Queens Public Library to host Black Health and Healing Summit

Beatbox artist Doug E. Fresh joins a Black Health and Healing Summit organized by Queens Public Library. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)

As Black History Month gets underway, Queens Public Library will host a 24-hour virtual event scheduled for Feb. 5-6 to address health and well-being issues facing Black Americans.

The Black Health and Healing Summit will do a deep dive spotlighting issues affecting African-American communities, including disparities in the healthcare system and the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The summit will feature top experts in the field of medicine and science, as well as notable entertainers, musicians, and athletes, who will share information on topics covering three main areas: Health education, focusing on common health issues affecting many African-American communities, including COVID-19 and depression, parenting, health equity, and steps to improve health outcomes; Health Connections for the Mind, Body & Soul, examining ways to connect with or serve the heath community; and Activating Your Health Through Transformative Practices, dedicated to practicing self-care.

The summit is the result of a partnership between Queens Public Library and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has not only disproportionately affected Black Americans with respect to infection and death rates, but it also brought into sharp focus the inequities and disparities in the U.S. healthcare system,” Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott said. “The Black Health and Healing Virtual Summit will help close the equity gap in Black health by ensuring anyone can access critical information and resources to build healthier lifestyles and create strategies for healing. We are grateful to the Black Caucus of the American Library Association for their partnership, and to the National Library of Medicine for funding this important initiative.”

Over the course of 24 hours, participants will be able to join virtual panels, informative lectures and interactive workshops including “Raising Black Children” led by former Surgeon General Dr. M. Jocelyn Flowers as well as a discussion led by Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett, PhD, one of the leading scientists in the forefront of the coronavirus vaccine development, exploring the context of medical distrust and historical abuses.

Beatboxing legend Doug E. Fresh, joined by QPL Hip Hop Coordinator Ralph McDaniels and Dr. Olajide Williams, the founder of Hip Hop Public Health, will host “Friday Night Live: Building Health Equity Through the Transformative Power of Music,” emphasizing the connection between health, music, race and culture.

Actress, singer, rapper, songwriter and comedian Amanda Seales will be sharing her thoughts on “Race, Culture and Hip Hop,” joined by Chris Emdin, associate director of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, who will serve as a moderator.

“2020 has been a challenging time, especially for Black and Brown communities,” Black Caucus of the American Library Association President Shauntee Burns-Simpson said. “This summit will offer resources that can help educate, transform, and activate healthier practices for the mind, body and soul.”

Other notable speakers include Dr. Shekinah Elmore, a radiation oncologist and cancer survivor, who is pursuing equity and empathy in oncology,and Nupol Kiazolu, former president of Black Lives Matter Greater NY, the founder and CEO of the national campaign Vote 2000 and internationally-recognized voice for civil rights among Generation Z.Participants are also invited to join “Barbershop Talk” and Beauty Shop Talk,” where they will be able to discuss openly the issues of importance to them, including their health.

To see the full lineup of speakers and to register go to the Queens Public Library website here.

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