A police officer killed another Black man, George Floyd, on May 25th, 2020. Not because of the color of his skin, but the color of his skin was used as a pretext. Police brutality against Black men and women has not stopped, even amid a deadly pandemic. The time has been past due for public libraries to be more vocal about where they stand: Black Lives Matter. Oakland Public Library has made its stance unequivocally clear with it’s “Listen, Learn, Participate: a #BlackLivesMatter Resource Series.”
As a Mexican woman, I am still mourning my own personal unjust loss from the year 2019. Working at Lawrence Public Library has buoyed me when I’ve felt the heaviness of my reality. Under the auspices of the Youth Services department, I’ve been allowed to cry while shelving, while sitting down quietly in a secluded part of the library, while typing at my desk area. I’ve also been allowed to go home when a quiet sob is impossible. I am hoping more public libraries, including this one, are able to bear witness and buoy its communities as it repeatedly mourns the unjust murder of black men and women.
It is never too early to start talking to your children about the Black Lives Matter Movement and racial injustice. The San Francisco Public School District also amassed great information on how to teach about the Black Lives Matter movement found here. PBS has also a great series on the prison industrial complex and the Ferguson Protests. The LPL Book Squad recently curated this list to provide patrons of all ages with the latest literature related to Black Lives Matter.
We can envision and create a world where our children - my future children - live freely and joyously.
-Vanessa Reynaga is a Youth Services Outreach Assistant at Lawrence Public Library.