Confronting Racism in Our Unjust World:A Statement by PCL
Featuring Words and Images From Staff of Providence Community Library
We are sickened and heartbroken by the death of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement officers, a manifestation of the systemic racism and inequitable treatment of persons of color that continues to plague our nation. Providence Community Library joins the members of our community who are speaking out for justice for Black lives and we condemn violence and racism towards Black people and all People of Color.
At the community level, true justice requires transformation, an honest examination of the past, and addressing barriers that have so often shaped the lives of Black communities through generations. Race may determine the schools we attend, may well have bearing on our income, our access to adequate healthcare, and our safety in moving through our days. To address and end the inequities in our society, we must recognize and challenge a world that is so materially shaped by white supremacy and privilege. There is much to learn and unlearn. We must start now.
While the pandemic has forced Providence Community Library to close its doors, library staff recognize, see, empathize, and hurt alongside those who are hurting at this painful time. Our vision and mission is to provide free, relevant educational and cultural resources, and a welcoming and safe physical and intellectual space, for everyone in Providence. Providence Community Library is committed to prioritizing racial and social equity, to engaging in work with purpose and examining ways in which we can, and must, do better. We'll work harder to connect patrons with anti-racism resources and amplify the works of Black writers, artists and thinkers, including and especially those from our own community. Finally, we'll work harder to assist with the process of healing.
On Friday, June 5, the youth of Providence brought together 10,000 people of all ages demanding change and declaring Black Lives Matter. Providence Community Library believes in the power of youth to change our present and our future. We will continue to hire and work with youth, strengthening their abilities to lead our PVD Young Makers program, to bring their whole selves to the library, to occupy space to talk and process their lived experiences. We will continue to listen and respond to young voices, and to support and mentor them as they create programs and shape experiences in our nine libraries.
The disruption in our collective lives due to COVID-19 and the inequities the pandemic exposed like a gaping wound, give us the opportunity to rebuild, to heal, and to come back stronger and better. Providence Community Library will continuously examine our programs and collections, amplify youth voices, and expand what we do in partnership with other organizations to make Providence a place we are all proud to call home. We can not miss this moment to make change. Our library strives to reflect and embody our diverse city and we pledge ourselves to support the hurts, the needs, and the dreams of the people of Providence.