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ADHO Statement on Black Lives Matter, Structural Racism, and Establishment Violence

The Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) states publicly, directly, and specifically that Black Lives Matter; that we stand in solidarity with people around the world protesting against structural racism and other forms of oppression and discrimination; and that we recognize that we have work to do in our own digital humanities communities in order to become fully anti-racist and non-discriminatory organizations.

As a global alliance of independent scholarly organizations operating in diverse contexts, ADHO does not usually take formal positions on political or social developments in individual countries, but prefers to amplify those made by its Constituent and Associate Organizations. On this occasion, however, ADHO leadership feels that it is right and important for ADHO to make a statement — because racism, oppression and discrimination are global concerns. As digital humanists hoping to create more equitable communities of practice, we have a particular responsibility to reflect critically on our collective histories, the injustice and inequalities resulting from them, and our own accountability for them. Our goal is to discern and weed out structures based upon white privilege, heterosexist bias, ableist presumptions, sexism, and other oppressions, including but not limited to those exacerbated by the use of technology. These are issues which confront us all, and they require all of us to challenge and change the systems that promote, perpetuate, or tolerate injustice and inequalities, including our own.

ADHO, as an umbrella organization for its Constituent Organizations, has work to do in improving its processes to ensure that its governing bodies, events, and publications fully reflect the diversity of its Constitutent Organization memberships and that as an organization it works to combat the inequalities and all forms of discrimination that exclude groups or individuals from academic endeavors.

As part of this work ADHO commits to the following:

  1. ADHO will engage a paid external consultant with past experience and expertise in issues of social justice to conduct a systematic review of its policies and organizational culture as it relates to issues of structural racism, particularly in connection with the annual ADHO conference, publications, governance, and leadership. ADHO will make the results of this review public and will commit to taking action based on the review.
  2. ADHO will create an anti-racist, anti-discriminatory task force to follow up on the external review and to ensure that voices of minoritized populations are heard as ADHO considers further actions.
  3. ADHO will undertake a review of its annual conference and will create a process that can be used to ensure fair treatment during peer review of proposals by scholars of color and other minoritized groups, and of projects concerning topics related to race, sex, class, and gender.
  4. ADHO will create a process that will allow it to gather data on acceptance rates for its major publications to determine whether manuscripts authored by minoritized groups and/or on subjects related to minoritized groups receive fair treatment. ADHO will report publicly on the results and release an action plan for addressing the findings.
  5. ADHO will compile data on the diversity of its committees and report back publicly on that data.
  6. ADHO will create social media policy and procedures to ensure inclusive representation in the content its social media accounts share. These policies and procedures will be published on the ADHO website.
  7. ADHO will require the publications it supports to provide a report and action plan focused on their support of scholarship by minoritized groups and the diversification of their editorial boards. Such reports should demonstrate a commitment to featuring scholarship by minoritized scholars through mechanisms such as regular special issues on topics explicitly related to race and its relationship to additional axes of oppression, including gender, sexuality, disability, nationality, and language.
  8. The ADHO Constituent Organization Board, which comprises representatives of every Constituent Organization, will ask each organization to conduct its own discussions about racism, oppression, discrimination, and diversity, and to commit to and report on concrete action steps to improve diversity in its representation.
  9. ADHO will work to diversify its leadership by designing a mentoring program that establishes a pipeline for scholars of minoritized groups to become part of ADHO leadership.

ADHO commits to these specific action steps and recognizes that this work must be ongoing. It will report back on its progress on all of these steps on an annual basis at the DH conference and on the ADHO website in the interim, as progress is made.

Download a PDF of this statement.