Title: Working as a “free ass muhfucka”: authenticity as a revolutionary act for social change
Speaker: La Loria Konata
Librarianship is a field comprised of roughly 90% white librarians. For people of color working in any library environment, this statistic often means you are “the only one” in your workplace. Such singleness heightens the probability that we may not bring our whole selves to work. It begs the question. What happens to racial and ethnic minority librarians – and our colleagues – when we do this? Using my own experiences as a framework, I will explore the link between how society conditions racial and ethnic minority librarians to fit into white social and professional norms and the effect of that conditioning on both those in the minority and the majority. I will show that the best way for socio-professional change to occur, in all facets of libraries, be it collection development, faculty outreach and student success, is for people of color to work as “free ass muhfuckas.”
Bio: La Loria Fontaine Konata was born and raised in Cleveland, Mississippi of the Mississippi Delta. She went on to attend and eventually graduate from Tougaloo College (the best HBCU) with a Bachelors of Art in Political Science. Her plan of attending law school was deferred while she pursued a Master of Public Administration. While pursuing this degree at Georgia State University, La Loria obtained her first full-time library job as Library Assistant I in the Interlibrary Loan Office. After completing the MPA, – as a result of her work at GSU – La Loria went to Library School at Clark Atlanta University. She has been employed at Georgia State University Library in various positions; including Learning Commons Coordinator and Head of Research Services. Currently, she is the Policy Studies Librarian. She recently fulfilled her law school dream and obtained a Juris Masters from Emory University School of Law in Intellectual Property. She is co-host of the Fix My Library podcast and maintains a blog, LaKo’s Lessons from Sports, providing insight and links between life lessons from the world of sports and the daily and long-term practice of librarianship. La Loria’s proudest accomplishment is being the mother to her fourteen-year-old daughter.
Title: Knowledge is Power: How Disinformation Helps Fascist Regimes and Good Information Ends Them
Speaker: Brooke Binkowski
When I was at Snopes, I discovered that Facebook was doing large-scale manipulation of human behavior using algorithms and it was destroying democratic efforts in Myanmar by reopening barely-healed historical wounds. I realized over time that was happening all over the world, and that is deliberate. I believe that exposure is the only way to fight back, and that knowledge is power. By knowing how this works, those of us working in the field of information and debunking disinformation can fight back with thorough, vetted, and responsive information. We are the last bulwark against authoritarianism, and journalists and librarians have never been more crucial to, quite literally, the future of the world.
Bio: Brooke Binkowski is the Managing Editor at truthorfiction.com. She has worked as a journalist for more than twenty years, focusing mostly on humanitarian and post-conflict stories and has written for The Global & Mail, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, CBS and NPR. Brooke was the managing editor of Snopes for nearly three years before deciding to pursue her passion for exposing disinformation in a new environment where journalists, researchers and editors are free to do their work without restraint. Brooke’s work has taken her from the Bolivian mountains to Gibraltar’s marinas and beyond, but her great love is the border regions and the lives that make those areas unique. She has expertise in immigration and migration, conflict and post-conflict areas, and since 2015 has distinguished herself as one of the leading journalists working against disinformation and propaganda. Binkowski has won widespread recognition and multiple awards for her work over the years, including the Sunshine Award which honors efforts to make government more transparent and hold elected leaders accountable. She lives in southern California.