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Queens Public Library honors Black History Month with programs on Black health and wellness

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Photo courtesy of QPL

Queens Public Library is honoring Black History Month with dozens of programs and initiatives spotlighting various aspects of Black health and wellness. 

Throughout February, the library will seek to raise public awareness about disparities affecting physical, mental, social-emotional, and financial health and wellness of Black communities. 

The library’s first event features Dr. Betty Carrington, a certified nurse midwife and educator at Harlem Hospital Center, who will lead a discussion about the “Pioneer Midwife of Color” on Wednesday, Feb. 2, at 7:15 p.m. 

During the interview with Andrew “Sekou” Jackson, a professor of Black Studies at York College, a member of the board of trustees at the Queens Public Library, and former executive director of Langston Hughes Community Library and Cultural Center, Carrington will discuss her career in nurse-midwifery, the history of granny midwives, and the challenges and achievements she experienced in her journey. The program will stream live on the QPL Facebook page and YouTube channel.

The public will also learn about mental health in the Black community during a program held on WebEx titled “Stop The Stigma: Mental Health And The Black Community” with psychologist Dr. Ebony Butler on Wednesday, Feb. 9, at noon.

 The audience will get to know key health insurance and health care options during a presentation from the Office of Citywide Health Insurance Access (OCHIA) during a live program on the library’s Facebook page on Wednesday, Feb. 23, at 10 a.m. 

Those interested in boosting their immune system with healthy food can join Chef Shenarri “Greens” Freeman, a health and wellness advocate and the executive chef at Cadence, a vegan Southern soul food restaurant in the East Village, on Thursday, Feb. 3, at 6 p.m. via WebEx for a presentation about Plant-Based Cooking. Freeman will go over a few easy at-home remedies, herbs and supplements while also making a leek potato soup. 

QPL President and CEO Dennis Walcott will join QPL Hip-Hop Coordinator Ralph McDaniels on Tuesday, Feb. 15, from 3 to 4 p.m. for a Black History Month edition of his weekly program Live Talk from Queens! on the library’s Instagram page. They will discuss their own personal health journeys, the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the challenges that Black and African American communities face in access to health and wellness resources. 

To help the public keep track of their health, the library has developed a journal, featuring daily prompts, book recommendations and general tips to encourage participants to reflect on their health habits. Customers can obtain hard copies of the journal at the branches or they can download it from the QPL website to keep track of their wellness journey throughout the month of February. The journal also includes historical facts, information and resources celebrating the contributions of Black leaders and innovators.

During its monthlong observance, the library will also explore a number of other topics emphasizing the achievements of African Americans and their contributions in U.S. history, as well as their struggles for freedom and equity.

On Saturday, Feb. 12, at 3 p.m., the QPL’s Langston Hughes Library invites the public to join its Annual Langston Hughes Day Celebration. The event will include Black Spectrum Theatre’s special presentation of the Queens-based film “Soup” that follows the lives of two middle school teenagers who are torn between street life and the classroom, and a performance by multidisciplinary artist and educator Annie Lee Moffett called “Langston Hughes Song Cycle.” To register, click here

As part of the library’s Literary Thursdays series on Feb. 3 at 4 p.m. on WebEx Joseph L. Graves, Jr. and Alan H. Goodman will discuss their latest book, “Racism, Not Race: Answers to Frequently Asked Questions.” Graves and Goodman provide persuasive answers to key questions about race and racism at a time when people of all backgrounds are striving for social justice. “Racism, Not Race” shows readers why antiracist principles are both just and backed by sound science. 

For African American families interested in genealogy research, Sharon Wilkins, deputy borough historian of Manhattan, will lead live workshops titled “Uncovering African American Family Histories” on Tuesday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. and Wednesday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. on the Queens Memory Facebook page. Participants will learn how to get started on their family research, keep their information organized, and ways to make use of many local resources available to genealogists, including libraries, cemeteries, archives and websites such as Ancestry.

Multiple QPL locations will be offering Black History Month to-go crafts. The library will also honor the occasion with a number of virtual concerts, including a Haitian music performance and blues and gospel recital, film screenings and story times.

Additionally, QPL librarians have curated a list of books by African American authors representing different genres, from history to fiction, and from classics to the newest releases. Customers can also get familiar with health and wellness resources and learn about trailblazers in the Black community who left a mark advancing medicine, science and our society’s well-being.

To learn more about other Black History Month events and activities, click here.

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