Black lives matter. The senseless deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and many Black men, women and children over the years must jolt us from complacency and force us to look closely at why we have reached this point. Institutions and organizations have too little questioned in what ways we contribute to systemic racism when white leadership and members are in the majority. The American Printing History Association’s purpose and the vision of its founders calls for us to do more. We are at a turning point.
Printing is central to movements for social change. Printing can build and empower communities, but it can also exclude and control. The American Printing History Association stands with those who employ printing and the allied crafts to demand civil rights and social justice.
The American Printing History Association’s By-Laws direct us “to recognize the central importance of printing to humanity.” Each step we take needs to combat systemic racism. We believe in this mission. From the rawness of this moment, the American Printing History Association must establish a path for anyone and everyone to become part of printing history in all its facets, from a world context to national, regional, state, and local interests.
The leadership of the American Printing History Association at the national and chapter levels is committed to undertaking concrete steps in the next year and going forward that:
* Expand the scope of Printing History, exhibitions, publications, conferences, programs, and advocacy.
* Strengthen education about, support and promote printers and allied craft workers who are Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
* Study and share the history of the American Printing History Association, in all its aspects; know who our members and supporters are and have been; and determine how to best support their future work.
* Engage in partnerships and provide access in equitable ways that redress inequality, while benefiting partners and the American Printing History Association.
* Review our guiding documents and Board practices to structure expectations of diversity, equity, and access into our organizational values and actions.
* Ensure that our organizational, financial, and social practices are transparent, accessible, and have clear measures of success.
Our commitment remains authentic to the expansive vision of the American Printing History Association’s founders. The American Printing History Association will be stronger, more resilient, more just, and more reflective of the entirety of those who practice, study, and preserve the history of printing and the allied crafts.
You may be an APHA member, a past member, or simply believe in the liberating and empowering potential of printing. As a first step, we have made available on our website resources for learning about BIPOC printers and printing. These resources also can be accessed through APHA’s homepage. We hope to expand this information and encourage you to visit this link and contribute to it, if you wish. Also through the website, the Board will communicate our progress on the six goal areas.
Join us as we engage with APHA’s history and help our organization reach its fullest potential by learning about, supporting, and being shaped by the rich contributions of BIPOC to printing and printing history.
Haven Hawley, President