After fighting her case for two years, Brooky Parks, the woman fired from the Erie Community Library in Weld County has now reached a settlement with the High Plains Library District. Parks says she lost her job at the High Plains Library District after she was told to cancel several workshops, she ran for LGBTQ+ teens and youth of color.
She expressed her concerns and said, that within just weeks,by the High Plains Library District Board of Trustees. Parks will now receive $250,000 from the High Plains District Library, though it feels like a victory, she still gets emotional.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission signed off on the settlement and made it official on Friday.
Parks case is an example that libraries can be held accountable for their discriminatory policies. The firing of Parks began when the district approved new policies that required that programs at their locations could not persuade students to a particular point of view.
Now the board must revise and revisit its policies.
"It's been a long journey, but I'm glad to be where I'm at right now," said Parks.
Parks said the past two years have been a struggle, not only financially, but also emotionally.
"I think from the very beginning, I just wanted to serve all members of my community and I wanted to work with the teens that I was working with," said Parks,
Parks is a strong advocate for diversity and inclusion, she wanted to educate teens on the opportunities available to them and tried to make them feel like they had a safe space.
"They don't have these support networks, sometimes at home or in their schools and the public library is the last place that they have to come for those supports," said Parks.
According to Parks' attorney, Iris Halpern, this settlement is a first of its kind in the Centennial State.
"There's a lot of equitable relief and injunctive relief that is being included. That hopefully sends a message out to other library districts across the country that censorship and discrimination are wrong," said Halpern.
Parks hopes her story will serve as a testimony to other librarians across the country facing backlash for hosting similar workshops that support LGBTQ+ youth and anti-racism.
"I encourage you to speak out and fight back," added Parks, "I never wanted to be in this position, but I really didn't feel like there was any other choice, that was the right thing to do, to stand up for what was right," said Parks.
The district must now update its programming policies to be more diverse and inclusive, amongst other changes.
"We've made all this progress in the last decades, and we don't want to find ourselves in a situation where we're again a society that's kind of, you know, ruined by hate and divisiveness," added Halpern.
CBS News Colorado contacted the district for comment and has yet to hear back.
Data from the American Library Association also shows there's been an increase in the number of attempts to ban or restrict library resources in schools, universities and public libraries.
Limiting these diverse programs is not new for the district. The board has limited LGBTQ+ programming and banned drag queen story hours.
Parks is now working at the University of Denver as a reference and instruction librarian.
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