Black Sovereign Nation Calls for Boycott of Austin Public Libraries

Modified from a series of Facebook posts by Black Sovereign Nation. Read below for background on the #NoSanctuaryForBlackFutures Campaign. Visit BSN’s campaign website for more links, info, & ways to plug in.

From now until August, Black Sovereign Nation’s No Sanctuary for Black Futures Campaign is calling for a boycott of Austin Public Library. We would like to send the library administration and the City of Austin a strong message that our community takes equity very seriously. The library is an amazing space at which Black youth should feel welcome, celebrated, and supported. Unfortunately, APL does not have policy or training that can engender that type of environment. Our ask is simple! Develop stronger policy so that our kids can return to the libraries, where they belong.

How you can help

One of the ways to help us inform families that patronize Austin Public Library of the risks their children are subjected to is to table at APL branches throughout the city. We have a responsibility to keep the Austin community informed on the polices, procedures, and cultural behaviors that impact them!

Join Black Sovereign Nation volunteers every Wednesday in handing out literature, cool buttons, t-shirts, and tickets to our Sanctuary for Black Futures Carnival.

Every Wednesday at 10 AM

City Council

One way to ensure our ask is met is to consistently engage Austin City Council on this issue and let them know that the safety of Black children in Austin is heavily on our minds! Black Sovereign Nation is collecting the community’s thoughts, feelings and opinions through canvassing and our online submission form (found here) Every Monday, No Sanctuary for Black Futures volunteers will deliver these notes, in person, to council offices. Submit your own thoughts and show up to ask Austin City Council when Austin will offer #SanctuaryforBlackFutures .
Every Monday at 4 PM

Direct Action

Director Weeks and the Austin Public Library administration believe that this issue will simply go away, but we’re here to stay and we won’t be silenced!!! Join us every Thursday night to take action against Austin Public Library! Details of the action will be shared on site. Fill out this form to participate.

Help us show the City of Austin and Austin Public Library that we have had enough! We deserve safe spaces in this city.

Background on #NoSanctuaryForBlackFutures

Republished from the petition started by Counter Balance: ATX

On the birthday of Travyon Martin, LaTashia Milligam, a 13 year old girl, was arrested at the Carver Library on rumors of a schoolyard disagreement. We believe that APL’s policy on code of conduct, engagement with youth and the parameters of youth services are at fault for LaTaisha’s arrest. We demand a closer look at APL’s responsibility to protect the youth, as young as ten years old, who participate in its programs from interaction and engagement with Austin Police Department and are determined to see #JusticeforLaTashia.

We want the Director of Libraries, Roosevelt Weeks, to respond to our demand for a meeting and an immediate review of Austin Public Library’s current policies regarding code of conduct, youth services, youth engagement, and collaboration with the police.

We want Roosevelt Weeks’ review to result in:

1. A city-wide policy that requires staff, and especially youth librarians, AT ALL BRANCHES to go through trainings that equip them with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to engage with BLACK YOUTH AND OTHER YOUTH OF COLOR in ways that support, heal, and affirm them. If this happens, APL staff and librarians will understand what helps youth vs. what hurts youth, how to advocate for youth vs. what it looks like to marginalize youth. This is very important if our kids are going to be in these spaces.

2. A city-wide policy that ensures that the police will not be contacted to mediate conflict between or among ANYONE in the library, but especially not to mediate conflict between kids or between staff and kids. And certainly one that states that a child’s parent or guardian will be contacted before anyone EVER involves law enforcement. This will ensure that parents have the opportunity to intervene and children have someone to advocate for them if a crisis does ensue.

3. A city-wide policy that requires staff to contact the parents or guardians of children participating in their youth services programs if they are contacted, detained, or arrested by Austin Police Department.

#JusticeforLaTashia #NoSANCTUARYforBlackFutures

View BSN’s proposed youth policy changes here

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