Editor’s Note: This post was authored by Miranda Walker and Randy Townsend, in collaboration and with the full support of SSP President Lauren Kane. The SSP Statement that follows was authored and endorsed by the SSP Board of Directors and Co-Chairs of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee.
On May 25, 2020, a 46-year-old Black man was held down by the knee of a Minneapolis police officer for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, while three other officers stood by. A teenager made the decision to capture the moment with her mobile phone. The man, George Floyd, died and the officers ended their shifts and went home.
The video, however, remained focused on the scene and has come to mean different things to different people. The lack of accountability of the officers’ actions was yet another painful reminder to Black Americans that “for young men of color, police use of force is among the leading causes of death.” For so many others, throughout the world, it was the horn that finally blew loud enough to get their attention that something in this country is systemically broken. As the world erupted in protest, universities, commercial companies, and societies have issued statements of support acknowledging that there is work to be done. While there is no way to predict that these unified voices will fix this entrenched historical flaw in the United States, they serve the purpose in letting those suppressed know that they do not stand alone, their cries of injustice and racism have been heard.
Statement from the Society for Scholarly Publishing Board of Directors and Co-Chairs of the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee:
Reaffirming our Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The recent murder of George Floyd has amplified issues of systemic racism and marginalization of black communities. The Society for Scholarly Publishing (SSP) denounces racism of any kind and reaffirms our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. As we bear witness to the brutality unfolding in the United States and across the world, we are reminded that there is so much work to be done. We acknowledge that this does not happen automatically, and requires deliberate action.
SSP exists for its members. We represent a diverse and global community united by our involvement in scholarly publishing and communications. SSP leverages the collective expertise of both our member organizations and our individual members, which includes their contribution to open and inclusive discussions.
Collectively, we cannot stay silent and simply hope for a more equitable future. This is a moment in time where we, in a firm, loud, and unified voice, must be clear about our support for every member of our community — a community that is stronger and smarter and more well-positioned to face our future collective challenges — precisely because it is diverse.
A cornerstone of SSP’s strategic plan is to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion through demonstrated leadership in the effort to expand the diversity of professionals working in scholarly communications and fostering a culture of inclusion through awareness, outreach, and striving for diverse and balanced representation across all programs. Concrete steps we are taking to meet this goal include:
- Providing leadership for the Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Publishing (C4DISC), an intraorganizational body of 10 trade and professional organizations formed to discuss and address issues of diversity and inclusion.
- Actively recruiting more diverse voices for The Scholarly Kitchen, webinars, and other SSP programming, including ensuring diversity among speakers and keynotes for the SSP Annual Meeting.
- Creating educational content focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion for The Scholarly Kitchen, webinars, and other SSP programming each year.
- Including Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Committee liaisons on all SSP committees to ensure prioritization of diversity, equity, and inclusion goals for all programs.
- Enforcing a code of conduct which underscores a zero-tolerance approach to racism and any other forms of discrimination or abuse.
We believe in a fundamental respect for the dignity of every human, regardless of their color, creed, or cause. The only path is forward; together we will work to continue building bridges of trust, respect, and understanding to ensure that SSP remains a safe and inclusive community that values the rights of all.
SSP invites the scholarly publishing community to share links to their organizations’ statements and efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in the comments below.