Standing in Solidarity

From the cover of

From the cover of "The Day They Marched" by Doris E. Saunders (1963), available at Shields Library and from Archives and Special Collections.

To our students, faculty, colleagues and community:

On behalf of the UC Davis Library, we share your grief and outrage at the recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and the many others before them. We stand with you in condemning the systemic racism that has persisted in this country for 400 years and continues to take the lives of Americans today.

It is unacceptable that in 2020 — more than 55 years since the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Dr. King decried the “unspeakable horrors of police brutality” — we must still protest to show that Black lives matter, and that they remain at risk across this country every day.

I hope that we will come together and support each other in our anger and grief. And I hope that we will study, talk about and learn from the past so that we can take actions to create a more just future.

The Library stands as a sentinel, a witness, a recorder of history. In our care are documents that record what has happened in the past — the good, the bad and the extremely ugly. Although some of these materials are painful to read, we believe that it is important to document, reflect and learn from the past. As the philosopher George Santayana wrote in The Life of Reason, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” To recognize how long racism and injustice have existed in this country is to understand that it will take work from every one of us to change the systems and policies that allow it to persist.

We also stand as a recorder of the present, from diverse voices and perspectives. We help tell the stories of BIPOC heroes and trailblazers, to set the record straight.

And, of course, we offer books and other resources to help the UC Davis community understand this moment and find a path forward.

In his speech that day in 1963, Dr. King declared: “We cannot walk alone.” Today, the Library stands with the University in affirming our solidarity with Black members of our community. We will do everything that we can and wish we could do more. But for as long as we must protest, for as long as we must speak out against racism, discrimination, marginalization and violence, for as long as we must fight for change, we will walk with you.

MacKenzie Smith
University Librarian & Vice Provost for Digital Scholarship
UC Davis Library