Editorial Launch of up//root

up//root knowledge
Feb 7 · 8 min read
Image: up//root: A We Here Intervention.

Welcome

Thank you for coming to this site/page and reading these words. We — Joyce, Sofia and Jorge — are thrilled to begin our time as the editors for up//root. Before we move towards our purpose, vision, intentions, and submission criteria, we need to acknowledge the lands on which we write this editorial introduction. We write this while on the colonized lands of the Gabrielino/Tongva, Tonkawa, Lipan Apache, and Comanche, and Wampanoag peoples. As we acknowledge their stewardship of the land, each of us has taken a step towards solidarity with the Indigenous peoples on whose land we inhabit. These actions include becoming an annual patron and community supporter for Nalgona Positivity Pride(1), calling the National Resource Committee leadership to protect the Mashpee Reservation and pass HR 312, and pressuring the University of Texas Austin Archaeological Research Laboratory to return Indigenous ancestral remains. As you read this, we strongly encourage you, if you have not already, to research the Indigenous lands you occupy and see how you can contribute time, energy, or financially towards the needs of the lands and the peoples of the land.

We need to express our deep appreciation to Jennifer (Jenny) A. Ferretti and Nicole Cooke, who launched a previous We Here publication via Medium in 2016. Their labor and energies, along with those of the authors, established a strong foundation and created a necessary pathway to the kind of knowledge-making we deserve — made by us, for us, and of us, not simply about us. They will continue on as advisors, in addition to the other We Here administrators, Jennifer Brown and Charlotte Roh. In the near future, we will launch a call for an undergraduate or master’s student to join the advisory board, and possibly an additional editor.

As we believe every new project should begin this way, we need to acknowledge our own identities and how we arrived here at this time and space together. Joyce (they/them/theirs) is currently a fat, queer, genderqueer, and non-disabled middle-class, Filipinx/Texan, born in the U.S. of immigrant parents, married, and a brand spankin’ new parent. Jorge (he/him/his) is a light Brown mixed man of color — Mexican, Black American — that presently is a cis-hetero, non-disabled, lower-middle class U.S. citizen. Sofia (she/her/hers) is a straight, cisgender, able-bodied, middle-class, married Chinese American woman of color, and born of immigrant parents in NYC. Together, we recognize that we benefit from our proximity to whiteness. We claim these identities both to say how we identify and how people may view us, which is necessarily the lens through which we engage, observe, and move through the world.

We recognize that we do not represent all Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), even those who may share some or all of our identities. One of the discussions we had as an editorial team was specifically centered around whether and how this publication could claim to represent the knowledge, labor, and experiences of BIPOC without the many different intersections of identity represented on the editorial board. First, we know, as you do, that it is nearly impossible to represent each and every one of those intersections on the editorial board; we would never get this project off the ground. At this stage, we want to create the media space through which BIPOC can publish their artistic expressions, narratives, perspectives, or research. As an editorial team of three, we do not and cannot provide all the representation we might want at this time. All we can do for now is examine our own privileges and positionalities and be transparent about where we’re coming from in our roles as the inaugural editors for this publication. All this said, we welcome and encourage BIPOC to contact the editors if you have concerns and/or would like to further discuss representation as it relates to up//root.

This is how we are choosing to begin the project, but we are consciously giving ourselves a term limit of three (3) years to open up space for new folx to guide and further develop this publication. In the third and final year of our editorial leadership, we will invite the new editors (selection process tbd) to work with us and learn our processes and structures as we transition to the new editorial board, which will no doubt bring a unique light and creative dimension towards the vision of up//root.

Origin Story

The genesis of how the three of us got in community with one another begins with a book. Jorge and Sofia are in the process of co-editing a volume of works by BIPOC in archives and libraries that is intended to create a Critical Race Theory of LIS (to be published in 2021 by the MIT Press). They, very intentionally, tried to make the process as full of care towards their contributors as possible, even as they knew that would create more labor for them. This is labor they wanted to do and cared about doing; this is the care that the three of us were never extended in predominantly white spaces and which we implicitly understand is necessary for any BIPOC being asked for their labor. Jorge and Sofia knew this was a project they wanted to expand. In the early stage of the project, Joyce noted Jorge and Sofia’s approach and expressed gratitude for the intentional care with which they supported the contributors.

Over the past several years, Joyce became more aware of the insidiousness associated with producing knowledge within academia and the detrimental costs of that intellectual and emotional labor as a POC navigating predominantly white (read: oppressive) educational spaces of a super-white field. With the knowledge of their adjacent-to-privilege position in the academy, Joyce recognized that, as an educator-in-training, it was an issue of ethics to explicitly address harm caused in educational environments. This extends to the ways in which we conduct research, publish, and build upon the intellectual, practical, and creative work of BIPOC. Upon a year spent on intense healing from the trauma of their experiences in academia, Joyce finally decided to seek collaborators for a long overdue project on knowledge production for/by BIPOC that is rooted in antiracist, anti-oppressive understandings and sustained through perpetual reflection and practice. As we find ourselves continuing to navigate an oppressive system by which the “value” of our contributions are measured and rewarded according to standards shaped by the purveyors of whiteness, Joyce envisions a publishing community that intentionally honors the contributions of BIPOC and respects the processes through which we create, collaborate, research, write, and live.

