SIBA Statement Against Racism

SIBA Statement Against Racism
July 7, 2020

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance stands against racism, and the injustices suffered by Black people in our country. The recent murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and the rising up of people around the world in protest of police brutality and systemic racism, have brought our staff and board together in difficult and honest conversation. As an organization located in the South, we recognize racism is a part of our culture and it is our responsibility to be active allies to Black people, to continue having these conversations, digging deeper, and doing the work. We acknowledge, as an all-white staff and board, a lack of diversity in our leadership; we mutually vow to confront any implicit bias. We vow to stand next to Black people, to listen to and hear Black people in the book industry, and to work towards empowering them.

How we are doing this:

  • We are now working to identify Black-owned bookstores in our region and reaching out personally to hear their needs.

  • We are intensifying current efforts to amplify the voices of Black authors and illustrators in our programming.

  • The SIBA staff and Board will undertake diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training.

  • We will review our governance policies and seek guidance from DEI consultants. In partnership with the Book Industry Charitable Foundation, we will offer DEI training to member booksellers at our Fall trade show.

  • We will continue to enforce and embody our Code of Conduct.

  • We make a pledge of transparency and accountability on our antiracist initiatives, and will actively report what we are doing to the membership.

We invite questions or suggestions on the above from our membership. Please email us at


Linda-Marie Barrett, Executive Director
Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance

Kelly Justice, SIBA President
Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, Virginia

Shane Gottwals, SIBA Board
Gottwals Books, Byron, Georgia

Janet Geddis, SIBA Board
Avid Bookshop, Athens, Georgia

John Cavalier, SIBA Board
Cavalier House Books, Denham Springs, Louisiana

Nicki Leone, SIBA Staff

SP Rankin, SIBA Staff