President’s Message – March/April 2021

By John Walsh

Can you believe that in the 21st century, the second decade of the 21st Century, that Civil Rights remain the biggest social issue of our generation? Look at what is going on. When we see the Supreme Court overturning elements of the Voting Rights Act. And you know it is only to prevent the marginalized groups and BIPOC from voting easily in the general election. When we see rampant police violence against these same groups, how many more young black men are we going to have to witness being murdered. I am done. When we see people challenging affirmative action and working against Title IX, when we see institutionalized and accepted discrimination in people’s daily lives, when we see these inequalities – socioeconomic stratification based on race, ethnicity, gender, geography etc. – we need to admit something to ourselves, something is not right here. How much longer do we put up with this? I am done. We need to admit that this is wrong and has to stop now. 

I may be a late bloomer to this, but no less passionate than those railing against this for all their lives. I know that my white privileged life has not afforded me the right to feel this way, but I have experienced inequitable treatment for some time now. You see I have a past that has limited my professional mobility. I know this in no way compares to centuries of discriminatory practices that have impacted BIPOC and other marginalized groups who deserved better. Recently, my values and beliefs were greatly tested and I am proud to say I failed miserably. Because of the failure I did not receive something I would have given just about anything to possess. Now during the test, I did not realize it was a test, and my natural reactions took over, the ethics that my mother instilled in me years ago, and I flunked horribly, and lost the possession that was actually in my grasp. Once I learned it was a test, I became so scared for a second thinking what I would have done if I knew I was being tested. Man, I realized right then, I have got to start being more proactive against this institutionalized discrimination that exists on so many levels. I need to feast on a little humble pie too. 

So I have retired from the director’s position at Cochise College and accepted a part-time position as a Circulation Assistant at Phoenix Public Library. It is the most excited moment I have experienced about librarianship in some time. I so hope I am able to continue as the president of Arizona Library Association. I am not sure if hierarchical status has anything to do with being an elected officer in AzLA, so I will let you know in the next newsletter. Well, now that I have completed my first act of anti-racism, it feels so good, I can’t stop. Be prepared AZ, I am on the edge of glory in my efforts of anti-racism and anti-discrimination and advocating for equitable, diverse, and inclusive mindedness. Hopefully, the AzLA Board will approve the formation of an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Committee this month so we can get to work. Live well fellow members, for all those who have been fighting alone, please know you are not dancing alone anymore. 

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