SAA Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

The Society of American Archivists centers its values on diversity and equity, and is committed to building a culture of inclusion.

As an association that serves archives and archivists across the profession, SAA benefits from the participation of people from all backgrounds. The Society of American Archivists strives to ensure that its staff, membership, the historical record that archivists preserve and steward, and the communities archivists serve reflect these values. To guide and clarify our work in this area, the Society adheres to the following Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. 

We understand diversity to encompass:

  • Socio-cultural factors related to individual and community identity, including the attributes mentioned in SAA’s Equal Opportunity/Nondiscrimination Policy; and
  • Professional and geographic factors, reflecting the Society’s desire for broad participation from archivists working in various locations, repository types and sizes, employment classifications and rank, and professional specializations. 

We recognize equity as: 

  • Equitable access to educational, funding, leadership, and award opportunities for individuals who are of color, who identify as LGBTQIA+, and/or who have disabilities; and 
  • Fair pay, benefits, and labor practices for all archives workers, including students, temporary and contract employees, paraprofessionals, and professionals

We identify inclusion as:

  • A commitment to ongoing and cumulative efforts (e.g., policies, principles, practices, activities, and infrastructures) that take responsibility for creating an increasingly diverse community in a welcoming, equitable, and responsive manner;
  • Continuous proactive steps to ensure that marginalized members of our organization are seen and cared for.

 

Provenance:

The Society of American Archivists has long promoted policies of nondiscrimination, identified diversity as a value for the association and the profession, and has strived to foster a just and inclusive professional culture that reflects and embraces the diversity of the larger society. In 1992 SAA adopted an Equal Opportunity/Non-Discrimination Policy. SAA affirms that simply pledging nondiscrimination is insufficient, and that we must make positive efforts to center diversity among our membership, our members’ holdings, and our members’ user communities in order to enrich the historical record and achieve professional excellence. In 2006 the SAA Council adopted a statement of its “Strategic Priorities” that includes the following argument for the centrality of  diversity for the Society: “The relevance of archives to society and the completeness of the documentary record hinge on the profession’s success in ensuring that its members, the holdings that they collect and manage, and the users that they serve reflect the diversity of society as a whole.”

Diversity is one of the eleven Core Values of Archivists (adopted in 2011), and several SAA committees, task forces, component groups, and initiatives have focused on issues relating to diversity and inclusion. In 2010, the Council developed the “SAA Statement on Diversity.” In drafting its  2014-2018 Strategic Plan, the SAA Council revised SAA’s mission to promote the “diversity of archives and archivists” as a core principle to guide all of the plan’s goals and activities. The Council also included “ensuring the diversity of its membership and leaders, the profession, and the archival record” as a core organizational value, which was retained in the 2018-2020 Strategic Plan. The 2020-2022 Strategic Plan specifically cites the “Welcoming Environment” or the “WE” initiative as “a reminder to all of us that SAA intends to provide an open, inclusive, and collaborative environment in which all members have the opportunity to participate fully.”

For a review of SAA’s many early actions, see Elizabeth Adkins’s 2007 Presidential Address, "Our Journey Toward Diversity—And a Call to [More] Action," and see SAA’s Diversity and Inclusion resources page with relevant past and current initiatives and efforts.

Implementation and Governance:

SAA promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of its professional activities with an eye to ensuring effective representation of staff, our members, addressing the concerns of the full range of stakeholders represented within our members’ holdings, and reaching out to archivists’ many communities of users.

The SAA Code of Conduct provides guidance on expectations for member conduct that are based on the core principles of this Statement on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as well as the Equal Opportunity/Non-Discrimination Policy. 

 

Adopted by the SAA Council on August 9, 2010; reviewed and reaffirmed in January 2013; reviewed and revised in August 2016; reviewed and revised in May 2020. The Council agreed to review every three years this document, SAA's Equal Opportunity/Non-Discrimination Policy (July 2019), and SAA's Code of Conduct (July 2019). 

Additional resources consulted: https://dobetterlabor.com/