Submitted by Mary Shah, AHIP, Wiggans Health Sciences Library, Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk, CT; edited by Lilian Hoffecker
George Floyd’s murder on May 25 set off the latest round of Black Lives Matters demonstrations as well as discussions and statements on social media and in email discussions. Our own colleagues in the African American Medical Librarians Alliance (AAMLA) Caucus of MLA published an eloquent call to action that spoke to their experience and suffering.
You may ask, “What can I do?” The answer is plenty.
Rather than just looking at lists of books, take a holistic approach to becoming anti-racist. Read and reflect on the works of people of color. Do not burden your colleagues with the progress you have made—listen, show up, and make a difference. If you have a seat at the table of the organization where you practice librarianship, use your voice to invite others: invite authors of color to speak at your grand rounds, organize book talks about these books, volunteer to do outreach to underserved communities.
Learn about the history of MLA and take steps to make sure that everyone has a seat at the table and a turn at the podium. We have made progress, but work on diversity, inclusion, and equality—like work on cultural humility—is not one-and-done or that noisome compliance workshop we have to do once a year. It is an ongoing journey that is worth the effort.
The AAMLA Caucus is committed to using our collective voices in bringing about change in the profession and the association. I am committed to helping make that change. Together, we can deconstruct implicit biases, actively advocate against racial injustice, and build a stronger and inclusive community where no one feels left out or afraid. These resources may help, but they are by no means comprehensive or complete. Some are very new, while some bear revisiting. Please connect to them and use them.
- What is asset-based community development (ABCD)?, Sustaining Community; the article emphasizes the glass being half-full: “What is the essence of our community that makes it unique and strong?”
- Resources for Race, Equity, Anti-Racism, and Inclusion, We Need Diverse Books; this is an organization that has long advocated for diverse writers, publishers, and bookstores
- Talking about Race, National Museum of African American History & Culture and the Smithsonian
- “Integrating Cultural Humility into Public Services Librarianship,” Twanna Hodge; while this paper is an excellent read, a recording of the presentation is also available
- In the Library with the Lead Pipe on Critical Librarianship, a journal that “publishes articles by authors representing diverse perspectives including educators, administrators, library support staff, technologists, and community members”
- “What Is Critical about Critical Librarianship?,” Emily Drabinski
- Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, Safiya Umoja Noble
- Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine, Damon Tweedy
- Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity, Riley Snorton
- Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine
- Diversity and Inclusion in Libraries: A Call to Action and Strategies for Success, edited by Shannon D. Jones, AHIP, and Beverly Murphy, AHIP, FMLA; a great primer on diversity and inclusion in library and information science
- Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, Brittney Cooper
- How To Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot; while it is problematic that Skloot inserted herself in the story, it clearly shows the suffering of Henrietta Lacks as well as her family
- Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, Harriet A. Washington
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, Michelle Alexander
- The Nickel Boys, Colson Whitehead
- The Old Drift, Namwali Serpell
- Seeing Patients: A Surgeon’s Story of Race and Medical Bias, Augustus A. White III
- Toxic Silence: Race, Black Gender Identity, and Addressing the Violence against Black Transgender Women in Houston, William T. Hoston
- The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead
- Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? And Other Conversations about Race, Beverly Daniel Tatum
- The World According to Fannie Davis: My Mother’s Life in the Detroit Numbers, Bridgett M. Davis
- Anti-Racism Resources, Sarah Sophie Flicker, Alyssa Klein