Hi, my name is Michelle Sparks. As we celebrate Pride this weekend, I wanted to help out a friend and colleague of mine who stood up for LGBTQIA+ youth and suffered a devastating job loss as a result. She needs our help. I worked alongside Brooky Parks providing library services to teens, and I am organizing this fundraiser on her behalf. Brooky was one of the first librarians fired for protesting the elimination of programming and content supporting LGBTQIA+ teens and youth of color. Her story, and that of other librarians caught in the crossfire of censorship and backlash against racial and LGBTQIA+ justice, was covered in the The Denver Post: https://www.denverpost.com/2022/02/05/high-plains-library-district-fires-librarian-discrimination-eeoc/
Brooky was the Teen Librarian at the Erie branch of the High Plains Library District (HPLD) in Weld County, CO for three years. She is passionate about serving teens and planning programs that are not only diverse and inclusive, but also address critical topics such as LGBTQIA+ history, anti-racism, suicide prevention, dating violence, mental health and sexual assault awareness.
On Nov. 15th, 2021 the Board of Trustees approved a policy that states HPLD “does not present programs that are intentionally inflammatory or polarizing” or that are “intended to persuade participants to a particular point of view.” As a result, on Nov. 17th, 2021, Brooky was told by the administration to cancel two of her programs, an anti-racism workshop for teens and an LGBTQIA+ teen program “Resistance Through History, and You!”. She was also told to rename her teen “Read Woke” Book Club (which featured a book on a different marginalized community each month) because the word “woke” was polarizing.
Brooky expressed her concern about the censorship to administration, which went unheard. As a result, she spoke out to the community, was abruptly written up and fired. Up until that point she had never been written up or placed on probation, and in fact, all of her performance reviews had been extremely positive. It was only four weeks from the time the policy was approved to when she was fired. It is clear her termination was direct retaliation for speaking out against censorship and the cancelation of her programs.
Since her termination, Brooky has exhausted all of her savings and is now approaching her last two weeks of unemployment. She needs our help and support as she continues to oppose HPLD’s censorship-friendly policy and search for new employment.
Please help my professional colleague, friend, and amazing community member Brooky. If you want to learn more about her situation or what has been happening at High Plains Library District, please see the links below: