special Libraries Association

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