In the wake of this week’s shocking tragedy in Orlando, we are all reminded yet again of the grave importance and urgency of creating and nurturing a culture of inclusiveness and respect in the world.
Numerous efforts to support Orlando communities during the ALA Annual Conference are being planned for conference attendees. I’d like to share those here and encourage those of you attending conference to participate however you can.
Armbands @ Annual
Conference attendees are invited and encouraged to wear black armbands embellished with the words “Equity,” “Diversity,” and “Inclusion” during the conference. The armbands, conceived and designed by the ALA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (TF-EDI) acknowledge the events following the Trayvon Martin and Marissa Alexander cases, and are intended to signify that all ALA members must commit to building equity, diversity, and inclusion across the organization, the field of librarianship, and the communities served by libraries. Armbands will be available at the Opening General Session on Friday, in the registration area and the Diversity Pavilion on Saturday.
While final details are still being confirmed, a memorial gathering is being planned for Saturday morning, June 25, 8-8:30 a.m. in the Orange County Convention Center Auditorium
Donate School Supplies in Orlando
The TF-EDI, in collaboration with Orange County Library System and Librarians Build Community, is sponsoring a school supplies drive to benefit students in the Orlando area. As you prepare for your trip, put a packet of pencils or notepaper in your suitcase. Not attending conference? Send your donation along with a colleague who is. Donation bins will be placed around the Orange County Convention Center.
Summer BreakSpot in Orlando
The TF-EDI and Librarians Build Communities Member Interest Group invite you to join them in supporting the Orange County Library’s Summer Breakspot, a program that provides free meals to young people 18 and under during summer break. ALA volunteers will help connect kids with lunches and help with the Summer Reading Program. A perfect volunteer gig for the creative, talented members of ALSC! In case you missed it, the ALSC Public Awareness Committee just posted a blog entry on combating food insecurity through library programming.
Rainbow Bracelets and Ribbons
Back by popular demand, ALSC’s rainbow bracelets will be available at the ALSC/AASL booth on the exhibition floor (#719). The bracelets were a sought-after accessory during last year’s conference in San Francisco! ALA will also be offering rainbow ribbons for all members at registration. A colorful way to share your pride and support of the LGBTQ community then and now.
Banned Books Readout Booth
SAGE, the Office for Intellectual Freedom, and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table invite you to join them at the Banned Books Readout Booth on Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., to read a passage from a banned or challenged work of GLBT literature to stand in solidarity with Orlando’s GLBT community and to show our support for the Orlando shooting victims and their families. Readings will be professionally video recorded and will be featured on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel during Banned Books Week, September 25-October 1, 2016.
The booth will be located at the entrance to the exhibit hall in the Orange County Convention Center (look out for a red carpet and cameras).
In addition to these activities, ALA is working with many member groups and local organizations to plan special relief events during the conference. Details will be available on the ALA Annual Conference website.
In the spirit of inclusiveness (one of ALSC’s core values), I also encourage you to check out the array of diverse programming and events happening in Orlando next week. For your convenience, ALA has a compiled list of diversity related events at the Annual Conference.
Let’s join together in positive action to fight hatred with love, respect, and good will.