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Connecting Communities Digital Initiative Advisory Board

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We are thrilled to announce the members of the first advisory board for the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative, part of the Of the People: Widening the Path program. Together and separately, this group has rich and deep experience using digital tools and approaches in libraries, archives and other sites of cultural memory to center the lives, experiences and perspectives of communities of color.

Over the coming year, the Connecting Communities Digital Initiative will sponsor digital projects and partnerships aimed at amplifying the stories of Black, Indigenous, Hispanic, Asian American/Pacific Islander and other communities of color whose stories have too often been undertold in our nation’s history and in the Library’s collections. Board members will contribute their expertise, advice and lessons learned from similar public and private efforts to deepen relationships with diverse communities.

The first round of annual grants in this four-year program will be announced by the Library and open for applications later this month.

Keep an eye on the blog for more from each of our esteemed CCDI Advisory Board Members!

Elizabeth Méndez Berry is vice president and executive editor of One World, an imprint of Penguin Random House in New York. Before joining One World, she worked in social justice philanthropy, where she invested in the arts, journalism and support for freedom of speech in roles at the Ford Foundation, the Surdna Foundation and the Nathan Cummings Foundation. She co-founded several philanthropic initiatives, including Critical Minded, which supports cultural critics of color, and the Unicorn Fund, which offers resources to artists and others who have been targeted for speaking out. In addition to her work in philanthropy, she is an award-winning writer and editor who writes about culture, gender, criminal justice and politics. Elizabeth serves on the boards of A Long Walk Home in Chicago and Critical Minded and is part of the brain trust of Unlock Her Potential.

André Brock is an associate professor of media studies at Georgia Tech.  He writes on Western technoculture, Black technoculture, and digital media.  His scholarship examines Black and white representations in social media, videogames,  weblogs and other digital media.  He has also published influential research on digital research methods. His award-winning book, titled Distributed Blackness: African American Cybercultures, theorizes Black everyday lives mediated by networked technologies.

Brian Carpenter is the curator of Indigenous materials at the American Philosophical Society (APS) Library & Museum. An archivist by training, he began working at the APS in 2008 on a six-year project to digitize and catalog all of the library’s 3000+ hours of audio recordings of Indigenous languages of the Americas. He has worked with over 80 Native communities throughout North America to enhance their access to archival materials at the APS and receive and implement their guidance on ways to improve the representation and uses of the collections.

Gabrielle Foreman is the founding faculty director of the Colored Conventions Project ( and professor of English, African American Studies, and history at Penn State where she holds the Paterno Family Chair of Liberal Arts. With Shirley Moody-Turner, she is also founding co-director of the Center for Digital Black Research/#DigBlk, a cross-institutional team of 30+ graduate student leaders, librarians, post-docs, visiting faculty, undergraduate researchers, and arts and community partners working together to bring to digital life the overlooked and buried histories of nineteenth-century Black organizing. Both #DigBlk and the 3.1 Mellon Just Transformations Grant she co-PIs are committed to enacting pipeline-building visions that build just and sustainable communities within and beyond the Academy. Gabrielle is most energized by working collaboratively to extend or preserve the legacy of organizing that is our inheritance. She is author of five books and editions which include most recently, The Colored Conventions Movement: Black Organizing in the Nineteenth Century,and Praise Songs for Dave the Potter: Art and Poetry for David Drake (forthcoming, 2022). In 2022, she’ll be the Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the American Antiquarian Society.

Jennifer A. Ferretti (she/her/hers) is an artist, information professional and the Digital Library Federation senior program officer at the Council on Library and Information Resources. She is a first-generation US-born Latina/Mestiza whose information work is guided by critical praxis, not neutrality. She is interested in non-Western forms of knowledge making and sharing, and how these knowledges can be used within digital library technology to better serve historically excluded communities. She is also the founder and principal of We Here™️ LLC and Creative Director of up//root: a we here publication. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.

Samip Mallick is the cofounder and executive director of the South Asian American Digital Archive, guiding the organization from its founding in 2008 to today. Working at the intersection of technology and storytelling, Mallick has degrees in library and information sciences and computer science and has done graduate training in history. He previously worked in the Southern Asia collection at the University of Chicago Library and for the International Migration and South Asia Programs at the Social Science Research Council. Mallick also served as an archival consultant for the Ford Foundation’s “Reclaiming the Border Narrative” initiative.

Bari Talley is the tribal library coordinator for the Karuk Tribe, including the Sípnuuk (storage basket) digital repository in an effort to manage, share and enhance understanding of Karuk history, language, traditions, natural resource management and living culture. Karuk Tribal Member Talley has worked collaboratively with multiple tribal and non-tribal individuals, NGOs, and governmental departments and agencies build the library resources, including broadband, for her remote community located on the Klamath River in the mountains of northern California. She participated on the Karuk Team for repatriation and documentation projects related to the Native American Graves Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), since 2013, at the Autry National Center, the Peabody Museum of Archaeology & Ethnology and at the Field Museum.

In addition to her B.A. from The Evergreen State College, Olympia Washington, she received a Certificate of Competency for a year of education at the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation at Washington State University as part of the first Tribal Stewardship Cohort: Digital Heritage Management, Archiving and Mukurtu CMS Training. Talley served on local, regional and national committees dedicated to preserving and improving access to indigenous culture, language and educational opportunities, including the StoryCorps Tribal Libraries Advisory Committee, California Revealed Advisory Committee. She is honored and excited to be on this important initiative

Janet Tom was a recipient of the I Love My Librarian Award in 2020. This national award, nominated by community members, honors ten librarians across the country who have played an integral role in transforming lives and communities through their programs and outreach activities.

Janet created the innovative Death and Dying Series at the San Francisco Public Library. The eight programs brought together experts to discuss faith traditions, rituals and resources, alternative burial rites and more. She has also partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association to bring their annual Chinese Alzheimer’s Forum to Chinese-language speakers in San Francisco. Programs in her healthy living series included vegan cooking, foraging mushrooms, gut health and the microbiome, medical cannabis, fitness and flexibility for seniors, intergenerational housing communities and more. The programs brought speakers and attendees together to create ongoing community dialogue on wellness and healthy aging.

Janet received her BA in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and her MA in Library and Information Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She has worked at Queens Public Library in New York; Rosenberg Library, City College of San Francisco and San Francisco Public Library for over twenty years

Jewon Woo teaches African American, American, and women’s literatures, and humanities at Lorain County Community College, Ohio. She has designed and taught community-based (service) learning courses, and been involved in the Cleveland Humanities Collaborative. Her essays appeared in American Periodicals, American Studies, Research on Diversity in Youth Literature and The Colored Conventions Movement. She currently works on a digital project about the Black press in 19th-century Ohio.


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