NEWS – HLABC Anti-Racism Statement

by | 30 July 2020

HLABC stands in solidarity with Black communities in Canada and the United States who have experienced and continue to experience the effects of systemic racism and police brutality. We oppose anti-black racism, and we stand with Black Lives Matter. 

We also oppose anti-Indigenous racism and stand with the Indigenous communities in Canada, the United States, and around the world who also experience systemic racism under the colonial systems of power that settlers have built.

We endorse the following previously released statements:

Police brutality is only one aspect of systemic racism. Racism also affects the treatment of black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) in our health care systems, leading to poorer health outcomes such as adverse birth outcomes (Alhusen, Bower, Epstein, & Sharps, 2016) and compromised communication with health care providers (Ben, Cormack, Harris, & Paradies, 2017). In our position as an organization which participates in the continuing education of our members, who themselves are positioned to provide information to members of the health care community, HLABC will participate in actively combating racism in our work. This will be an ongoing and iterative process. For now, the following actions will be taken by the Board:

  • Plan a Continuing Education event for our members this year regarding systemic racism and health librarianship. 
  • Commit to personal education around racial justice; all executive members have committed to attending at least one education session around systemic racism and librarianship in the next month. 
  • Co-presenting Mountain Pacific Health Science Library Conference, which will be offering content around racial justice, including both anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism.

We also encourage our members to take part in the following actions: 

  • Take the actions as recommended by CAPAL-ACBES (used with permission):
    • Take concrete actions to displace inherent racism in our institutions and practices;
    • To listen unequivocally to our colleagues from affected and oppressed communities;
    • Donate to and support bail funds and organizations that counter colonialism and anti-Black racism, and to support local Black businesses;
    • Embrace and promote critical reflection through critical pedagogy at our places of work;
    • Examine and revise collections, catalogues, materials, instruction, and reference services to ensure we do not promote false neutrality;
    • Advocate for active diversity in recruitment, retention, and promotion; and,
    • Work with our institutions and libraries to disrupt inherent structural racism in our hiring practices, retention efforts, and student outreach activities.
  • Contribute learning opportunities and resources in listserv
  • Contribute personal learning recaps and projects undertaken in Key Words under ‘Field Notes’ 
  • Possible readings to begin with:

We recognize that the work of dismantling racist structures must be undertaken by those that benefit from those structures. We will not burden BIPOC members with this additional work, but will welcome and lift up BIPOC voices within our organization. We welcome further suggestions from our members and will work hard to fulfil our pledge to combat racism in our work. 


  1. Alhusen, J.L., Bower, K.M., Epstein, E. and Sharps, P. (2016), Racial Discrimination and Adverse Birth Outcomes: An Integrative Review. Journal of Midwifery & Women’s Health, 61: 707-720. 
  2. Ben J, Cormack D, Harris R, and Paradies Y (2017) Racism and health service utilisation: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLOS ONE 12(12): e0189900.

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