[Neasis-l] MA Cultural Resources at Risk

NEA Announcements nea_announce at newenglandarchivists.org
Tue Jul 19 08:18:00 EDT 2016

While today’s news included a historic appointment at the Library of
Congress, it also included local news that the New England Archivists
believes demands immediate action.

The good news first. The library that has served our Congress and has acted
as our national repository is now to be led by Dr. Carla D. Hayden, the
14th Librarian of Congress, as well as the first woman and first African
American to hold the post. Our libraries are reflections of their
communities, and it is critical that American communities see themselves in
the collections and spaces that our libraries, archives, and museums

Now the bad news. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker vetoed the
Legislature's proposed Massachusetts Cultural Council budget and slashed
arts funding by 55%. This cut would fund the creative community at $6.5
million, a level not seen since 1994. Last Friday, Governor Baker also
vetoed 100% of spending on Massachusetts Center for the Book in FY2017,
effectively shutting its doors.

We need to send a strong message quickly to our Governor that the cuts will
directly impact our collective efforts to represent and document all
people, including those whose stories are often left out of the record. *We
can do this today by writing to our representatives (see links below) or
appealing to the Governor directly.*

Governor Baker’s vetoes include Massachusetts Center for the Book line item:

Governor Proposes Devastating Cuts to Arts & Culture via Veto:

Let's override Gov. Baker's arts veto – MASSCREATIVE Action Center:

I have no doubt that the pressure on the Governor to support critical
infrastructures across the Commonwealth led to these decisions. Yet, the
arts and our cultural heritage resources, including our libraries,
archives, and museums, are essential to our communities and for creating an
inclusive and anti-racist world. Here is a personal story of how archives
and museums and libraries do this.

Two weeks ago I went to the Immigration Museum on Ellis Island, New York.
There I could learn about, see, and feel what some of our immigrant
ancestors went through to gain entry into this country. Through the
photographs, oral histories, and letters, preserved and on display, I could
grasp the justices and the injustices, as some were granted access that
others were denied. With anguish, I also saw the barriers that prevented
some from ever stepping foot on American soil. As today’s refugees seek
safety and opportunity, and our own contemporary multicultural world
sometimes forgets why, and how easily, humans institutionalize unjust
barriers to liberty, it is our libraries, archives, and museums that remind
us—that provide the vital evidence to inform our narrative of the past and
for the future. Our cultural heritage institutions are the foundation of
our democracy.

Please help the New England Archivists support the Library of Congress’ new
leadership, and encourage our government to fund crucial access to
information, and history.

Yours in earnest,
Jennifer Gunter King, President
New England Archivists

New England Archivists
Communications Committee
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