Harvard Library has begun building an Anti-Racism team within our organization, with the appointment of two new roles and a leadership role soon to be posted.
Archivist Jehan Sinclair has been appointed as Harvard Library’s first Anti-Black Racism Librarian/Archivist, while Senior Human Resources Consultant Lori Cawthorne’s title is now Senior Human Resources Diversity Consultant & Title IX Coordinator.
Both roles, in addition to the rest of the planned Anti-Racism team, will be key in achieving our organizational priority of advancing diversity, inclusion, belonging, and anti-racism (DIBAR) in our workforce, services, collections, and spaces. This has been a long-standing priority, and the current movement for racial justice in response to violence against Black Americans has underscored the urgency of this work. Assembling the Anti-Racism team at Harvard Library, starting with these roles for Jehan Sinclair and Lori Cawthorne, is an important step.
In Sinclair’s new role, she will engage subject experts across the University to identify and share anti-Black racism resources across all types of Harvard Library collections, especially those that can be shared within and beyond Harvard. She will also help organize and develop policies that support the digitization of materials documenting anti-Black racism, including identifying potential candidates for digitization and processing collections to support that digitization.
This role builds on Sinclair’s four-year career at Harvard Library. She has contributed to the processing of many collections of African American papers, including Gwendolyn C. Baker and Angela Y. Davis, and has described and promoted the use of collections related to Black life at Harvard, including extensive research guides focused on African and African American Studies at Harvard and the Black student experience at Harvard.
In Cawthorne’s new role, she will proactively surface and make recommendations to address the concerns and interests of BIPOC employees and other equity-seeking groups.
In her five years at Harvard, Cawthorne has created or been a key contributor to several DIB initiatives and programs, and she currently serves on the University DIB Leadership Council. Harvard Library is now asking her to take on this diversity, inclusion, and belonging work as a recognized focus with the time needed to make it a priority.
On the Anti-Racism team, Cawthorne will represent Library HR and the interests of all employees, while Sinclair will work with colleagues across Harvard Library on objectives relating to centering anti-racism and diversity in our collections lifecycle.
The next step in the formation of the Anti-Racism team is to confirm the details of the senior leadership role and to begin recruitment for that role. While we work on filling that position, we will move forward on many important DIBAR initiatives with these two new roles and other staff across our organization.