Town Crier

WILMINGTON — Ra­cial inequality and justice has been a significant part of the narrative of 2020, with pro­tests and Black Lives Matter movements spar­king worldwide, calling for reform and justice for those of color killed by police brutality.

However, change can start from local areas, as the Wilmington Memo­rial Library begins its WML Working Towards Anti Racism Initiative, aimed at educating on diversity and racial equa­lity. The Initiative has been planning online Zoom events that will be happening over the course of the next few months, and beyond.

Teen Services Librari­an Brittany Tuttle was kind enough to share in­formation about the planning of the upcoming events of the Initia­tive.

Tuttle provided a list of all the events that will be happening over the next two months.

Events planned for Au­gust-October are listed as: (all anticipated to be on Zoom)

• Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Panel, Part 1, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Panel, Part 2 (“The date will change because of a conflict with another program we're partnering on,” Tuttle said; “unfortunately, I don't have the list of all of these shared events yet.”), AntiRa­cism Author Talk: Dolo­res Johnson, Antira­cism Doc Talk — “I Am Not Your Negro,” Read Aloud Book Club Books for a Better World (Four different meetings: Sept. 15, Oct. 20, Nov. 17, Dec. 15), Phillis Wheatley Lec­ture with Vincent Car­ret­ta, Antiracism Doc Talk — Freedom Riders, AntiRacism Book Group: “So You Want to Talk About Race,” Environ­mental Racism in Mas­sachusetts, AntiRacism Book Group: “Me and White Supremacy,” and the Antiracism Doc Talk — White Like Me.

According to Tuttle, the overarching goal of the initiative is as follows”

“The WML Working To­wards Anti Racism initiative aims to educate our community about antiracism, raise awareness of racial and social inequities, and foster discussions through programs, resources, and community reads. We hope you will join us in reading, learning, and listening as we strive to educate ourselves and make our beliefs and values actionable for needed change.”

Tuttle also noted that this quote was an ex­cerpt from the Wilming­ton Memorial Library Working Towards Anti Racism web page.

There were some challenges that came with organizing these online events, as Tuttle explains.

“One of the challenges was getting permission from publishers to allow us to offer simultaneous use of these titles as e­books and audiobooks to our patrons. We had to change the book titles we wanted to offer a few times before we were able to come up with this final list due to these restrictions.

“We thank E. Dolores Johnson and her publisher Lawrence Hill Books, especially for al­lowing us to offer ebook and audiobook titles of her book, ‘Say I'm Dead,’ with no wait time in anticipation of her up­coming author visit this Wednesday at 7 p.m.

“Another challenge was that many antiracism titles were sold out and backordered — we're still waiting for print copies of some titles from our distributor be­cause of shortages. This was a challenge that af­firmed we needed to of­fer this initiative. Lucki­ly, our consortium MVLC (Merrimack Valley Li­brary Consortium), wor­k­ed with us to get permission from publishers as to what books we can offer.”

When asked about in­spiration for these events, Tuttle remarked on what she has seen in Wilming­ton, and the different events planned by community members all ser­ving to call for justice and reform.

“We were inspired to plan these events after witnessing Wilmington come together for the Community Walk for Jus­tice in June, as well as the Wilmington Shows Solidarity teen-led event.”

Tuttle also said that the Wilmington Memori­al Library plans to do more events focused on racial equality.

“Because dedication to antiracism is a lifelong commitment, we will con­tinue to offer these programs regularly. How­ever, I hope we can move away from events that are teaching and raising awareness of antiracism in favor of offering programs that are at their core inherently anti ra­cist.”

Residents of Wilming­ton and beyond are en­couraged to register on­line.

“Please register using our online events calendar, (the link can be found on their website). The events are open to all, not just Wilmington residents.”

Tuttle has already seen high numbers of registration for these events.

“Though virtual programming has had some registration challenges, the events in the Anti­racism series have had comparatively higher registrations and high anticipated attendance, and because of partnering with other libraries, we have had to get a Zoom account that al­lows a much larger audience.”

And there is still an op­portunity for people to register.

“There's still plenty of time to register for up­coming events, and we hope they will max out on attendance!”

Finally, Tuttle describ­ed what she, herself, is most looking forward to regarding the upcoming events.

“As the Teen Services Librarian, I am most looking forward to working with Dr. Raul Fer­nan­dez and WHS students to offer an anti ra­cism dialogue for teens this fall. Teens in the Wil­mington community are leading the antira­cism work we as a community are embarking on, and I'm looking forward to seeing more of their efforts.

“I'm also looking forward to learning about Phillis Wheatley's life and legacy with Vin Car­retta, as there's some evidence that Phillis and her husband lived in Wil­mington in the late 1700s.”

Education can change lives, as it helps set the foundation for morals, skills, and values that are instilled in students, whether they are entering preschool or graduate school. It is truly re­markable to see a li­brary understand the power that education holds, and use its resour­ces, as an institution dedicated to learning, to help bring about racial equality, by giving those who choose to attend and learn the inspiration, knowledge and tools to be a force for justice and equality in their communities and country.

Those who are interested in registering for upcoming events can do so using the Wilmington Memorial Library’s On­line Events Calendar.

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