Late last month, DPLA announced $850,000 in new funding from the Mellon Foundation to support our efforts to advance racial justice in American archives. This funding will enable DPLA to launch a Digital Equity Project to provide support for underrepresented, under-resourced archives and expand DPLA's capacity for supporting and partnering with diverse archival projects.
Today, I am pleased to share that we have partnered with an initial cohort of three organizations to form a Digital Equity Project Community of Practice: Charlotte Mecklenburg Library; Seattle Public Library; and DPLA's Recollection Wisconsin Hub / University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries. Each of these organizations will receive subgrant awards to pursue a project dedicated to digital capacity building. Representatives from each group will take part in our Digital Equity Project Community of Practice, which will work together to create a collaborative model for partnering with diverse archival projects and providing direct financial support for the development of people, projects, and new practices.
Digital Equity Project support will enable Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to grow its Living Archives Project, an initiative to document the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities in Mecklenburg County. "Charlotte Mecklenburg Library is thrilled to partner again with DPLA on this important archival work, ensuring that no one's story of the COVID-19 pandemic is lost, misrepresented, or ignored."- Martha Yesowitch, Community Partnerships Manager, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library
The Recollection Wisconsin Hub and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Libraries will fund a Milwaukee Women's Art Library community ambassador who will engage with Milwaukee's women's and non-binary art community to identify potential new contributors and break down barriers to access and participation. "We are grateful for the opportunity to nurture and strengthen this developing partnership to preserve and honor the work of women and non-binary artists in Milwaukee."-Emily Pfotenhauer, Digital Strategist and Grants Manager, WiLS (formally Wisconsin Library Services)
The Seattle Public Library will build on an existing relationship with Wa Na Wari to support the continuation and further development of their Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute, which trains community members in the techniques and best practices of oral history and Black memory work. Project goals include increasing representation of Black experiences in Seattle's cultural and historical record; supporting ongoing community history work conducted by a Black-led organization; making Black oral history publicly accessible in ways that are ethical and accountable to the community. "The Seattle Black Spatial Histories Institute is one way, among many, that Wa Na Wari seeks to build collective power towards a future of Black ownership and belonging by rooting our work in a legacy of Black resilience, creativity, and self-determination. Training community members in the techniques and best practices of Black memory work is an important step towards shifting power around whose stories are told, how they're told, and what place those stories hold in the shaping of Black futures. Wa Na Wari is thrilled to further this work through our collaboration with SPL."-Wa Na Wari
You can find a complete description of each organization's individual project and timeline following this note.
To find out more about the Digital Equity Project and hear directly from our initial set of partners about their projects, as well as learn more about opportunities for your organization to get involved with this work, I encourage you to join us next Tuesday, July 19, at 1 pm ET for our Digital Equity Project information session. Please register here.