As libraries and archives take specific action to address white supremacy in the library and information science (LIS) field, too often there is an undue burden placed on people of color to provide expertise and life experience on issues related to race and oppression. Our colleagues are asked to facilitate discussions, write articles and blog posts, and advise their employers and professional organizations about antiracism and racial justice. They are often expected to serve as informal educators and consultants and to be available to have difficult conversations about their experiences again and again, usually without compensation. Even when requests for assistance and input are extended to colleagues from other institutions and community members who are not part of libraries and archives, the burden remains undue. People of color are often uncompensated and unrecognized for this reparative work, which, in addition to the time and expertise required, is immensely taxing emotionally.
To address this deep injustice, the Inclusion and Diversity Committee and NEA Executive Board have worked together over the past year to establish an honoraria fund that can be used to compensate people of color for their writing, research, and expertise about race, diversity, equity, marginalized communities, and other issues relating to racial justice, broadly conceived.
Launched in the Fall of 2021, the Racial Justice Honoraria Fund will allow NEA to support people, programs, and initiatives that address these topics in the context of archives, and specifically, the NEA community. Recognizing that combating white supremacy organizationally and individually is a continuous process, this is the beginning of a sustained commitment by NEA to address racial injustice in our field and engage, elevate, and compensate people of color for their vital work and contributions.
In addition to the allocated money in the NEA budget for this initiative, designated donations will allow the Racial Justice Honoraria Fund to grant more honoraria and make an even bigger impact. If you are in a position to financially support NEA in this initiative, click here to make a donation.
Award amounts are variable based on the specifics of the project, as outlined below
This fund is specifically designed to compensate people of color for their labor. Since we do not want to gate-keep or make assumptions about applicants’ identities, we are asking applicants to self-identify as a person of color. We expect all applicants to respect the intended purpose of this fund and only apply if they meet the criteria below:
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis via a Google form maintained by the IDC. They will be reviewed by the committee twice a year in the spring and in the fall.
The inaugural fund committee will develop guidelines for evaluating applications, particularly in the event that there are more applications than the fund can support in a given cycle. Recipients of this award will be selected for their focus on racial justice and equity, as well as their relevance to NEA and the archives profession.
If the Committee does not select a recipient from the applicants, or in the absence of applications, the scholarship will not be awarded for that year.
Proposals are considered for the Racial Justice Honoraria Fund independently from applications submitted by the same applicant(s) to other NEA awards during the same award cycle.
The NEA Treasurer/Treasurer-Elect will send reimbursement checks to the award recipient(s) after being notified by the fund committee. Awards from the RJHF are considered grants. Applicants for research and other special projects will be asked to submit a budget estimate in order to more accurately assess the need and allocate our limited funds most appropriately. Submitted budgets should use due diligence to provide reasonable figures when requesting funds, but once an award is approved, no further documentation is required. For awards supporting newsletter articles and honoraria for NEA-sponsored programs, a budget will not be required.
Applications are reviewed and recipients are chosen by the Racial Justice Honoraria Fund Committee, whose membership is approved by the Executive Board annually prior to the start of the Fall application period. The Committee is made up of:
The IDC chair is also available to advise the committee as needed.
Racial Justice Honoraria Fund files are stored on NEA’s content management system and managed in accordance with the NEA Record Schedule.
The inaugural fund cycle will begin in late Fall 2021. Going forward, the fund committee will develop a regular schedule for subsequent review periods, which will be posted here.