The Stanford Libraries stand in solidarity with the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) communities on campus and across the country. University Librarian Michael A. Keller’s statement, “In Solidarity and Support," and the Stanford Libraries’ values statement reaffirm our organizational commitment to being an inclusive and welcoming academic setting for all. While these statements and commitments to racial justice, equity and diversity are important, we felt it also necessary that the Libraries engage in direct ways as it relates to recent events.
One of the ways we intend to put our words into action is a visually cohesive, thoughtfully curated exhibition that is installed in Green Library as well as preserved online. As Librarians, we are charged with the awesome responsibility of being keepers of the light and protectors of our shared memories. This is what fuels our work, and what has energized a dedicated group of library staff to assemble, roll up our sleeves and in mere weeks turn a concept into reality.
Say Their Names – No More Names is an exhibit that highlights victims who were chosen because they represent a variety of Black Americans whose freedoms were denied or whose lives were callously taken by vile attacks that have terrorized the Black community for centuries. The victims are young, old, transgender and straight. Some struggled with mental health issues or other challenges while others were just charting their path forward in life. All were Black people, and all were violated or murdered.
Say Their Names – No More Names collects, collates, and chronicles the names of victims – their images and their stories – so discussions can take place, questions can be raised, solutions debated, and most importantly that the individuals, whose identities have become hashtags, are not forgotten.
Within the walls of our libraries, the lives of the notable and everyday citizen are collected and studied daily. May this exhibition continue that tradition as it shines a light on history as it unfolds and begs the questions of its passerby.
Drawing on the protest slogan “No justice, no peace,” the exhibit asks the viewer to “Know Justice, Know Peace,” demonstrating Stanford Libraries’ commitment to Information Literacy, which plays an essential role in society’s progress toward a more peaceful existence. Librarians are uniquely qualified to disseminate knowledge to information seekers who will be empowered to build a more just community. The exhibit originated in direct response to the global Black Lives Matter movement. Therefore, one of the main objectives is to inspire viewers to critically interrogate the injustices perpetuated by a white supremacist society. By sharing names of recognizable victims who represent larger groups of lesser-known victims, this exhibit aspires to make the unknown victims known.
Trigger warning: Mental health issues like anxiety and depression have significantly increased in the Black American community since George Floyd’s death. The exhibit content may be triggering, especially for our Black students. Please engage with this exhibit at your own pace. The Stanford Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) is a helpful resource and is available for support.