Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Redefining Civil Rights in America: A Librarian at Every Table. No, 231.

December 8, 2004. No. 231.

Librarianship is committed to the ideal of diversity as manifested in the mission of the Office for Diversity of the American Library Association and the charge of the Association's Standing Council Committee on Diversity:

To provide a forum to research, monitor, discuss, and address national diversity issues and trends. To analyze and address the impact of diversity issues and trend on the profession, and the relevance and effectiveness of library leadership, library organizations and library services to an increasingly diverse society. To provide to Council and ALA membership information, needed for the establishment of ALA policies, actions and initiatives related to national diversity issues and trends.

To encourage and facilitate diversity in ALA membership and the recruitment and retention of a diverse workforce in the profession as a whole. To encourage and facilitate diversity in ALA leadership and leadership development.

To facilitate a broad awareness of how and why diversity is unequivocally linked to all ALA areas of concern such as intellectual freedom, education and continual learning, literary and equity of access. To work collaboratively with the ALA President, ALA Council, ALA Divisions, ALA Offices and Units, ALA Round Tables, ALA Committees, and ALA Affiliates.

Will librarians urge attention to this important report?

December 1, 2004.
Report on Bush civil rights record dispatched to White House

Washington, DC - In an appeal for healing a nation deeply torn across a wide ideological divide, the leaders of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights today urged President Bush to forge a stronger commitment to embracing civil rights with actions, more than words.

Commission Chairperson Mary Frances Berry and Vice Chairperson Cruz Reynoso underscored their plea for "presidential leadership" by dispatching to the White House a copy of a report prepared by Civil Rights Commission staff titled Redefining Rights in America: The Civil Rights Record of the George W. Bush Administration, 2001-2004. The 166-page report, considered for adoption in November, was rejected by the Republican-appointed members of the 8-member Commission. The report documented what it called "missed opportunities to win consensus on key civil rights issues" ranging from affirmative action, to fair housing, to immigration, to voting rights.

"The credibility and soundness of this review is grounded in careful research that concluded you have failed to exhibit leadership on pressing civil rights issues," stated the letter from Berry and Reynoso accompanying the report. "Sadly, the spiraling demise of hope for social justice and healing has deepened over the past four years, largely due to a departure from and marginalization of long established civil rights priorities, practices and laws."

Berry and Reynoso, whose terms both expire in January, have a combined total of more than three decades on the Commission. Their successors will be appointed by President Bush. Often called the civil rights watchdog, the Commission is a bipartisan, independent agency established to monitor executive and legislative branches of the federal government.

"The sharp divide on civil rights across our nation is a chasm of isolation that can only be mended by your demonstrated commitment to stand firmly on your promise to reunite the country," the letter noted. "We urge you to embrace the core freedoms and values enshrined in our civil rights laws that when fully exercised help to make us whole but when abandoned, can tear at the seam of our national fabric."

The draft report is posted on the Commission's website

Click here for letter


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