Booksellers are invited to nominate themselves or a fellow bookseller to the American Booksellers Association’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee (DEIC), which serves as a sounding board and advisory council on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, representation, and access facing the bookselling community and ABA.
Nominations are due by 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, January 20, 2021. The long period for nominations addresses the committee’s desire to start collecting nominations immediately while recognizing that the busy holiday season may delay attention to this important process.
Members of the DEIC are appointed by ABA staff with recommendations from the current DEIC committee and nominations from members. Booksellers can also self-nominate for the committee.
“I am so grateful to Hannah Oliver Depp, Angela Maria Spring, Veronica Liu, BrocheAroe Fabian, and Denise Chavez for serving on the DEIC long after their terms expired, and to Sarah Hollenbeck, Michelle Malonzo, Melanie Knight, and Jamie Fiocco for staying on to continue serving on the new committee,” said ABA CEO Allison Hill. “This transition represents an opportunity for ABA to hear from and work with a new diverse group of booksellers to support all of our members and the industry around issues of representation, inclusivity, access, antiracism, and diversity.”
“Being a part of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee made me feel like I had a safe space to talk with like-minded booksellers about these topics as they relate to independent bookselling,” said BrocheAroe Fabian. “It was an honor to engage with everyone at conferences, via emails, and in monthly committee meetings, using my personal experiences to work within the ABA, helping to make bookselling a more equitable and inclusive industry.”
DEIC members provide feedback about ABA programs and services as they are being developed, as needed; offer suggestions to help ABA improve programs and services to better serve diverse communities; help identify and respond to emerging threats and opportunities related to antiracism, equity, representation, inclusion, and access in the industry; and bring concerns of booksellers and bookstore owners to the ABA staff and Board and assist ABA with its commitment to antiracism, inclusion, representation, access, and diversity.
In adding to the DEIC, ABA is looking for individuals who represent different diverse identities. Some of those might include:
Psychological, physical, and social differences that occur among any and all individuals; including but not limited to race, color, ethnicity, nationality, religion, socioeconomic status, veteran status, education, marital status, language, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, mental or physical ability*, genetic information, and learning styles. A diverse group, community, or organization is one in which a variety of social and cultural characteristics exist.
*Disability includes but is not limited to physical, sensory, cognitive, intellectual, developmental disabilities, chronic conditions, and mental illnesses (may also include addiction). This also includes a social model of disability, which presents disability as created by barriers in the social environment, due to lack of equal access, stereotyping, and other forms of marginalization.
ABA is also looking to create a committee as a whole that is representative of different types of diversity as listed above, as well as diversity of region, store size, and format.
A candidate for the DEIC committee:
- Is a part-time or full-time bookseller or bookstore owner at an ABA member bookstore (any format)
- Identifies as diverse using the following identifiers (see definition of diverse identities above)
- Will include why they’re interested in serving on the DEIC if self-nominating
- Has not served on the DEIC before
- Wants to help ABA support equity, inclusion, access, representation, and diversity for members and within the industry
- Is able to meet the time obligation (see below) and serve for two years
Nominees will be contacted on a rolling basis to inquire about their interest, answer questions, and request additional information if needed. The DEIC will meet on February 1 to discuss nominees, and nominees will be informed of their selection by February 9. The first meeting of the new DEIC will take place March 1 at 2:00 p.m. ET.
The DEIC time commitment includes:
- 60 minutes a week on average
- A 90-minute Zoom meeting from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ET the first Monday of every month
- Occasional emails asking for feedback
- Occasional assistance hosting ABA’s BIPOC Coffee Breaks on Zoom
- Involvement in ABA’s Winter Institute and Children’s Institute (working the DEIC booth and/or participating in a panel)
- Generally serving as a resource, contact, and ABA liaison in support of diverse communities within ABA
- Meeting in-person once a year, in conjunction with a designated ABA event