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Photo: Lukas Flippo/IndyStar
After a summer of dedication and perseverance, the movement to oust the racist leadership of the Indianapolis Public Library celebrates a huge victory: IndyPL CEO Jackie Nytes is resigning.
Nytes announced her resignation to an e-mail to library employees at 4:55 pm on August 20. In the e-mail obtained by the Indianapolis Liberation Center, Nytes wrote:
“I am writing to tell you that the Library Board and I have come to the mutual decision that it is best for the Library that I step away at this time, which is earlier than my current contract calls for. This will be voted on this evening at the special meeting. My time as CEO will conclude at the end of the month.”
The struggle began on May 24, when Bree Flannelly, a Black woman who previously worked at the Central Library, addressed the Board about the systemic white supremacy, anti-Black racism, and ableism that the library leadership cultivated. Before the meeting, Nytes contacted Flannelly to try and prevent her from speaking. When she did start speaking, Board president Jose Salinas muted her microphone, until Black board members intervened.
Although the issue fell out of the mainstream press for a while, library workers and their union–AFSCME Local 3395–as well as the Indianapolis Liberation Center, continued building grassroots support through online petitions, community forums, protests, speak outs, and more.
Throughout the entire summer, as accusations and evidence against her mounted, Nytes repeatedly told the public that she wouldn’t resign. She continued to ignore the voices of library workers, especially Black workers.
“This shows the power that workers have when we organize, unite, and fight back,” said Cambria York of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
“Let’s celebrate this victory and continue to fight until Salinas is out and the workers and community have more control over our public library. One down and one to go,” they said.