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Race and Equity Statement

Covers of books about racism

San José Public Library joins the messages of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the call for the end of systemic racism and inequity.

As your public library with branches nestled in neighborhoods across our city, we have witnessed the growing economic and social disparities that so pervasively affect Black, Brown, Asian and Indigenous communities. These inequities have been further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. We see these disparities demonstrated in the disproportionately high Latinx death rates from coronavirus and the thousands of households that encounter steep barriers when accessing resources for education, digital learning, work opportunities, and medical care in the heart of Silicon Valley. The events from the past weeks give voice to the lived experiences of so many, over centuries of oppression, racism and violence. Inexcusable oppressions and injustices, such as lynchings, residential redlining, and ongoing prejudices occurring here in San Jose, have shaped the lives of people of color. We support the vital process of deconstructing how this history has also shaped our criminal justice system, law enforcement and safety policies in our communities.

As a hub of life-long education and information, San José Public Library is committed to providing a welcoming and safe environment where every person feels included, respected, and can celebrate our City’s rich and diverse cultures. We stand as a part of the Urban Libraries Council and adopt its Statement on Race and Social Equity, which asserts "libraries can help achieve true and sustained equity through an intentional, systemic and transformative library-community partnership." We affirm the trust that our community instills in us to provide access to information and programming that celebrates the strength, innovation and resilience of our communities of color.

As is fitting, the Library has already increased our holdings of resources and developed reading lists regarding racial discrimination, social inequality, and justice. While speaking up is essential, it is not enough. We invite our communities to utilize our services, join us in deepening our understanding of racism and systemic inequity, and reflect on the ways in which we can each contribute towards creating a more just and equal community.

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