Dear MAC members:
We, your MAC 2017 Co-Chairs, would like to share some thoughts regarding recent events in Virginia. We strongly condemn the racism, hatred, and violence unleashed in Charlottesville by those who proclaim themselves to be white supremacists and neo-Nazis. MAC is strongly committed to the values of inclusivity, diversity, and equality, and these values are reflected in the conference schedule: the MAC Diversity Task Force will present on Sunday, and Derrick Jefferson, Communications Librarian at American University, will present Tuesday’s final keynote on the topic of critical librarianship.
As the people responsible for choosing the conference venue, we want to directly address the issue of the hotel’s name, the Stonewall Jackson. While we weren’t thrilled with the name, we were charged with identifying the best choice for the conference location. This hotel provides ample space for our conference needs and serves as an economical experience for those funding their own professional development. We have approached the hotel with our concerns, and its public statement on the topic includes the following:
“In light of the current political climate and sensitivities, we recognize concerns regarding the hotel’s name. However, as a historic landmark, there is a process to follow before we can consider any changes to the name. This process would need to be done in cooperation with the hotel’s ownership, Staunton’s leadership, historical experts, and the community-at-large.”
We are pleased that the hotel acknowledges that the name is problematic, and reasonably addresses the challenges with changing the name of a facility established in 1924.
We have worked hard to create a strong schedule and believe that attendees will return from the conference more informed and knowledgeable than before. The conference theme is “Face Your Fears,” and we hope that you will join us in Staunton for that purpose.
Carolyn Schubert and Kimberley R. Barker, MAC 2017 Conference Co-Chairs