#ShutDownAcademia #ShutDownSTEM Shocking! (Really?)

Today, Vice President for the Harvard Library and University Librarian; Roy E. Larsen Librarian for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Martha Whitehead, encouraged us to drop what we were planning for the day and observe the cause #ShutDownAcademia #ShutDownSTEM. This was an admittedly much more bold move than many of us have come to expect from a research library head, but its timeliness and appropriateness cannot be denied, considering the state of society and the urgency of fomenting systemic change.

Change--that uncomfortable word for most human beings. It never comes easy or at a convenient time. It is however inevitable, and as always in order to be worth a damn it begins with ourselves. We can't change effectively until we know what needs changing because our own culture envelopes us so that we are blind to our own shortcomimgs. So today was spent in researching, learning, reflecting, and admitting ignorance and ultimately responsibility not only for our own biases but for the biases and especially the atrocities of our forebears.

Denial would be a natural reaction to questioning one's own assumptions, one's own biases, one's own racism. Certainly not me! No. Well, maybe.

For my motivation I'm indebted to Elie Mystal @ElieNYC, writer for The Nation, who covers the American Justice System (and frequently injustice of same) with a keen eye and sharp wit. The first words of a frustrated (perhaps angry?) tweet of his has haunted me over the past weeks, and it looks like it's not going away. It began: "White people gonna White". 

I can't and don't think I need to add to or interpret that. So today, as I sat here in my slightly olive-tinted, semi-Semitic, White priviledge, it was time to step up, to listen, learn, accept, engage and support anti-racism to the best of my abilities. If anyone at IASA is also interested, I can reccommend the following website as a good starting place.

Anti-Racism Resources for all ages