Recent events around the world have led us at Surrey Libraries to pause and reflect on racism in our society.
The Library’s mission is to ‘connect people, spark curiosity and inspire learning.’ Our core values of community focus, equitable access, service excellence, intellectual freedom, creativity and collaboration can help in creating a just society free of racism.
Surrey Libraries condemns racial inequality, oppression and violence against Black people, Indigenous people, and all people of colour, locally and globally. We recognize that racism exists in our society against many groups. None of it is acceptable in a just society. The Library has a role to play in providing accurate information on both current and historical perspectives.
Surrey Libraries is committed to making meaningful change. Our Strategic Plan 2019-2023 outlines concrete actions and initiatives to promote a more equitable and inclusive society. We will identify and address gaps in our organization to facilitate this change. To promote understanding and dialogue, we recently shared an anti-racism booklist, and posted a storytime with an anti-racism theme. For two years running we have hosted a series of community dialogues on racism. Finally, the Library recently reaffirmed its support of the Canadian Urban Libraries Statement on Race and Social Equality.
There is no safe, easy, or comfortable way to eliminate racism. We have the power to dismantle systemic racism through our own actions if each of us individually:
- confront our own ingrained biases, insecurities, ignorance, and fear of “the other”
- educate ourselves
- speak up and stand up against inequality and injustice
- share stories, experiences, and learning
- support each other in this process
- make each other, and our organization accountable
- do all this on an ongoing basis
Individually and collectively we can all take action to create a more equitable and inclusive society based on respect and our common humanity.