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Introducing the New Social Justice and Health Disparities Action Club

Submitted by Andy Hickner and Chelsea Misquith.

The Social Justice and Health Disparities (SJ/HD) Caucus, a participating caucus of the Global Health and Health Equity Domain Hub, recently piloted a new, occasional event series, the SJ/HD Action Club. Each session is led by a different MLA member who presents on, and facilitates a discussion around, one tangible action they have taken to further anti-oppressive efforts and social justice advocacy in their communities or professional spaces. Participants learn how to put these actions into practice in their own lives and can share their own experiences and resources to assist their colleagues in doing the same.

This series complements the current offerings by the MLA Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee and the African American Medical Librarians Alliance (AAMLA), including, but not limited to, the DEI Living Library and the MLA Reads Book Club. The aim behind Action Club is to create a space for members who are ready to put their learning into practice.

The first event, “Creating Inclusive Guidelines,” took place on July 27, 2021, via Zoom, with twenty-three participants. It focused on inclusive practices for working in teams and developing guidelines for effective, inclusive communication. The event was led by Nisha Mody, MLIS, MA CCC-SLP (she/her). Nisha is a librarian, feminist healing coach, and writer. Nisha is passionate about trauma-informed care, justice, and creating nurturing relationships. She coaches people one-on-one, in groups, and provides workshops related to healing and trauma-informed care.

In her presentation, Nisha explored how she began developing the guidelines, potential contexts and settings in which they can be used, considerations such as the intersectionality of our social identities, the process of creation, and what to do when conflict arises. She also took questions from participants and recommended several resources for learning more, including Access Intimacy by Mia Mingus, Priya Parker’s Art of Gathering, White Supremacy Culture characteristics, and Meenadchi’s Decolonizing Nonviolent Communication.

The Caucus is compiling a list of potential topics for future Action Club events. Contact Chelsea Misquith and Andy Hickner if you’re interested in facilitating a future Action Club, have an idea/facilitator to suggest, or would like a link to the recording of the July 27 event.

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