A message from the Association of Moving Image Archivists’ Board of Directors
In the last year, the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) has focused on exploring and enacting the principles of diversity and inclusion within our field. The same week of our conference in Pittsburgh, which focused on this important step, we met in a hotel conference room in a meeting that was called that same day to discuss the outcome of the Presidential Election. Many emotions and experiences were shared as well as many thoughts on what we should do as an organization.
We had the chance to act that very week – as committee chairs and members found ways to weave these principles into everything we do, as archivists and as an organization; from screenings to elections to scholarships to communication with the widest reach. We still have steps to take, as our Diversity Statement is agreed upon and shared and as we find ways to learn and grow as members with other focused activities and simply challenging ourselves to be better.
There is an article written right before the election by Louise Leif called “What the news media can learn from librarians.” It is a reminder that our professional responsibility has never been more critical as we preserve and provide access to the moving images that document and describe yesterday and today. The only way to do that is with a dedication to skills and practices we improve on within AMIA mixed inexorably with the values of inclusion, diversity and equity.
We have already seen members be, in SAA President Nancy McGovern’s words “active bystanders;” reaching out to those who feel threatened, misunderstood; those who may need encouragement or those who just may want to talk or try to understand things. Andrea Leigh wrote to us to ask us to make this statement and new AMIA board member Teague Schneiter took the lead on an open discussion about the election during our conference. Thanks to both of them for taking this initiative.
Finally, as leadership of AMIA, we wish to express concern about the uptick in hate crimes, school bullying and divisiveness nationwide. Because of this, we would like to reiterate that we will continue to actively take action on ways to welcome diverse voices into our community and counter any hateful, supremacist rhetoric where we see it, in our workplaces and community gathering spaces.