A local resident accuses the King County Library System of racism. Christopher Rufo alleges that KCLS held segregated trainings. KCLS outright denies these allegations, stating there were no mandated trainings but voluntary listening sessions.
These listening sessions were voluntary for staff and designed to gather information to help us better understand institutional racial equity concerns, particularly those voiced by BIPOC staff members at KCLS, so that our consultants could develop a report and recommendations.– King County Library System responds to misinformation surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings.
In the wake of a reinvigorated Black Lives Matter movement, many organizations have shifted more resources toward diversity and inclusion programs. These workshops and sessions are believed to help companies create new forms of input for leadership, and promote cultural education and sensitivity within an organization.
KCLS held voluntary listening sessions which allowed caucused racial affinities space to be open about their thoughts and concerns. Because these were voluntarily caucused, some have gone to the extreme to compare them to forced segregation, even sharing pictures of segregated water fountains on social media. Most feedback has been positive.
Christopher Rufo, one of his latest tweets reading “antiracism is racism”, takes the cue from Donald Trump’s administration in attacking diversity and inclusion training and other practices and educational programs which support Black communities and other communities of color. Resident Rufo is not an employee of KCLS, nor was he present at these sessions. He is, however, a former candidate for Seattle City Council and was part of a “Seattle is Dying” panel, running on a platform for strong enforcement of anti-Homeless policies and draconian sentencing of street crimes.