Happy Friday, dear readers! So today is Blog Action Day 2015 and this year’s theme is Raise Your Voice! It brings a spotlight on the silencing and abuse that people sometimes face when sharing their views, research, and ideas online. This is an issue that happens especially if you do not fit with the dominant majority (aka not white, cisgendered, heterosexual, and male). So Blog Action Day is a time for us to come together and spotlight this issue and take a stand against it. Today I’m sharing some information and how I think libraries and librarians can, do, and should be advocates and allies against the hatred and silencing that occurs all to frequently online.
Anita Sarkeesian, creator of Feminist Frequency, continually amazes me with her insightful commentary on representations of women in video games and her courage to continue her work through the vitriol and threats that she is subjected to constantly online for speaking out in an arena that a very vocal minority feel should remain a male-only space. If you’ve never heard of Feminist Frequency before, go check out some of her videos and interviews. They are amazing and I’m thankful that she’s continue with her work. She’s making a difference and we should support her against the bullies, trolls, and others who somehow think it is okay to threaten someone online.
Monica Lewinsky gave a powerful and moving TED Talk about her dark days of personal harassment on the early days of the Internet and how she is speaking up now to reclaim her narrative and advocate for safety and compassion online. It is a great speech and reminds us that we need to practice compassion in all aspects of our lives, including online. Harassment and intimidation should not be acceptable to us no matter the medium. It’s up to us to create a better world online and off.
Finally, I wanted to note that I think all librarians can help advocate for and promote values of equity, safety, and compassion online through our work. Librarians already affirm core values of social responsibility and diversity, among others. I see advocating for the safety of all people’s to share their ideas and creations online without fear of death and rape threats, doxing, or other forms of harassment and threat as part of our role as librarians, as people who support everyone in our communities access to information and education, life-long learning and community-building. It is up to us to decide how we want to use our professional standing, our lives, to support and build up instead of tear down others. My hope is that we work together to raise our voices in strength and solidarity to support those who are silenced.
That’s all for today. It makes me saddened that we can’t act better towards each other online, that we are over a decade into the 21st century and we can’t seem to be rid of such vileness and hatred. I want us to have a world that is better than that, for everyone. So that’s why I’m raising my voice with Blog Action Day today. Enough is really enough.