📚 Topic Guide: Activism and Anti-Racism Education

Resources for Activism and Anti-Racism Education

This list of links and ideas emerged from our Activism and Anti-Racism community call on June 10th. Our group focused on practical strategies that public-facing organizations can take to support conversations around these topics in their community. If you have more resources or strategies to share, please comment them below and we’ll edit this list!

For a printable version of this list or the meeting agenda, check this document.


Group Brainstorm

Q: What roles or actions can public institutions take to support activism and anti-racism education?
:point_right: See responses or add more in AnswerGarden (list view)

Organizations’ Strategies for Action:

  • Pursuing staff training: de-escalation to limit need to limit state authority presence in facilities, trauma-informed service, exploring how implicit bias has affected regulations/rules and patron use, removing latent racism, classicism (Miami)
  • Pushing to bring social workers into the library including having a local field instructor run learning circles (Miami)
  • Anti-Racism book discussion group for library staff (Los Angeles)
  • Human Libraries: patrons can book a 20min conversation with individuals/volunteers who have stories to share and are comfortable speaking/answering questions about their experiences (Ottawa)
  • Responding to long wait times and book hold lists by boosting awareness of always-available digital titles (Ottawa) and seeking more licenses for e/audio books (Los Angeles)
  • Develop facilitator support for facilitating anti-racist curriculum (Multnomah)
  • Think about supporting better community engagement with civic processes (such as navigating community action around setting police budget) (Charlotte)
  • Manage transition from looking after self, to colleagues, to community (St. Paul)
  • Ensuring the mental health of colleagues; running internal programming to help colleagues feel better prepared/supported (Los Angeles)
  • Investigate library names and statues and rename/tear down that which needs to be removed (UK)
  • Supporting conversations about current events in learning circles across a variety of topics (Charlotte)

Resources/courses for learning circles:

Informational Resources:

  • Antiracist Allyship Starter Pack
    Extensive list of resources (articles, books, PDFs, podcasts, film/video, resources for teachers, reading guides) for reference or sharing

  • Racial Equity Toolkit
    Guide published by the Government Alliance on Race and Equity, a national network of government working to achieve racial equity and advance opportunities for all.

  • Black Lives Matter Solidarity: Engagement Guide
    This document was developed to provide team members with suggestions for how they can support the fight to protect Black lives against police violence and systemic racism during a dedicated day of action.

  • Circle of Trust Approach
    The Circle of Trust approach is distinguished by principles and practices intended to create a process of shared exploration—in retreats, programs and other settings—where people can find safe space to nurture personal and professional integrity and the courage to act on it.

  • Schomburg Center Black Liberation Reading List
    In response to the uprisings across the globe demanding justice for Black lives, the Schomburg Center has created a Black Liberation Reading List. The 95 titles on the list represent books they turn to regularly as activists, students, archivists, and curators, with a particular focus on books by Black authors and those whose papers they steward.

Articles & Readings:

Questions for prioritizing equity in digital inclusion:

(via Technology and Innovation Department of the City of Long Beach, CA)

  • Burdens and Benefits: Who would benefit or be burdened by this proposal? Would low-income households or communities of color experience a disproportionate burden?
  • Understanding Data: What do the various data tell us about who is affected? Specifically, look at race, income, languages spoken, ability, gender, and neighborhood.
  • Community Engagement: How do we engage those who are not often represented in decision-making or those most impacted by inequities? Do we engage people early enough in the process to have an impact?
  • Decision Making: Who sits at the decision-making table? Who has the power to invite or participate? Whose interests are represented?
  • Implementation: How can we advance equity through the goals of a policy or program?
  • Unintended Consequences: What unintended consequences might be produced by the program or policy?
  • Accountability and Communication: How will we be accountable to, and communicate with, the community throughout implementation?
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One thing that I got out of talking with Amy and Nico in our breakout session was that while racism is an issue globally, how it manifests can differ greatly from one society to the next. For example, in the U.S., bias against people of color leads them to experience increased rates of harassment, brutality, and murder by police. Meanwhile, in many lower income countries, people may suffer deleterious effects from the remnants of imperialism and the ongoing effects of economic colonialism.

Priscilla from Los Angeles Public Library shared two lesson plans that they’re using to introduce common terms in this month’s news to their ESL patrons:

Lesson Plan 1
Concepts covered: Enough is enough, Politically-motivated, protest vs. demonstration, riot, civil unrest, social unrest, uprising, insurrection, rebellion, photo-op, opportunist, miss/blow/take an opportunity

Lesson Plan 2
Concepts covered: a few bad apples, paint with the same/broad brush, systemic change, defund the police

Here are a few more documents and resources I’ve come across in the last week. These are not adaptable curriculum, but they provide great space for self-learning and explanations of complex topics that may be helpful as you introduce them to patrons and learners:

Community Knowledge Share
Created by online community managers, this extensive Q&A resource collects best practices for connecting communities and maintaining participants’ dignity in difficult conversations. While this document is structured around digital communities, much of the advice is applicable to in-person meetings and may be helpful while considering how to introduce and facilitate these topics.

AIGA Anti-Racism, Equity, and Inclusion Resources Archive
An extensive list of books, articles, professional resources, initiatives, reading lists, and additional resource collections assembled by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA)'s Design Educators Community (DEC) Steering Committee and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force.

Dignity and Confronting Racism: How to have necessary, hard conversations
This resource defines Dignity and why it’s important as a framework for navigating conflict while preserving others’ senses of worth and value. It covers how to avoid weaponizing shame to depersonalize conflict and explores skills to have hard conversations, particularly around the following mindsets:

  • “I can’t have a constructive conversation with people I really disagree with because they make me angry, and I’m just immediately emotional. So what’s the point?”
  • “I avoid having these conversations altogether with people I love because I’m afraid of alienating them, losing relationships, and causing harm.”

Hats off to Ulonda and her colleagues at Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina for creating and sharing these excellent facilitator guides for two anti-racism learning circles they’ve developed in the last two months:

The 1619 Project

Learning Material & P2PU Course Library Link
Facilitator Guide (.docx)

21 Day Racial Equity and Social Justice Challenge

Learning Material & P2PU Course Library Link
Facilitator Guide (.docx)

Additionally, this is a wonderful primer for anyone interested in facilitating conversations in these topics:

How To Talk About Race

A 1hr webinar and series of resources (including facilitator guides and tips and a reading list) on facilitating productive conversations around race. (Find it under the 2019 list.)

Kitsap Regional Library in Washington is hosting Anti-Racism learning circles and has publicly shared their themed meeting agendas! This is a great list complete with resources, discussion prompts, and follow-up resources: https://www.krl.org/antiracismresources

Current meeting themes (as of 12/30) are:

  • What is anti-racism?
  • Acknowledging Our Biases
  • Exploring (Micro)aggressions
  • Intersectionality
  • Talking to Family & Friends
  • White Culture
  • The Wealth Gap
  • Policing
  • Racial Injustice in the News
  • Anti-Racism Post-Election
  • Practical Allyship