Inaugural Diversity Summit Announced: From Difficult Conversations to Collaborative Action

Two American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) sections are joining together to offer a summit focused on diversity, and on putting words into action.

———————————————————————————————————————–The Private Law Librarians and Information Professionals (PLLIP) and Black Law Librarians (BLL) Special Interest Sections are excited to announce the inaugural Diversity Summit: From Difficult Conversations to Collaborative Action. The year 2020 was one of upheaval and change, but the year’s events made it obvious that serious and important conversations need to take place regarding race, both in the world and in our profession. PLLIP Summits have historically been a place to explore ways to embrace change and we are excited to partner with the BLL-SIS to launch the first ever Diversity Summit, which was created to facilitate these discussions in order to find a call to action in which we can all take part.

The Diversity Summit will be held as a virtual event on Friday, February 26, 2021. More details about the day’s programming and the keynote speaker, Michelle Silverthorn, will be forthcoming.

Keynote Speaker: Michelle Silverthorn

Michelle’s Tedx Talk, How to stop talking about implicit bias and start talking about race.

Authentic Diversity: How to Change the Workplace for Good

How to Register: Registration is limited to AALL members. To register for the 2021 Diversity Summit, please visit the AALL registration page here. Registration for members of BLL, PLLIP, and any other diversity caucus is $0.  There is a promo code available on the site that must be entered using the online payment form to get that price. All other registrations are $10. 

Please note that once you register for the 2021 Diversity Summit through AALL, you must then also register for the Zoom meeting, which is available via the thank you page and email.

Registration deadline is February 12, 2021 with zero exceptions.

Voices Across the Spectrum: Combating Systemic Racism

Reposted with permission from AALL Spectrum, Volume 25, Number 2 (November/ December 2020), pgs. 29-31.

By Andre Davison, Research Technology Manager at Blank Rome LLP

Compassion, empathy, and reaching out to others are key to addressing discriminatory implicit bias.

The tragic incident this summer with George Floyd in Minneapolis brought back memories of my experience with law enforcement 26 years ago that could have dramatically changed my life and the trajectory of my career. My two uncles, my best friend, and I were headed to the beach for the day after my younger uncle’s high school prom. As we made our way through the beach entrance, we were pulled over by the Galveston beach patrol for suspicion of an open container violation.

Unbeknownst to me, my best friend, and my younger uncle, my older uncle had a joint in his possession and was reaching to hide it as the officers approached the car. The officers immediately drew their weapons, and I immediately feared we were going to get shot. Only 16 years old, I was terrified as we were ordered out of the car and placed in handcuffs. Fortunately, my younger uncle was able to diffuse the situation through a conversation with the officers. We were able to leave the beach without any repercussions.

I learned two valuable lessons that day: always keep your hands where police officers can see them and always address police officers with respect.

As I reflect, I realize how fortunate we were to leave those circumstances alive. As our nation saw with George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, and others, so many African American men and women don’t live to survive similar encounters with law enforcement.

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