On January 15th, archivists Jeremy Brett, Katharina Hering, Hanna and myself, released A Statement to the Archival Community regarding the election of Donald Trump. The statement reads, in part:
We are a diverse group of archivists who are deeply concerned with the current state of American politics based on the election of Donald Trump and the subsequent legitimization of his advisers’ and surrogates’ damaging views and policies.
The Core Values and Code of Ethics established by the Society of American Archivists note that “underlying all the professional activities of archivists is their responsibility to a variety of groups in society and to the public good… the archival record is part of the cultural heritage of all members of society.” The Core Values also note that, by “documenting institutional functions, activities and decision-making, archivists provide an important means of ensuring accountability.” As professionals committed to these values and as custodians of society’s historical records, we have a responsibility to ensure that what we do, and how we do it, benefits society as a whole, while holding public officials and agencies accountable. Therefore it is incumbent upon us to speak out when the public good is jeopardized by political action. […]
- We will not be intimidated, but will continue to provide equitable access to information.
- We will not be prejudiced, but will continue to serve all our communities to the fullest extent of our abilities.
- We will remain committed to protecting the fundamental right of people to know what their government is doing and why.
- We will not act out of fear of elements of the incoming administration, but will continue to preserve the documentary record that holds our leaders accountable to law and justice.
[…] We pledge to remain vigilant in this moment of rapid change, seeking opportunities to put our skills and resources as archivists and information specialists to work as part of the resistance.
To date, the Statement has been signed by 515 colleagues in addition to the four original authors. Our website is currently a bit bare bones, but has links to resources for further action and we are in discussion about how to hold one another accountable and provide a platform for archivist activists to “put our skills and resources to work as part of the resistance.”
Wherever you are, and whatever your skills and resources, I hope you too will join the struggle in your own communities.