The mission of the library, first and foremost, is to offer respect, space and opportunity to all. We believe everyone deserves access to information and a place to learn and grow.
In keeping with that mission, we have created a list of resources to aid in learning about the history of our nation and the role we must all play in ending an oppressive system of racism and violence against people of color. These resources are meant to promote the voices of people who experience pain and suffering caused by injustice, and to educate those who wish to learn and become advocates for change.
This list might feel overwhelming. It is long because we wanted to make sure to offer a wide range of perspectives and options for learning. We are all on a journey to becoming anti-racist, and it’s our hope that you will find these resources challenging and enlightening.
Learn: Informational Websites and Articles
Boston University convenes researchers and practitioners to figure out novel and practical ways to understand, explain and solve seemingly intractable problems of racial inequity and injustice.
Families and teachers everywhere trust Common Sense for expert reviews, objective advice, helpful tools, and so much more, and now they have collated resources for discussing race and racism.
An evolving open-source guide to help you become a more thoughtful and effective ally.
Living Cities harnesses the collective power of philanthropy, financial institutions and local governments to close racial income and wealth gaps in American cities, and offers resources that support racial equity and inclusion, entrepreneurs of color, understanding privilege, and effective community engagement.
Race Forward brings systemic analysis and an innovative approach to complex race issues to help communities, organizations, and sectors take effective action toward racial equity and catalyze movement building for racial justice and build strategies to advance racial justice in policies, institutions, and culture. Their network, Colorlines, is a daily news site where race matters, and their Tools provide guidance in identifying and addressing inequities in communities and organizations.
This process of understanding and talking about race begins by learning where you are on your own journey. The starting point is different for each and every individual. It is informed by how you see yourself and how you’re seen by others. Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History & Culture hosts resources, tools and news articles for educators, parents and individuals to begin their journey.
A curated list of Black Lives Matter content intended to provided continuously updated content on the social justice movement, events and resources from around the world.
Through film and dialogue, World Trust Educational Services ignites courage and expands capacity to create a world free from racism. The Resource Center provides links to research and training opportunities.
The Case for Reparations by Ta-Nehisi Coates
In this essay, journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates traces how slavery, segregation and discriminatory racial policies contribute to ongoing and systemic economic and racial disparities in America.
The Red Record: Tabulated Statistics and Alleged Causes of Lynching in the United States and Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases by Ida B. Wells-Barnett
In these two pamphlets, Wells exposes the pervasive use of lynching and white mob violence against African American men and women. She discredits the myths used by white mobs to justify the killing of African Americans and exposes Northern and international audiences to the growing racial violence and terror perpetrated against Black people in the South in the years following the Civil War.
The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action by Audre Lorde
This essay, written by poet, activist and librarian Audre Lorde, urges us to speak out when we witness injustice.
- The Brown Book Shelf
- KDL Recommendations
- Antiracism: A Starter Booklist from Library Journal
- Reading for Change
- Understanding and Dismantling Racism: A Booklist for White Readers
- We Are LIT Multicultural Bookshop
We Are LIT Grand Rapids is a Black-owned, independent, multicultural bookshop offering new, diverse books across all genres.
13th, directed by Ava DuVernay
Ava DuVernay’s examination of the US prison system looks at how the country’s history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America.
Led by Kwame Alexander, Jacqueline Woodson, and Jason Reynolds, the Rally featured inspiring words, music, and numerous calls to action in support of equity and justice.
Dr. Phillip Atiba Goff shares his work at the Center for Policing Equity, an organization that helps police departments diagnose and track racial gaps in policing in order to eliminate them. Learn more about their data-driven approach -- and how you can get involved with the work that still needs to be done.
The founders of the Black Lives Matters movement share a discussion about race and inequality across the world, and what they have learned about leadership and providing hope and inspiration in the face of painful realities.
Professor Megan Ming Francis traces the roots of our modern racial climate to its core causes, debunking common misconceptions and fix-all cures for a complex social problem.
