Monthly Archives: June 2020


When I started this series I stated that this has to stop, that we need to start making real changes in our society to push toward an equitable society. A couple of things have bubbled to the surface. Can I be part of The Change?
  1. Fund CUNY. The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone is entitled to education. In the 21st Century we need to have a path the includes at least an associates degree for everyone. A well functioning, funded public university is a critical infrastructure for our  city.
  2. It is time to seriously discuss reparations. What is owed? America was built on the sweat of people of color. In this pandemic public budgets are being balanced by releasing the people at the bottom, who are most likely to be people of color. Many are saying that this pandemic has uncovered a radically unequal society. It is time for change.
  3. Policing in America needs to change. It’s more complicated than just pulling the plug. This maps back to CUNY. There are thoughtful scholars in our CJ departments who can help with that.
As we move toward our very different Fourth of July, lets start re-imagining this city and this country.

Another kind of writing project

As I have said before, I am well represented by a cranky, activist union, The Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York. The have declared a “Summer of Struggle” intended to persuade the State and the City to not balance the books by firing adjuncts. They are pushing for fully funding CUNY as a social justice issue, and as a way to pull NYC out of recession.
They called for a stream of “tweets,” supporting this call. This is not a wild idea. It is supported by research that says that CUNY is a proven tool for lifting people out of poverty.  A well supported and financed infrastructure of public higher education is a down payment on the kind a real change that we are doing to need to do better.
So I have undertaken to write daily “tweets” to support the Summer of Struggle.  It has been truly brain expanding. Writing truly is a learning experience. If you are on twitter I am @reb2670. You are welcome to join me in this effort. We need a real movement to get this done.

I need to start undoing my socialization as a white person

One of the best parts of working my craft in NYC is that I get to share airspace with the Research Libraries of NY Public Library.  One of the outstanding offerings of this week is

As I commit myself to this work, I receive strength from having the folks at the Schomburg Center give me some guidance.

Buckling in for the long term

What’s really important is that we keep at it. We need to stay uncomfortable with black men and women being shot by police.

What I can do is start planning to share resources and insights regularly. Going to try to make it weekly.  Not for a week, a month, or for the summer. Open ended.

I’m in for the long term.



From my reading list

I am reading “Teaching for Justice: Implementing Social Justice in the LIS Classroom.” Chapter 6 “Dismantling Racism: Teaching LIS Social Justice Courses to Non-LIS undergraduate students” — cited

Brilliant. Please check it out.


I stand with the movement that is standing up to demand that the racism that has so profoundly marked our nation change.  I have decided to support Black Visions Collective with a regular donation.  I am uncomfortable.

That being said, it’s time to speak to the police unions.  I am proud to represented by an activist union (The Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York). I was raised by a public school teacher. Effective, loud, cranky unions are a really important human right.

That being said, it’s time to wake up and stop protecting bullies and terrorists. Be part of the solution.




From The Library Association of the City University of New York (My tribe)

     To our African American friends and colleagues, We stand with you. To our Non African American friends and colleagues, we must stand against white supremacy and systemic racism. Black Lives Matter.
          Today, we the LACUNY Executive Council, write to you in sadness over the acts of heinous police violence facing our African American community. The murder of George Floyd by police is another act of senseless violence that has plagued this country longer then this organization has existed. In these trying times, LACUNY stands firm against racial injustice and violence. We recognize and condemn these acts and other forms of racial violence, bigotry, and institutional racism. Now is not the time for silence and inaction but rather a time for social proactiveness.
           On behalf of LACUNY, I know that many members of our community are heartbroken over this event and the continued racism and discrimination that plagues our society. It is also challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic to get the in-person support from friends and family that can be a powerful source of comfort. During this pandemic, we might not feel comfortable joining direct action campaigns in the streets and you can support this movement through a financial donation  to organizations  including the Black Visions Collective Movement and Minneapolis Freedom Fund.
     Other ways in demonstrating support are by:
    -Listen to communities of color
    -Call out white supremacy and its manifestation in institutions and in social spaces
    -Check in with your students, fellow staff and faculty
    – Write to elected officials
    -Teach about it in your library instruction classes
    In Solidarity,
    On Behalf of The LACUNY Executive Council:
    Ian McDermott, President
    Jeffrey Delgado, Vice President/ President Elect
    Ryan Phillips, Treasurer
    Wanett Clyde, Secretary
    Nora Almeida, Past President.

To mayors and police chiefs all over the country:

I hope you are uncomfortable. Do you really want your men to make yet another headline for terrorism?  Do something now, before the movement to scrap the police as a broken system gets any stronger.

What would it take to make George Floyd the last?

I want to begin by saying that while I have been quarantined, I have done my best to avoid the media, as a way of maintaining peace of mind.  At first I tried to dodge the news of the death of George Floyd. It did not seem to have anything to do with me.  Way outside my hula hoop, so to speak. Then people I care about got my attention.  I now realize that this is my business. This is the business of everyone of good conscience.
First I want to offer with gratitude what my union has said:
 What do we need to change, in order for George Floyd to be the last one?
Some ideas:
  • Police departments all over the country need to do serious work on anger management and weeding out those who are at risk for loosing it.  All need to receive antiracism training.
  • Antiracism needs to become a fundamental political qualification. (Please everybody register to vote, by mail if necessary.)
  • Intense investment in what some might call reparations. Lets step up and stop privileging the car. People can’t improve their economic situation if they can’t get to jobs. Change the local funding of public schools.  Local funding and segregated housing combine to create a fundamentally unequal public school system.
  • Tackle the issue of segregated housing.
  • Full funding for CUNY and other institutions of public higher education.

I welcome additions to the list.

I don’t really care about what it’s going to cost. It needs to be done.

In closing I want to share some books that have become really important to me:
  • Kendall, Mikki. Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot. New York: Viking, 2020.
  • Kendi, Ibram X. How to Be an Antiracist. New York: One World, 2019.
  • DiAngelo, Robin. White Fragility:Why It’s So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism. Beacon Press, 2018.
I appreciate this list of statements from library community:
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