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Black Health and Healing 24-Hour Virtual Summit

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Black Health and Healing 24-Hour Virtual Summit

Queens Public Library

Wellness, Safety and Sustainability | 2021 | Honorable Mention

Innovation Summary

QPL and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association won a grant to produce a nationwide summit in March 2021 to address the racial health disparities in Black communities laid bare by COVID-19. The summit focused on mental health, COVID-19 vaccines and Black men’s health, changing behaviors and self care.

Problem Statement

NYC’s predominantly Black neighborhoods in Queens saw higher rates of infections, hospitalizations, adverse outcomes during the pandemic and lower vaccination rates. Structural racism and distrust in medical institutions fuel the disparities. Because of their reach, public libraries are uniquely primed to address public health in marginalized communities with limited health literacy, and to partner with public health organizations to focus on strengthening public health systems and health.


The summit was the library’s first-ever national event, enabled by the widespread use of web-based video conferencing. An American Sign Language interpreter was hired for the live event, and a website for the summit was created. Outreach entailed social media, Google ads, print and e-newspapers ads and emails to local organizations and church groups. The summit was promoted among QPL and BCALA’s professional networks. Four of the overnight programs were prerecorded.


The event drew 2567 people who registered for the summit. During the 24-hour live broadcast of the summit, there were a total of 7906 live views and an additional 101,385 views of “Race, Culture and Hip Hop with Amanda Seales and Dr. Chris Emdin” on actress and civil rights activist Amanda Seales’ Instagram. The five most popular talks were the “Barbershop Talk” at 732 live views, “Careers in Healthcare panel” at 698 live views and “Diabetes Health Equity Now” at 677 live views. More stats available.