A Call to Action
Dear iSchool Students,
During the past months, our country has witnessed the senseless murder of George Floyd and the killings of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Many members of our University and College communities, particularly African-American students, have witnessed or have been directly impacted by hateful and racially motivated actions, leading to feelings of anger and sadness. I share these feelings and my heart goes out to all who have suffered as a consequence of racism and injustice. Those of us who have not been directly impacted by hateful and racially motivated incidents may find it difficult to understand the racial inequalities and injustices that exist in this country, and some of us may not recognize or accept that these problems exist. However, the long-term pain and suffering of our friends, neighbors, and colleagues can no longer be ignored.
The information professions have publicly stated values of diversity and equity, which we must continue to strengthen. We must acknowledge that there is more to do. We must find a way to apply our field’s knowledge to address both the overt and these persistent inequities and injustices in our society.
The challenges which lie before us call for reflection on how we can move this forward. iSchools have an important role to play because of their impact on societal problems and facilitating change through the power of knowledge and information. As a discipline that is deeply committed to the principles of diversity, inclusion, and openness, this is a call to action.
Many of the iSchools have pledged to increase the visibility and voice of people of color. Now, more than ever, we must protect scholars engaged in controversial topics and that speak out for social justice. We recommit ourselves to sharing our values of diversity and inclusion with students, as we prepare them for future leadership in the field. Know that I stand with you and will continue to pursue the goals of fighting racism and to show that the lives of Black/African American and other people of color matter.
For links to resources and additional messages from Dean Amy Reynolds and Diversity Director AJ Leu, please visit https://www.kent.edu/cci/justice.
Professor and Director
School of Information (iSchool)
Kent State University