The following is the text of a statement ot be read at the opening of the IIIF Week Community Roadmap session, June 04
I don’t believe we can reasonably have a conversation about the future of the IIIF Community without acknowledging what’s happening in the United States and around the world.
The past week has seen growing protests against police violence and systemic violence. Rather than remaining neutral, organizations everywhere are pledging solidarity by saying Black Lives Matter. We also affirm that Black Lives Matter. We pledge allyship and solidarity with those protesting against police violence happening in the US and around the world.
But there’s an important next step that every org also has to undertake to be genuine in this statement, and that’s the step of pledging action beyond mere signaling.
So what does that mean in practice for us?
IIIF is a framework that brings together open standards, software, content, and community. The end goal of bringing those things together is to provide more equitable access to image-based information, but there are systemic inequities that we must help address before we all can fully pursue this loftier mission.
As an international consortium, we will use our structures to examine the historical racism and inequalities built into societal infrastructures, including those that support and benefit the cultural heritage community.
We will continue to do the work of highlighting collections and resources that amplify marginalized voices. We will continue to do the work of providing material support to bring underrepresented voices to our events, and we will redouble our efforts to weave diversity, equity and inclusion into the community itself and all its facets. We know that is not enough, and we will do the work to educate ourselves further so that we can provide better guidance to our community.
In the end, we believe that the thoughtful and equitable presentation of cultural heritage materials can have a positive impact, particularly in rectifying historical under- and misrepresentation of minority communities which in turn contribute to systems of oppression. But to realize that positive change we must and will engage in critical anti-racist work that precedes it. We encourage members of the IIIF community to consider how their work can affect positive change in these areas, and we are here for support and conversations around these issues.