LONG BEACH PUBLIC LIBRARY FOUNDATION, AFRICAN AMERICAN HERITAGE SOCIETY OF LONG BEACH, AND FAITH LEADERS LAUNCH FUND FOR RACE, EQUITY, AND JUSTICE RESOURCES AT THE LONG BEACH PUBLIC LIBRARY
LONG BEACH, California, June 24, 2020 – The Long Beach Public Library Foundation, in partnership with the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach (AAHS-LB) and local faith leaders, has launched a fund for materials and programs related to race, equity, and justice at the Long Beach Public Library.
As an extension of the Library’s African American Resource Collection, supported and curated by AAHS-LB, this fund will support the purchase of new materials including books, eBooks, and audiobooks that promote the voices, narratives, and histories of African Americans. The fund will also support similarly-themed events and activities hosted by the Library. Programs and materials will also educate the public on issues such as anti-Black racism, white privilege, white supremacy, mass incarceration, other forms of institutional racism, and human rights issues that have plagued our society.
“The African American Heritage Society of Long Beach is proud to partner with the Long Beach Public Library Foundation to launch the fund for race, equity, and justice resources at the Library,” said Nicole Ballard, President of AAHS-LB. “Since 1619, people of African descent have endured devastating physiological, psychological, and socio-economic trauma from systemic racism and oppression in all of its forms. I believe that public acknowledgment of these critical issues, combined with resources and community support, will yield positive, meaningful changes. Therefore, we remain dedicated to preserving and expanding public awareness of the rich history and culture of Africans and African Americans through literacy and community programming.”
“Because of this effort, I am pleased that we are able to provide more resources on the issues of systemic oppression of Black people and the social injustices that people of color encounter on a daily basis,” said Glenda Williams, Director of Library Services for the Long Beach Public Library.
“As an organization that has long advocated for equity in education and literacy, the Long Beach Public Library Foundation board and staff wholeheartedly agree Black lives matter. When Reverends Melinda Teter Dodge and Katy Hyman approached us on behalf of a faith community looking to take action, we agreed our role in ending systematic racism would be to ensure anti-racist education was widely available to all who were committed to learning,” said Sharon Weissman, President of the Long Beach Public Library Foundation. “Funding resources to educate the public on white privilege, racism, and African American heritage is a critical component to finding equity for all members of the Long Beach community,”
This fund was conceived when local faith leaders, Reverend Teter Dodge and Reverend Hyman, contacted the Library Foundation to form a collaboration in support of broad community access to anti-racist educational resources through the Long Beach Public Library system.
“To become anti-racist, we must enact and support broad and deep systemic change, and that kind of change begins from within us. It begins—within our nation—within our states, cities, workplaces, communities, neighborhoods, home, and families. But, most of all, this change begins within our own individual hearts,” said Reverend Teter Dodge. “We must take the steps to open our hearts to our own perpetuating systemic and individual racism and white privilege as well as hear from and listen deeply to the narratives of our African American communities.”
“White Christianity has actively contributed to racist structures and policies, both in the past and the present. As a historically white congregation, we want to take responsibility for our role in this and work to dismantle white supremacy,” said Reverend Hyman. “We believe that education and activism go hand in hand, so making materials widely accessible to the Long Beach community through the LBPL is an important part of the process.”
Those interested in supporting the fund are welcome to make a tax-deductible donation of any size online at lbplfoundation.org/aarc. Supporters may also issue checks or money orders to the Long Beach Public Library Foundation at 200 W. Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802. Please indicate that the donation is for the African American Resource Center (AARC) or the Fund for Race, Equity, and Justice. Donors are also welcome to suggest anti-racist books they would like to see more widely available at the Library.
The Long Beach Public Libraries are temporarily closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Learn about library resources and services currently available including eBooks, audiobooks, research databases, weekly online programs, and the new contactless pick-up service for books and DVDs at longbeach.gov/library.
The Long Beach Public Library Foundation, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, provides support to enhance the Main Library and 11 neighborhood branches of the Long Beach Public Library and encourages literacy and education for all members of the community. LBPLfoundation.org
Since 1997, the African American Heritage Society of Long Beach (AAHS-LB) has dedicated its efforts and resources to the preservation of African and African-American history, achievement, and culture. With the establishment of the Long Beach Public Library’s African American Resource Center at Burnett Library, AAHS-LB continues to engage, educate, and empower the community through literacy, genealogy research, and public programming. www.aaheritagelb.org
Reverend Melinda Teter Dodge serves three United Methodist Churches across the city of Long Beach who are working together to lift up the voice of an all-inclusive, loving God who yearns for justice for all peoples.
Reverend Katy Hyman is a community minister at First Congregational Church of Long Beach, a liberal, progressive church, welcoming of all, and passionately committed to social justice. FCCLB is a member congregation of the United Church of Christ, located in downtown Long Beach on the corner of 3rd and Cedar