Go “Beyond the Racial Stalemate” at the 2019 ALA Annual Conference

For Immediate Release
Wed, 03/20/2019


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office



In his 2008 speech on race, titled "A More Perfect Union," then-candidate Barack Obama described a "racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years." He suggested that, if we don't do something different, "nothing will change." A decade later, we're still stuck. How do we move forward? 

Using an approach known as "racial healing," facilitators at the 2019 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference will lead participants through a process that invites story-telling, vulnerability and deep listening. The goal is to provide leaders with a tool currently used by hundreds of organizations to help uproot the flawed belief in a racial hierarchy. 

“Beyond the Racial Stalemate” will be held on Friday, June 21, 2019, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. as part of the 2019 ALA Annual Conference (June 20 to 25). Two identical sessions will be offered: 8:30 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 4 p.m. Participants should sign up for only one. 

“Beyond the Racial Stalemate” is a ticketed event, with pricing starting at $70 for ALA members. See pricing and registration instructions under the conference Ticketed Events page under “PPO (Public Programs Office)” or add Event Code “PPO3” or “PPO4” to your conference registration bundle.

Participants may register for the workshop as part of their conference registration or as a single session. For assistance with registering for the workshop, contact the ALA Public Programs Office at 312-280-5045 or publicprograms@ala.org.

This workshop is being offered as part of Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT), the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism. TRHT seeks to unearth and jettison the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs created by racism – the main one being the belief in a “hierarchy of human value.”

Racial healing circles help participants recognize our common humanity, acknowledge the truth of past wrongs, and build the authentic relationships necessary to begin transforming communities and shifting our national discourse. To learn more about the Kellogg Foundation’s Racial Healing Circle methodology, see “Restoring to Wholeness.”

ALA is one of the 100 voluntary National Partner Organizations, along with 44 scholars, that participated in the 2016 TRHT design phase. More information about the Kellogg Foundation's TRHT efforts and a downloadable copy of the TRHT Implementation Guidebook are available online at https://healourcommunities.org.

The “Beyond the Racial Stalemate” sessions are a joint offering of the ALA Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) and Public Programs Office (PPO).

About the American Library Association

The American Library Association is the oldest and largest library association in the world, with approximately 55,000 members in academic, public, school, government and special libraries. The mission of the American Library Association is to provide leadership for the development, promotion and improvement of library and information services and the profession of librarianship in order to enhance learning and ensure access to information for all.