Separately, Joyce and Sofia contacted Jenny to see if the We Here administrators were open to building a We Here publication with our considerations in mind. In our initial meeting with the advisory board, we found ourselves all on the same page, in solidarity.

Purpose

“We Here is a supportive community/space for library and archive workers and library and information science students who are Black + Indigenous + and Persons of Color (BIPOC). Some of the ways in which We Here can be described is as a support group, collaboration network, and mentorship platform.” [2]

In reflecting the purpose and values of We Here, this publication is meant to be a supportive media space for our community of BIPOC working/studying in, researching, or otherwise impacting, the library and archives fields. up//root is a space for Black + Indigenous + Persons of Color to share their research and meditations on their knowledge, experiences and ways of being in libraries and archives. It is meant as a place for collaboration, growth, learning, understanding, and community, grounded in criticality, antiracism, and anti-oppression.

Vision(s) From Ahead

This vision for this publication space did not come to us from the past or from the ancestors. It arrived from a future just ahead. We saw, heard, and felt it in our dreams. It is defined by its unapologetic focus on centering, honoring, and extending the intersectional knowledge created by Black, Indigenous and People of Color towards liberatory practices and imaginaries in libraries, archives, and education.

Underneath that definition, as editors, is our commitment to mutuality, and to providing an ethic of connection, support, care, and imagination with artists, students, practitioners, and scholars in the process of making. In that being in relation and building together, we are determined and committed to guiding the critical work of BIPOC in reaching the world in ways that are sustaining, generative, and that hold the work gently, lovingly. This is one of the pathways in the direction of other ways of living and being.

Guiding our vision is a deep need and desire for a publication space that highlights work that is truthful and uncompromising — insurgent critiques in search of freedom and devastating celebrations of joy, fresh with light. Justice-centered work rooted in the strength, hope and wisdom of BIPOC — that calls our names and shows up, and out, for us. Work that move us closer together, to be one another’s witnesses and daringly imagines positive social transformation for our collective futures and present.

Our Intentions

It is imperative for the collective growth of library and information science/studies (LIS) to sustain a publication that proactively acknowledges and honors the lived experiences of BIPOC as an earnest, bold way of producing knowledge. As BIPOC, we have built a wealth of first-hand knowledge that drives our creativity and/or informs our practice, the ways we conduct research and develop scholarship, and how we engage with white and BIPOC colleagues and faculty in environments that were not designed for us. We demand a publishing team that truly understands the challenges of navigating libraries, archives, and educational environments as BIPOC and is sensitive to the concerns of would-be contributors who are compelled to share their research, practice, creative works, and/or hard truths in order to cultivate knowledge, support other BIPOC to advance their careers, research agendas, and/or studies while maintaining their mental, physical, and spiritual health. As co-editors of up//root, we want to build a liberatory media space that centers BIPOC and uplifts the community’s intellectual and creative contributions. It is through love, care, light, and strength that we aim to collectively nurture this important publishing community. We choose to begin with a true ethic of care that embodies the world we want to see and build.

As we center the rich, informative work of BIPOC in LIS, we acknowledge that what is considered legitimateknowledge production in LIS is rooted in white supremacy and centers the cis, patriarchal, colonial gaze. LIS journals operate in stern accordance with the oppressive (ableist, classist, racist) parameters of publishing. Such publications do not center nor explicitly serve what is important for BIPOC in LIS (and therefore for all of LIS) to thrive as we develop robust ways of producing knowledge that inform our practice and scholarship. Current LIS publications are not interested in this key work unless it directly serves white interests (See Bell, 1980 “interest convergence”).

Following the lead of the administrators and participating members of the We Here collective, it is our intention as the inaugural editors of up//root to do the work that our institutions and the LIS professions as a whole are not doing (read: refuse to do). In an emancipatory spirit, it is our intention through this endeavor to build and sustain a media space that unapologetically centers, uplifts, and financially compensates for the research and creative works of Black, Indigenous, and Persons Of Color.

We here.

In solidarity and light,

Joyce, Sofia, Jorge

Look out for:

  • Rolling submissions for both an open call and a themed issue open on Monday, Feb 10
  • Call for peer reviewers open on Feb 10
  • Call for undergrad/master’s student to join the advisory board TBD
  • Our website

ENDNOTES

[1] Nalgona Positivity Pride is a Xicana-indigenous body-positive organization based in Los Angeles that “focuses on uncovering the impacts of colonialism, social oppression, historical trauma and its role in impairing relationships indigenous-descent people have with food and body-image. NPP’s goal is to help people of color and indigenous descent folks find education and resources for self-empowering, resistance, and healing.”

[2] We Here Safe Space Agreement/Code of Conduct, May 14, 2018.

uproot

up//root is a space for Black+Indigenous+People of Color to share their meditations on their knowledge, experiences, and ways of being in libraries and archives. It is meant as a place for collaboration and community, grounded in criticality, antiracism, and anti-oppression.

up//root knowledge

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Space for Black+Indigenous+People of Color to share their meditations on their knowledge, experiences, and ways of being in libraries and archives.

uproot

uproot

up//root is a space for Black+Indigenous+People of Color to share their meditations on their knowledge, experiences, and ways of being in libraries and archives. It is meant as a place for collaboration and community, grounded in criticality, antiracism, and anti-oppression.

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