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Library apologizes for using ‘thin blue line’ image to promote Northwestern police reform event

Commits to furthering its commitment to anti-racism

Evanston Public Library apologized on Thursday for using the “thin blue line” flag popular with law enforcement supports for an event on police reform. The Northwestern Emeriti Organization, a group of retired professors at the private university, plans to host a November 2 event on police reform.

The public library in Illinois apologized for using “racist imagery in a display designed to promote” the upcoming event its co-sponsoring with NU Emeriti. The promotional materials were not published online and the library did not include a photo of it in its tweet.

“We acknowledge the harm this image has caused our community, particularly for those who identify as Black, Indigenous, or POC [People of Color],” the library said.

The library promises to commit to educating itself.

“The library is committed to identifying, understanding, and rectifying our injustices past and current, as well as developing anti-racist policies and procedures that promote equity,” the statement said. The staff promises to create a system “for a more sensitive review of signage, programs, collections, policies and procedures drafts for potentially offensive imagery before inclusion in displays.”

It asks for help to “eradicate the systems of oppression.”

The Northwestern student paper joined in on labeling the flag as racist. “The flag is sometimes used to show support for law enforcement and has also been linked to white nationalist and alt-right groups,” the Daily Northwestern reported.

The student paper provided no link for this assertion, nor did Evanston Public Library.

The event is titled “Police Reform: Progress and Pitfalls.”

“It will be taught by Prof. emeritus Wesley Skogan of Northwestern’s Department of Political Science and Institute for Policy Research. Prof. Skogan is the author of numerous books on policing with an emphasis on Chicago,” the event description said.

“Are police abuses endemic to the system?” the event description said. “What are the realistic prospects for reform?”

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IMAGE: Ricardozea/Wikimedia Commons

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