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Women’s History Month 2024

Women’s History Month 2024
March 13, 2024 Billy George

The Greater Freeport Partnership honors the commemoration of Women’s History Month with a special feature from Ashley Huffines, executive director of the Freeport Public Library.

When I think about Women’s History Month in 2024, and this year’s theme, “Women who advocate for equity, diversity, and inclusion,” I can’t help but think about advocacy in the library world. Throughout the ten years I’ve been a librarian, advocacy for human rights continues to be integral to the work we do.

Thousands of public libraries throughout the county adhere to the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics, which includes the statement;

“We affirm the inherent dignity and rights of every person. We work to recognize and dismantle systemic and individual biases; to confront inequity and oppression; to enhance diversity and inclusion; and to advance racial and social justice in our libraries, communities, profession, and associations through awareness, advocacy, education, collaboration, services, and allocation of resources and spaces.”

Simply put, libraries offer resources and spaces for all and strive to continue to provide unobstructed access to information in our safe environments. It’s not surprising to me that librarianship is a profession that has long been dominated by women. Our great-grandmothers, grandmothers, and mothers, all started the legacy of fighting for women’s rights. We have memories within our lifetimes that empower us to spread the fight from women’s rights to human rights.

Over the years, I’ve dedicated time to having constructive conversations with many people about overcoming personal biases (both my own and others’ biases) in order to enhance equity across our communities. I am fortunate to work in a field that values advocacy for all where just doing my job can make an impact in the lives of people within the community I live in, too. Libraries are a resource for all – regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, ability, socio-economic status, religious beliefs, or political views. Although the conversations are hard and advocacy can feel like an uphill battle, I find myself empowered to continue. And like all the women who have led the fight before me, I will continue to advocate for everyone’s basic human rights.