For an update please scroll down to view the latest on the campaign and our next steps!
On the birthday of Travyon Martin, LaTashia Milligam, a 13 year old girl, was arrested at the Carver Library on rumors of a schoolyard disagreement. We believe that APL’s policy on code of conduct, engagement with youth and the parameters of youth services are at fault for LaTaisha’s arrest. We demand a closer look at APL’s responsibility to protect the youth, as young as ten years old, who participate in its programs from interaction and engagement with Austin Police Department and are determined to see #JusticeforLaTashia.
We want the Director of Libraries, Roosevelt Weeks, to respond to our demand for a meeting and an immediate review of Austin Public Library’s current policies regarding code of conduct, youth services, youth engagement, and collaboration with the police.
We want Roosevelt Weeks' review to result in:
1. A city-wide policy that requires staff, and especially youth librarians, AT ALL BRANCHES to go through trainings that equip them with the knowledge, skills, and resources they need to engage with BLACK YOUTH AND OTHER YOUTH OF COLOR in ways that support, heal, and affirm them. If this happens, APL staff and librarians will understand what helps youth vs. what hurts youth, how to advocate for youth vs. what it looks like to marginalize youth. This is very important if our kids are going to be in these spaces.
2. A city-wide policy that ensures that the police will not be contacted to mediate conflict between or among ANYONE in the library, but especially not to mediate conflict between kids or between staff and kids. And certainly one that states that a child’s parent or guardian will be contacted before anyone EVER involves law enforcement. This will ensure that parents have the opportunity to intervene and children have someone to advocate for them if a crisis does ensue.
3. A city-wide policy that requires staff to contact the parents or guardians of children participating in their youth services programs if they are contacted, detained, or arrested by Austin Police Department.