Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists Statement Condemning Racial Injustice

The Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists governing board stands in solidarity with the recent protests against police brutality and systemic racism towards Black Lives.  We condemn violence, harassment, and racial injustice, and we affirm, unconditionally, that Black Lives Matter.  We support the Society of American Archivists Council Statement on Black Lives and Archives and stand by our colleagues at the Society of Southwest Archivists, Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Council, New England Archivists, and other archival organizations, archives, libraries, museums, and historical societies who have publicly expressed their support for Black Lives and Black History.

As record-keepers of history, we manage and preserve historical evidence that often documents legacies of systemic and structural racism, oppression, disenfranchisement, violence, and death imposed on Black, Indigenous, Latinx and Chicanx, Asian, and other communities of color in the Rocky Mountain region and our nation.  We also acknowledge that archives have traditionally been places of power and privilege, where the dominant stories and histories collected are those of white oppressors and where Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color (BIPOC) have been excluded from accessing or contributing to the archival record. Most of all, we acknowledge that archivists have played a role in perpetuating the oppression of these diverse histories.  All this must change.  We must do and be better.

As an organization, SRMA commits itself today to the long-term work of dismantling structural racism in our profession, our archival collections, and our communities.  We will do this through support for our Black members, education, listening, and action.  In particular, we support and advocate for the equity and safety of Black archives workers and archives documenting Black histories in the Rocky Mountain region.  We acknowledge the trauma that Black archives workers experience during this time, and we state unequivocally that the work of eradicating structural racism in archives cannot and should not be solely done by our Black members and other people of color.  All archivists, in SRMA’s membership and beyond, have an ethical responsibility to disavow racism daily in the ways we collect archival materials, provide access to our collections, engage with our communities, and create and support opportunities for instruction using our collections.   

We urge our membership to begin this work today and to practice it every day.  We have provided anti-racism and social justice resources for members of the archives profession below.  Please contact us if you have a resource that you would like added to this list. 

Anti-Racism and Social Justice Resources for Archivists
Anti-Racism Resources.  University of Colorado Boulder Libraries.
Anti-Racist Description Resources.  Archives for Black Lives in Philadelphia Anti-Racist Description Working Group.
Resources for Social Justice. Society of American Archivists.
Talking About Race.  National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Documenting the Now. Archiving social media content generated by contemporary social movements.

The Society of Rocky Mountain Archivists is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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