Afro-Futurism in Librarianship, Beneath Jungle Skies

I had the opportunity to think about Afro-Futurism after attending the 2017 Digital Library Forum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Below is my commentary that I walked away with, published as a reflective article:

afro1I was surprised when I received an email stating that I had been awarded a fellowship to attend the Digital Library Federation Forum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After applying the first time and not being accepted, it stung a bit. I then proceeded to answer the second call by the federation to apply as an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Fellow and the rest is history. Sometimes you have to do things a second time around to get in the door. The keynote speaker for the forum this year spoke about this one concept – second chances. Rasheedah Phillips inspired me to continue on the path that is before me to share information from a digital perspective and to advocate for change in my profession and from a global perspective by building community future spaces for collaborative conversations.

Definition of Future:

➔     “A time period or temporal space that is not now, one that is situated ahead (or before) us, and that is a distinctive from times that lie behind (or before) the one we are currently situated in. Etymologically, future developed out of the Old French Word fatar developed.” (Quote provided by Keynote Speaker in a digital presentation).

We come from two different worlds but share a commonality that being our ethnicity and our social advocacy in our communities as leaders and change agents. Rasheedah Phillips talked about how community building can be a transformative renaissance, when building partnerships and understanding the people in the environment that you are representing. It takes a special person to have gone through her own struggles and come out on top, then goes back to the community to show and produce an institution to help others that share her same story. In order to carry out this feat, Rasheedah Phillips used her skills as a writer to design a community future lab – a brilliant concept that houses brainstorming sessions, resulting  in advocacy and change without fear.

Questions that I will continue to ask others and myself:

  • How can we control our time and create brilliance for the masses?
  • Growing up, how did you envision your future self; is it different from the person you view now?
  • How many generations back can you trace your family?
  • Do you have documents are relics available to you from your family’s history?

Understanding that you have to know who you are to help someone else and being able to answer the questions above is the precursor to being able to be of service to others regardless of your profession. In hindsight, always being willing to try again is what makes us all better at what we do and the possibility to create legacies for future generations.  That is something that we should all commit to doing in our life’s work.  After to listening to the keynote speaker, it opened my mind up to collaborating with others during the forum and in the future. I will never forget this opportunity and honor to attend this year’s forum [I AM A 2017 DLF HBCU Fellow.] and hope to continue attending in the future.

“Let us keep the dance of rain our fathers kept and tread our dreams beneath the junlge sky.” – Arna Bontemps


One response to “Afro-Futurism in Librarianship, Beneath Jungle Skies

  1. Pingback: Afro-Futurism in Librarianship – Lifelong Quest·

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