Nance McGovern 2017-07-11 14:32:04
SAA has a longstanding and demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion. We are building toward a vision of how we would like our community to be, as reflected in our Diversity and Inclusion Statement (http://www2.archivists.org/statements/saa-statement-on-diversity-and-inclusion). All community-building processes have discernible stages that are useful in identifying progress. As an example of these stages, here is one community-building frame applied to our efforts: Acknowledge: Understanding that diversity and inclusion is a priority. Act: Initiating diversity and inclusion projects. Consolidate: Segueing from individual projects to a program that strategically uses projects. Institutionalize: Incorporating the larger environment and integrating the program into practice. Externalize: Embracing interinstitutional collaboration on diversity and inclusion. I believe that SAA is moving from stage two to stage three. During this transition, two things happen in parallel: Those who are “experts” in this area need to continue to advance our community’s diversity and inclusion development; and Those who have less expertise need to help enlarge the base of committed members by participating in and promoting opportunities for listening, training, outreach, and other means. At this stage of community growth, experts can no longer undertake all of the work on behalf of the community. This transition is necessary and beneficial, but can be challenging to navigate. Experts may find it difficult to allow others into their work; at the same time a critical mass of committed members can be slow to emerge. This year for the Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon, July 23–29, you will see—as you did last year—a list of diversity and inclusion activities accompanying this year’s program. As we move into stage three, it is important to recognize and consolidate our cumulative efforts to maximize their impact. And as we look ahead, we will need to determine how to measure our progress toward being a more diverse and inclusive association and explore ways to broaden our support for similar initiatives in the larger archival community. A growing point of tension in our community is the desire by some members to embrace wider social justice issues as part of diversity and inclusion efforts while others believe just as firmly that SAA’s mission should remain focused on issues related specifically to archives, archivists, and records. There are various ways to interpret our mission for diversity and inclusion; in an organization with 6,000 members, perceived shifts in mission and purpose require ongoing opportunities for frank discussions, and we should seek out these opportunities. As a final note, this is one of several opportunities I will have as my term ends to tell you what a privilege it’s been to serve as SAA president this year. I really appreciate all of you who reached out with suggestions, concerns, and encouragement, and who contributed to the ongoing work of SAA’s many accomplishments. You are amazing! I also would like to express my deep appreciation to the SAA staff—thank you for everything! For those of you who interact with our talented staff team on a regular basis, you know how able, helpful, and friendly they are. If not, look for opportunities to say hello and see for yourself!
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