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African American Health and Anti-Racist Resources

Posted by on June 16th, 2020 Posted in: Advocacy, Blog, General


This posting has been adapted from the original blog post written by Nisha Mody, MLIS, MA, CCC-SLP, at NNLM PSR.

In light of the historical injustices and recent events that have taken place across the country, including police brutality and ensuing protests, the staff at NNLM GMR stand with the African American community. In this article, you will find resources related to African American mental health, anti-racist reading materials, cultural competency and humility, NLM African American and race history, racism in science, and PubMed Central articles about police brutality and African American health.

Please note that APHA’s upcoming Advancing Racial Equity Webinar Series began on June 9, 2020.

We support the statements from the African American Medical Library Alliance and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.


Statement from the African American Medical Library Alliance

We are hurting, frustrated and our emotions are raw.

The cumulative toll of microaggressions, institutional racism, police brutality, and state-sanctioned violence coupled with the emotional labor of navigating a predominantly white profession is exhausting. We are tired of not being seen, heard, included, or appreciated for the value that our unique voices, experiences and perspectives bring to the narrative.

We appreciate the sentiments of our fellow caucuses and colleagues throughout the Medical Library Association. Collectively, we share community with other marginalized members who live in dread that the color of their skin, race and ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, political beliefs, language, culture, nationality, age, ability status, and religion make them targets of violence and possibly death.

We are committed to using our collective voices in bringing about change in the profession and the Association.

“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.” — Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Kelsa Bartley, Chair
Michael S. Fitts, Chair-Elect
Shenita Peterson, Immediate Past Chair
Tara Douglas-Williams, AHIP, National Program Committee, Co-Chair 2021
Shannon Jones, AHIP, Caucus Mentor
Beverly Murphy, AHIP, FMLA, MLA Past President
Tamara Nelson, AHIP, MLA Information Services Domain Hub Chair
Aidy Weeks, AHIP, Virtual Engagement Committee


Statement Condemning Increased Violence and Racism Towards Black Americans and People of Color from the Black Caucus of The American Library Association

[NEW YORK, NY, May 28, 2020]–The Black Caucus of The American Library Association has a history of not only opposing racist acts against Black people, but condemning such acts. BCALA roundly condemns the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officers within the Minneapolis Police Department.

Since George Floyd is the latest in a long line of recent and historical violence against Black people in the United States, the BCALA takes this moment to encourage BCALA members to take proactive and preventative measures in the fight against racism. To take action against injustice, BCALA encourages its members to use both the methods employed by our predecessors and those unique to the 21st century:

  • Calling politicians in the Minnesota area.
  • Participating in active, but peaceful protests on the streets.
  • Using vlogs, blogs and other social media platforms.
  • Initiating letter writing campaigns.
  • Creating podcasts.
  • Voting (both locally and nationwide).
  • Attending policy making meetings in your area to make your opinions known.
  • Running for office to be a voice for historically disenfranchised groups and librarians.

BCALA stands firm in its condemnation of the systematic social injustices of Black people and People of Color. It is necessary for the membership to be proactive not only when someone in our community is harmed, but preventative in anticipating historically sanctioned violence by participating in local efforts to counter racism and violence against Black men and women. The systemic machinery of racism does not sleep and neither should we in our efforts to counter it.

Respectfully submitted,

The Officers and Members of The Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

BCALA Officers:
Richard E. Ashby, Jr., President (F.O.R. Sto-Rox Public Library, McKees Rock, Pennsylvania.
Shauntee Burns-Simpson, Vice President (The New York Public Library, New York, New York).
Brenda Johnson Perkins, Executive Secretary (Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, Maryland).
Brandy McNeil, Treasurer (The New York Public Library, New York, New York).
Denyvetta Davis (Immediate Past President – Retired).

EDI Ad Hoc Committee:
Conrad Pegeus, Chair (University of Tennessee at Martin).


African American Mental Health Resources

  1. Mental Health America: Black & African American Communities And Mental Health
  2. HHS Office of Minority Health: Mental and Behavioral Health – African Americans
  3. HHS Office of Minority Health: Minority Mental Health Awareness Month – July

Anti-Racist Reading Lists from our Members (books available electronically)

  1. Chicago Public Library: Black Lives Matter: Antiracist eBook Reads
  2. Des Moines Public Library: Racial Justice and Antiracism: A Book List
  3. Evanston Public Library: Antiracist Resources and Reads: Lists for All Ages
  4. Hennepin County Public Library: Race, Power and Activism in America: Resources for Children & Teens

Cultural Competency and Humility

  1. NNLM Webinar: Cultural Competency for the Information Professional
  2. NNLM Webinar: Cultural Competencies and the Strategic Prevention Framework
  3. NNLM Webinar: Integrating Cultural Humility into Practice
  4. NNLM Self-Paced Course: Serving Diverse Communities
  5. HHS: Think Cultural Health – Improving Cultural Competency for Behavioral Health Professionals

NLM Resources on African American and Race History

  1. Leonidas H. Berry and the Fight to Desegregate Medicine
  2. For All the People: A Century of Citizen Action in Health Care Reform
  3. Circulating Now from NLM – African American History

Scientific Resources on Racism

  1. COVID-19 and Health Inequities
  2. NLM Special Lecture: Gender, Race, and Power in Science
  3. APHA’s Advancing Racial Equity Webinar Series
  4. Medical Education: Race and Racism in Healthcare

PubMed Central Articles

  1. Alang S, McAlpine D, McCreedy E, Hardeman R. Police Brutality and Black Health: Setting the Agenda for Public Health Scholars. Am J Public Health. 2017;107(5):662‐665. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2017.303691
  2. Bowleg L, Maria Del Río-González A, Mbaba M, Boone CA, Holt SL. Negative Police Encounters and Police Avoidance as Pathways to Depressive Symptoms Among US Black Men, 2015-2016. Am J Public Health. 2020;110(S1):S160‐S166. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2019.305460
  3. Edwards F, Lee H, Esposito M. Risk of being killed by police use of force in the United States by age, race-ethnicity, and sexProc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019;116(34):16793‐16798. doi:10.1073/pnas.1821204116
  4. Hall JM, Fields B. “It’s Killing Us!” Narratives of Black Adults About Microaggression Experiences and Related Health Stress. Glob Qual Nurs Res. 2015;2:2333393615591569. Published 2015 Jul 9. doi:10.1177/2333393615591569
  5. Schneider JA, Lancki N, Schumm P. At the intersection of criminal justice involvement and sexual orientation: Dynamic networks and health among a population-based sample of young Black men who have sex with men. Soc Networks. 2017;51:73‐87. doi:10.1016/j.socnet.2017.04.001


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This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Grant Number 1UG4LM012346 with The University of Iowa.

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