SAA Supports Portland, Oregon, Community Archivists

January 26, 2022—The Society of American Archivists (SAA) is North America's oldest and largest national professional association dedicated to the needs and interests of archives and archivists. Representing more than 6,000 professional archivists employed by governments, universities, businesses, libraries, and historical organizations nationally, SAA is a vital community that advances diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility of archives and archivists. SAA respects the diversity found in humanity and advocates for archives to reflect that rich complexity.

Some archives are managed by communities for communities. Community recordkeeping and memory work instill a love for history among its members, provide context for important conversations, and anchor communities that are in some ways displaced. Archivists support communities that keep their own archives. Information is power. Community archives are a source of liberation.

Since the 1960s, the Albina Arts Center has served Black neighborhoods in North and Northeast Portland as archives, arts and education center, and a space to meet, engage, and organize as a community. Since 2015, the community has waited for the space to be renovated and returned to them. Under the administration of the Oregon Department of Justice, the space has languished, with the result of significant damage to the community's archives. 

SAA stands with Don’t Shoot PDX, an arts and education organization that promotes social justice and civic participation in Portland, Oregon, in its campaign to reclaim the Albina Arts Center as a resource for the Black community. SAA advocates for archives—including community archives—in the preservation and access of records of enduring value. SAA encourages Don’t Shoot PDX to use its voice to continue the legacy of community-driven archives, arts, and education in the Black neighborhoods of North and Northeast Portland. 

In addition to amplifying Don’t Shoot PDX’s message, SAA encourages its members across the country to learn more about this campaign and sign the petition to reclaim the Albina Arts Center for the community. SAA encourages archivists in Oregon to call their elected officials to ask that the Oregon Department of Justice live up to its promises to the community that needs the Albina Arts Center and to attend local actions organized by Don’t Shoot PDX.

Community archives know best what local communities need with regard to their history and memory keeping. Here are additional resources about Don’t Shoot PDX and SAA.