Dear Free Library community,
We are enraged and heartbroken.
The murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police—and the senseless murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, among many others—has once again revealed the anti-Black racism that continues to afflict our nation. Communities across the country, including our own, are in pain as we try to grapple with the brutal killings of unarmed Black Americans that underpin our history and contaminate our present.
The Free Library of Philadelphia is in the early stages of the institutional work that we must continue in order to confront structural racism, both inside our organization as well as in all of our public-facing and public-service efforts. We are reflecting, assessing, listening, and being deliberate about this work. We are intentional. And we know that the work to root out institutional racism must occur before we can realize the organizational changes and the necessary healing that the Free Library needs.
The Free Library of Philadelphia remains steadfast in our commitment to our users and our communities. We remain committed to being a library organization that is deliberate in its embrace of equity, committed to including all members of our community, and dedicated to making our organization as diverse as the city that we serve.
We will not accept hate, racism, or intolerance of any kind. We stand in solidarity with all of those in our community who are in pain and with those who are fighting for a future where racial equity is real; a future where equal treatment under the law is universal practice; and a future that affirms that Black Lives Matter.
Siobhan A. Reardon, President and Director