PBS turns to grassroots voices from around the country and hosts roundtable conversations of thought leaders, newsmakers and experts.
Heather C. McGhee shares startling insights into how racism fuels bad policymaking and drains our economic potential -- and offers a crucial rethink on what we can do to create a more prosperous nation for all.
Systemic racism affects every area of life in the US. From incarceration rates to predatory loans, and trying to solve these problems requires changes in major parts of our system. Here's a closer look at what systemic racism is, and how we can solve it.
In this talk, cultural innovator Vernā Myers shares some hard truths about racial injustices, (including the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO), and offers us three ways we can uncover our biases, overcome our discomfort and make a difference in the lives of black men and our society as a whole.
Brené with Ibram X. Kendi on How to Be an Antiracist from Unlocking Us
Do Violent Protests Work? from Factually
Here, Again from This American Life
Mass Incarceration from Factually
We Are in the Future from This American Life
Why the Black Lives Matter Protests Are Different from Factually
In general, take a look at your social media feeds - are most of the faces you see white? If so, find some activists, creators and organizations of color to follow so you can learn more about their experience through their voices.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Antiracism Center: Twitter | Facebook
- Attorney Ben Crump: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Ava DuVernay: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Audre Lorde Project: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Black Women’s Blueprint: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Brittany Packnett Cunningham: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Charles M. Blow: Twitter | Facebook
- Color of Change: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Colorlines: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- The Conscious Kid: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Equal Justice Initiative (EJI): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Families Belong Together: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Franchesca Ramsey: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Gathering for Justice: Twitter | Instagram
- GRABB Local: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- The Great Unlearn: Instagram
- Ibram X. Kendi: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Ijeoma Oluo: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Indian Country Today
- Jason Reynolds: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Justice League NYC: Twitter | Instagram
- The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Luvvie Ajayi: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- MPowerChange: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Muslim Girl: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- NAACP: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- National Domestic Workers Alliance: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Rachel Cargle: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- RAICES: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- Resmaa Menakem: Twitter | Facebook
- The Root
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ): Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- SisterSong: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
- United We Dream: Twitter | Instagram | Facebook
Get Involved: Local Organizations
A faith-based anti-racism organization that provides a blog, training tools and partnerships to help people and organizations respond to the racial brokenness and systemic injustice in our world so that people are no longer conditioned by a racialized society, but grounded in truth and all are equipped to flourish.
- 300 Monroe Ave NW Suite 840, Grand Rapids MI 49503
The city of Grand Rapids provides racial equity tools through GARE to proactively work to advance racial equity, focusing on eliminating inequities and increasing success for all. The Office of Equity and Engagement promotes Community, Workforce and Supplier Diversity for employees and residents, and makes sure the City complies with civil rights laws.
- 250 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
- (616) 771-0300
The Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce provides an opportunity to start a dialogue bringing racism to the forefront of discussions and examining it as both a personal and societal problem.
- 745 Eastern Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
It is the vision of the Urban League to be The Leader - and preeminent agency in West Michigan - effectively utilizing diverse and abundant resources to redress racial injustice and promote racial equality. Their mission is defined as working to provide the means to empower African Americans and other minorities to achieve economic self-reliance, parity and civil rights.
- 300 Monroe Ave NW, Grand Rapids MI 49503
The Kent County DEI and Cultural Insight Council provide Community Resources for a culturally diverse population. Their mission is to advance a culture that demonstrates diversity, equity and inclusion in leadership, organizational culture, and accountability in Kent County.
Racial equity and inclusion are part of the MLPP core. All work is done through a racial equity lens, recognizing that until we remove the racist barriers that have been built over time, the people of Michigan cannot thrive. MLPP provides tools for exploring and adapting policy in personal and organizational settings.
- 1530 Madison Avenue SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49507
The Greater Grand Rapids NAACP is dedicated to eradicating racial discrimination and building a stronger society in which all individuals have equal rights.
For questions, concerns or suggestions to add to this list, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.