Press Release: The Black Health And Healing Virtual Summit

For Immediate Release

January 15, 2021

Contact: Brenda Perkins

Secretary, Black Caucus of the American Library Association

[email protected]

Black Caucus of the American Library Association

Free Registration Opens for Groundbreaking Event: The Black Health And Healing Virtual Summit

Queens Public Library & the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Present a Free Virtual Event, Dedicated to Discussing and Improving the Health and Well-Being of the Black Community. Click here to Register

Registration is now open for the inaugural Black Health and Healing Virtual Summit. This event aims to provide inspiration, support, and knowledge to help attendees take control of their health. Queens Public Library (QPL), together with the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), present this groundbreaking virtual event. Over the course of 24 hours, starting on February 5th at 8am, participants can join virtual panels, informative lectures and interactive workshops.

Nichelle M. Hayes, Vice President of BCALA explains why this event is so necessary. “Health and Healing are critical to everyone but especially for the Black community due to racism and discrepancies in health care. The stress of racism also has an impact on the Black community. Self-empowerment and support are key.”

The roster of speakers is nothing short of extraordinary. The event will feature top experts in the fields of Medicine and Science, as well as notable entertainers, musicians, and athletes. Presenters will be delving into a plethora of health and wellness issues faced by the Black community. Shauntee Burns-Simpson, President of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association shares, “2020 has been a challenging time, especially for Black and Brown communities. This summit will offer resources that can help educate, transform, and activate healthier practices for the mind, body, and soul.” Some of the many topics covered include mental health, parenting, health equity, contemporary civil rights, racism, and COVID-19.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Kizzmekia S. Corbett, PhD., is one of the leading scientists at the forefront of coronavirus vaccine development. Dr. Corbett will discuss the COVID-19 vaccine in the context of medical mistrust and historical abuses and more in the session, Health Equity and the COVID-19 Vaccine. “The COVID-19 pandemic has not only disproportionately affected Black Americans with respect to infection and death rates, but it has also brought into sharp focus the inequities and disparities in the U.S. healthcare system,” said Queens Public Library President and CEO Dennis M. Walcott. “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.”

Additional keynote speakers include Patrick “Blake” Leeper, eight-time Paralympic Games Medalist, World and American Record Holder. Mr. Leeper kicks off the summit with, Take the LEEP: Breaking Barriers, he’ll discuss overcoming obstacles, preparing for success and achieving your dreams. Followed by Dr. M. Jocelyn Elders, the 15th US Surgeon General. This brilliant pediatrician will shed light on the topic, “Raising Black Children.”

Next, we have beatboxing legend Doug E. Fresh, joined by hip-hop pioneer DJ Ralph McDaniels and Dr. Olajide Williams. They will host “Friday Night Live: Building Health Equity Through the Transformative Power of Music.” At this exciting event, you’ll get an inside glimpse into how music has influenced their lives, as well as their thoughts on the connection between health, music, race and culture. Actress, singer, rapper, songwriter, and comedian Amanda Seales will be the evening keynote speaker, sharing insight on race, culture, hip-hop, and more in her talk. She’ll be joined by Chris Emdin, Associate Director, Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Columbia University, who will serve as a moderator. Plus, Renee Montgomery, WNBA star and activist, spearheads a discussion on racial equity and social justice in “The Moment.”

All events throughout the 24 hours will be covering four main categories:

  • “Networking,” attendees will be able to engage and interact with other attendees, speakers and guests in the virtual networking hall.
  • “Health Connections for Mind and Body,” participants will learn how to connect with their health community.
  • “Activating Your Health Through Transformative Practices,” will get folks up and moving and learning how to practice self-care. Registrants can choose which events they’d like to take part in.
  • “Health Education,” this will focus on common health issues with individuals or within communities, and how to make improvements on both fronts.

Find the full lineup of speakers and events at

Although the event will focus on health and wellness in the Black community, all races and ethnicities are welcome to attend. This summit is for anyone looking to educate themselves on health and socio-cultural issues, to improve their lives and the lives of those around them. While the knowledge you’ll take from it is invaluable, the event is completely free. “We are excited to work with QPL and BCALA in the production of this online event through enabling technologies that prioritizes a seamless experience for everyone,” says Zakia Ringgold of Virtual Experience Design Agency. “This team has worked so hard to gather leading experts and critical topics important to the black community, we start with a conference and move towards an online community.”

Registration is available online at and click the “Register” tab, or go directly at

About Queens Public Library

Queens Public Library is one of the largest and busiest public library systems in the United States, dedicated to serving the most ethnically and culturally diverse area in the country. An independent, non-profit organization founded in 1896, Queens Public Library offers free access to a collection of more than 5 million books and other materials in multiple languages, technology and digital resources, and more than 87,500 educational, cultural and civic programs a year. It consists of 66 locations, including branch libraries, a Central Library, seven adult learning centers, a technology lab, one universal pre-kindergartens, and two teen centers.

About the Black Caucus of the American Library Association

The Black Caucus of the American Library Association serves as an advocate for the development, promotion, and improvement of library services and resources to the nation’s African American community; and provides leadership for the recruitment and professional development of African American librarians.

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