Below are the books, articles and videos that were involved in our Book Club discussions for 2020

June

Our session is set for this Thursday, June 18 at 6:00 p.m. and for June we will be celebrating Pride Month and we will be reading Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Riviera.

Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff.

Along with our discussion of this lively story, we will be reviewing Ericka Hart’s speech “Who Are You Here For” from the 2017 Women’s March in Philadelphia, and following up with a discussion of the history of Pride, and why Trans lives matter, and specifically why Black Trans lives matter.

The following are links to Ericka’s speech and a podcast episode that we believe will aid the discussion.

May

For May we focused on the four pieces below and discussing how COVID-19 is affecting populations along racial, ethnic, and gender lines.

The Black Plague Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Why COVID-19 Hits Black America Hardest Slate’sWhat Next

Native Americans Fight Multiple COVID-19 Crises N. Jamiyla Chisholm

When xenophobia spreads like a virus NPR’s Codeswitch

April

Wasted Pretty, by Jamie Beth Cohen

Wasted Pretty is a beautiful, touching novel that I wish I had when I was all of the things Alice Burton was: a fierce, strong teenager learning how to navigate her changing body, developing heart, and powerful mind.” –Mayim Bialik, Big Bang Theory, Blossom, and founder of Grok Nation

During junior year of high school, star student and stellar lacrosse player Alice Burton grew four inches, and, thanks to her mom’s experimental health food products, shed twenty pounds. Alice has mixed feelings about her surprising transformation.

On the plus side: Chris Thompson, the hot college guy she has a crush on, talks to her.

On the minus side: Her dad’s creepy friend, professional athlete Karl Bell, lets his eyes, and his hugs, linger too long.

After a disturbing encounter in a dark hallway, Alice realizes the response some men have to her new body isn’t just disgusting, it’s dangerous. Her life is further complicated by her parents’ crumbling finances and the family’s entanglement with Karl.

Set in Pittsburgh in 1992, Wasted Pretty is about a girl determined to protect her body, her future, and her heart.

Plus – here are some other articles that are good for discussions:

The true story that inspired parts of WASTED PRETTY: http://www.ozy.com/true-story/i-was-sexually-harassed-by-a-baseball-star-when-i-was-16/80941

(And this is me telling that story live: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhfzBOMX50M)

A Letter To My Teenage Self: https://www.storytimeteen.com/post/letter-to-my-teen-self-jamie-beth-cohen

The story of my sexual assault as a child and how it shapes my parenting: https://motherwellmag.com/2017/10/27/how-to-protect-our-children-from-victim-blaming/

March

This is a 2018 non-fiction book written by Robin DiAngelo.

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these reactions maintain racial inequality.

In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book” (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to ‘bad people’ (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.