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What They’re Reading: Black Girl Health Foundation Executive Director Porcha Johnson

Saturday January 8th, 2022

Porcha Johnson was deep into her work as founder of Black Girl Health, offering online services to help Black women and girls live healthierPorcha Johnson lifestyles. Then, BGH founded its nonprofit outreach arm Black Girl Health Foundation, and Johnson led the development of Minds Matter, a program focusing on the tools for mental health.

Libraries were the perfect fit for Minds Matter, and Dauphin County Library System was the first to offer the programming that is now in its third year.

“The biggest thing I learned is that there’s a need,” Johnson said of that first program in 2020.

“It’s not just isolated to Dauphin County. Libraries across the country are trying to connect better with their communities,’’ she said. “Maybe libraries aren’t the first thing you think about as a place that’s going to know about mental health. We need to bridge that gap, and that’s what I hope we’re doing – bridging that gap and letting library constituents know that this is a place where they can get information.”

Why does reading matter? Books are kind of getting away from us, but they need to be a bigger part of the lives of the younger generation. Reading is fundamental. For people who read more, I think it helps with longevity. My husband’s great-grandmother is in her 90s, and she reads every day. Nurturing the mind starts when you’re young. I read with my son. He’s a very, very smart boy. He has lots of favorite books. He loves “Paw Patrol,” and wild animal books. He’s definitely full of books.

What are you reading? I’m reading “Ancient Remedies,” by Dr. Josh Axe (available soon at The Library). It’s all about Chinese medicine to heal your body versus how pharmaceutical medicines are making your body deficient of vitamins and minerals and are doing more harm than good. Just as I am, Cicely TysonThose are the types of books I read. I also read “Just As I Am,” by Cicely Tyson. She’s an amazing woman. She was a big health fanatic. She passed away at 96 years old and looked absolutely amazing. I definitely see myself in her.

What does The Library mean to the women and girls you serve? It’s a safe place to have peace of mind. Reading is mental healing. It’s freeing your mind from all the outside stuff going on in your life. It’s where you can learn to be a better you, to escape the pain you may be going through and the problems. There are so many things in reading that let you dream about what you can be and what you can do. That’s why it’s really important to African American women and young children.

Christina Lauver
Marketing & Public Relations Manager

The above piece represents the views of the author and is meant to inspire dialogue and increase understanding and a sense of community. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of The Library. Members are welcome to comment below or contact us privately by using our online contact form >