Together we can combat the danger of disinformation and strengthen our democracy.

A message from MLA President Jennifer Dean

January 8, 2021

The Michigan Library Association (MLA) condemns the violent attack on our nation’s Capitol. The wanton destruction, looting, and racist and anti-Semitic sentiments our nation was subjected to on January 6, 2021, are antithetical to our core constitutional principles and the ideals of justice and reconciliation to which our nation aspires today. This relentless attempt to thwart the peaceful transfer of power at the heart of our democracy, beginning with baseless claims of fraud and culminating in the tragic loss of lives, was a conflagration of deliberate disinformation, misuse of authority, and a desire to reassert dominance based on centuries-old systems of white power and privilege.

Following the murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020, Black Lives Matter and racial justice demonstrators protesting the unequal treatment of Black people and People of Color were met with walls of law enforcement officers in full riot gear, assailed with rubber bullets and tear gas, and shackled, blocks away from the Capitol and White House. The mob of perpetrators who attacked the Capitol on Wednesday, domestic terrorists who attacked the very heart of our democracy, received vastly different treatment. As has been widely documented, law enforcement was woefully unprepared for Wednesday’s altercation despite weeks of advance notice. Rioters were aided and abetted by an unsecured perimeter and law enforcement without riot gear and were encouraged to go home after hours of televised violence and destruction. MLA calls on legislators to investigate the criminally inadequate response to this egregious attack and to illuminate the systemic racism that allows separate and unequal systems of justice to continue.

MLA is grateful to our federal legislators from Michigan and all elected legislators who returned to Congress to work late into the night to ensure that the will of the people of the United States of America was respected and the Electoral College results were certified. MLA calls on our state and federal legislators to respect their colleagues and constituents and unite behind the 46th President and Vice President of the United States.

Legislators will find a powerful ally in our Michigan libraries, cornerstones of their communities. Libraries are open and accessible to all, providing access to trusted, authentic, and vetted information resources. Libraries provide opportunities for education and cultural enrichment. Libraries stand with their communities, defending their constitutional rights and creating safe, equitable spaces where social discourse can thrive. Libraries provide a model for inclusivity, justice, and opportunity. MLA continues to hold strong and affirm these values as we serve and advocate for our Michigan library community. MLA calls on our legislators to join with us. Together we can combat the danger of disinformation and strengthen our democracy.

Jennifer L. Dean, PhD, MLIS
MLA President and ALA Councilor, 2020-2021
Dean of Libraries and Instructional Technology
University of Detroit Mercy

 


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