Foundational to my practice of anti-racism as a librarian is the understanding of the ways in which the personal is political. Structural oppression and systemic racism show up in intersectional ways in our lived experiences. Stories and counterstories are ways we understand, process, reclaim, teach, and guide ourselves and each other.
My engagement in anti-racism work is connected to my co-liberation and my own family legacy as a descendant of enslavers and settler colonialists, as a white-bodied, queer, and non-binary person. I believe that how we engage in anti-racism and justice work is as important as what we do.
Our culture puts so much emphasis on “doing” over “being.” The ways I am practicing “being” include deep listening to others and my own body, leaning into slowness that cultivates trust and relationship, and asking, “what is needful in this moment?”
Some of the ways I am practicing “doing” include:
- Planning and hosting the Living Library storytelling series, where members of our community share lived experiences that include marginalization around ability, race and ethnicity, mental health, gender and sexuality, immigration status, and more, with two or three members of the campus community. These stories become dialogues that help participants see the humanity in each other and question dominant narratives.
- Collaborating with colleagues on the CU System Faculty Committee for Racial and Ethnic Equity (CREE) to synthesize and raise up issues impacting students and faculty of color across the four CU campuses.
- Designing and teaching a seminar course, Intersections of Journaling, Autobiography, and Memoir, where students and I read the work of authors of color and look deeply into our own stories, creating and sharing original work.
- Engaging with colleagues in collaborative curation projects on Cultural Competence, Anti-racism, Anti-racist Children’s Literature, BIPOC Authors Writing on Nature and Environmental Justice, and an Indigenous Knowledge guide.
There is much to learn from and with each other. I am grateful to many teachers and collaborators.