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Library board members to get racial equity training

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Indianapolis Public Library board members will take racial equity training after library employees accused some board members and others in leadership of racism and sexism.

Board President Judge Jose Salinas announced the training at a board meeting June 28. He said he hopes racial equity training helps the board better understand issues employees face.

Library employees have accused board members and leadership, including Salinas and CEO Jackie Nytes, of racism. The Recorder began reporting on allegations following a virtual board meeting in May, where Salinas muted former employee Bree Flannelly before she could share her experiences during the public comment portion.

Salinas apologized at the beginning of the June board meeting for the way he handled the situation.

“As a Latino, I’ve faced my own type of discrimination in the past as a migrant worker,” he said in an interview after the meeting. “Not to the degree of other groups, but I’ve faced my own stuff, OK? So, I understand that.”

A couple of board members have already done the training, Salinas said, but all seven will hopefully have completed the training within the next two months. Library employees have taken the training, which is through Indianapolis Public Schools, over the last six years.

Climate study to begin within two weeks

A climate study commissioned by the library will begin within the next two weeks, said Dr. Khaula Murtadha, who will oversee the study.

A proposal for the study reads: “In order to create a climate of racial equity, one that respects cultural differences and fosters inclusion, the library must assess the entire infrastructure including its leadership and decision making.”

The study will focus on the library’s goals, morale, communication and balance of power, among other things. The study will involve focus groups, interviews and case studies.

“We don’t want to keep going on with the same old ways of doing things,” Murtadha said.

Contact staff writer Tyler Fenwick at 317-762-7853. Follow him on Twitter @Ty_Fenwick.

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