ACH Statement on Black Lives Matter, Structural Racism, and Our Organization

The Association for Computers and the Humanities stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter (BLM) protest movement. As members of an organization based in a country with a long history of systematic racialized violence, we are outraged by continued state-sanctioned violence against Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color (BIPOC), among whose most recent victims are George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and so many others. We are distraught by the tactics that militarized police forces have brought to bear upon protestors standing up for the rights of Black people, Indigenous people, and People of Color, and we join nationwide and worldwide calls for justice for the perpetrators of these violent acts. 

We recognize that anti-Blackness operates through institutions and organizational structures, and that the fight for Black Lives Matters must extend to praxis in the academic sphere and to our scholarly organizations. As noted on its website, ACH “recognizes that the digital humanities is inherently and inextricably sociopolitical, and thus advocates for social change through the use of computers and related technologies in the study of humanistic subjects.” We commit to our DH being a force for racial and other social justice both within and beyond academia.

ACH has in the past committed itself to concrete steps in support of anti-racist practice, including:

The ACH Executive Committee is now adopting a set of actions that will deepen the organization’s commitment to anti-racist principles and that will help us understand and undo ACH’s role in anti-Blackness. We aim to push against systemic racism to concretely improve the experience that scholars of color have in our community by amplifying and supporting the voices of our Black, Indigenous and People of Color colleagues, centering BIPOC experiences in discussions of digital humanities, and reviewing our internal organizational culture to ensure the full and welcome participation of BIPOC voices. 

The ACH Executive Officers and Executive Council will begin work now on the following set of initial actions and will provide updates in early August following our annual Executive Council and general membership meetings, at which we hope to gather additional feedback:

Black Lives Matter is a call to organizations not just to improve the world, but to improve themselves. We commit ourselves to that work and hope that we will earn your trust and your participation in building a more just organizational culture.