SAA 2017: Archivists and Archives of Color Section Meeting

In advance of the 2017 Annual Meeting, we invited SNAP members to contribute summaries of panels, section meetings, forums, and pop-up sessions. Summaries represent the opinions of their individual authors; they are not necessarily endorsed by SNAP, members of the SNAP Steering Committee, or SAA.

Guest Author: Michelle Peralta, MLIS Candidate, San Jose State University

As a member of the Archivists and Archives of Color Section, the business meeting is one of the meeting sessions I look forward to the most during SAA’s annual conference. And this year is particularly significant as 2017 marks the Section’s 30th anniversary. The structure of the meeting was to meant to have two main components (okay, three—but we will get back to this later): the business meeting, and a panel presentation.


Outgoing chair Harrison Inefuku opened the meeting by welcoming members before giving an overview of the Section’s activities over the past year, which included:

  • Archiving in Color—A Celebration of Archivists of Color: As part of the Section’s 30th anniversary, this blog project highlights the membership’s contributions to SAA, and the archival profession as a whole. Harrison stated that rather than focusing on the collections, the blog would instead look at the people, the archivists themselves who have done, and continue to do, so much for the profession as well as communities of color. Harrison also said that the blog project was well received, and hoped it would continue next year.
  • Membership Directory: It was a priority to produce an updated Membership Directory, as it had not been updated since 2012. The newly published directory contains more information that it has in the past, since it is hoped that the directory can help facilitate collaboration and community. Members were asked to voluntarily disclose information about their geographic location, their interests/specialties, professional memberships, race/ethnicity, and certification status. These five areas comprise the indices of the directory for quick reference.
  • The Brenda S. Banks Travel Award: Last year, the archival profession, and the Section in particular, experienced painful loss with the passing of Brenda Banks, former SAA President and founding member of the Archivists and Archives of Color (A Memorial Resolution was dedicated in Brenda Banks’ honor at last year’s Section meeting). So it was received with great joy that SAA Council approved the proposal for the Brenda S. Banks Travel Award to support a new archivist of color in attending their first SAA Annual Meeting. Members can donate to the award when they renew their SAA memberships—there is an option to allocate money to the award. A collection was also taken up at the end of the meeting as a start of fundraising efforts.
  • AAC elections: Steven Booth, Brenda Gunn, and Audra Yun were recognized as newly elected officers to SAA Council, along with Stacie Williams and Aaisha Haykai for serving on the nominating committee.
  • Award Recipients: This year’s recipients of the Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award, NaVosha Copeland and Chido Muchemwa, were recognized, along with the latest cohort ARL/SAA Mosaic Fellows, Itza Carbajal, Evelyn Cox, Erin Glasco, Nadia Clifton, Sandra Delaney, Julie Park, and Ashlynn Prasad. Other scholarship winners that were recognized included Jeannie Chen, recipient of the Josephine Forman Scholarship, and Sabrina Ponce and Jessica Tai, recipients of the Mosaic Scholarship.
  • Harrison expressed his gratitude to the 2016-2017 Officers, the regional coordinators, the volunteers, and all others who dedicated their time and efforts in the work of the Section over the past year.
  • Introduction of New Officers: Dorothy Berry and Ashley Stevens were recognized as the newly elected Vice-Chair/Chair-Elect and Newsletter Editor, respectively. They will serve the 2017-2018 term with Angel Diaz as Chair, Sonia Yaco, continuing as Webmaster, and Brittany Newberry, the Section’s new intern.
  • New Chair Angel Diaz announced plans for the 2017-2018 term, which include continuing the Archiving in Color blog as well as the newsletter to celebrate the achievements of the membership, and to organize more mixers throughout the year. Angel also said that it would be a goal to focus on reaching out to students and new professionals.

With the installation of new officers, this marked the end of the business portion of the Section’s meeting. A panel was titled, “Archiving in Color: Reflections on the History of the Archivists and Archives of Color Section” followed and featured past co-chairs of the section, who were asked to reflect on the impact of the Section and to look to the future and examine the continuing role of the Section. Harrison introduced the panelists: Steven D. Booth, Angel Diaz, Petrina Jackson, and Wilda D. Logan.


Wilda spoke first and gave a history of the Section from its early beginnings as a task force for minorities, as a group that was given the name “minorities roundtable,” and how founders and pioneering members grew the Section to what it is today. Special focus was given to Dr. Pinkett’s contributions that ensured the success of the Section, as well as the role the Section’s newsletter had in advocating for its members, which eventually became the model for all other sections.

Afterwards, it was suggested by Petrina Jackson that instead of the panelists reflecting on the past, to open it up to the member to voice its concerns about, and hopes for the future of the Section.

Petrina shared the hope that the Section could create more publications to create a body of literature. It was also mentioned that some SAA awards were not awarded because there were not any nominations, so it was suggested to nominate as much as possible to promote members. Angel said that awards pertaining to international archives often went un-awarded. Greg Hunter, current editor of The American Archivist, announced that Dr. Pinkett would be featured in a 12,000-word biography in the next issue (forthcoming Fall 2017). Members also shared suggestions that a mentorship program be developed that would work within the Section, and that there was need to incorporate students early on/get student chapters involved. A short discussion followed that called for members to serve on other committees because “the easiest way to make appointments is for other people outside of the Section to know the work that you do.”

The last discussion centered on the need for workshops or possible online presentations. A member stated that the Chair of the Education committee is looking for proposals for classes as SAA finally adopted a learning management system.


Finally, it was time for cake—that unofficial third part of the meeting! In honor of the Archivists and Archives of Color Section’s 30th anniversary, members were invited to enjoy cake, and to pick up a special commemorative ribbon to attach to their badges. It was a sweet way to end the meeting, to honor the accomplishments of the last 30 years, and to usher in the next year (and hopefully another 30)!

accr cake tweet


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