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16th Annual Diversity Matters Book Series banner with images of various colors. MCC emblem in pink and white.

Diversity Matters Book Series

MCC’s Diversity Matters Book Series began in 2008. It consists of 4-5 books featured for discussion from September to June each year. Audience members are encouraged to read the book and join to share in a discussion with an appointed leader. It is not required to read the book to attend the discussion. Limited copies of the books are available in the MCC library.

Participation for all programs is free and open to the public.

American Like Me: Reflections of Life Between Cultures (2018) by America Ferrera

Discussion led by Katty Petak, Senior Director, Alumnae Relations, College of St. Mary

A vibrant and varied collection of first-person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures
American Ferrera has always felt wholly American, and yet, her identity is inextricably linked to her parents’ homeland and Honduran culture. Speaking Spanish at home, having Saturday-morning-salsa-dance-parties in the kitchen and eating tamales alongside apple pie at Christmas never seemed at odds with her American identity.  
In American Like Me, America invites 31 of her friends, peers and heroes to share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists and writers. However they are also immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants, indigenous people or people who otherwise grew up with deep and personal connections to more than one culture. Each struggles to establish a sense of self, find belonging and feel seen. And they call themselves American enthusiastically, reluctantly or not at all.

 


VIRTUAL DISCUSSION: BROWN BOY by Omer Aziz

Discussion led by Naushad Mostafa, International Teacher, Cadotte Lake School, Alberta, Canada

Wednesday, December 13
3-4 p.m. CST
Watch the Brown Boy discussion
 

In a tough neighborhood on the outskirts of Toronto, miles from the wealth white downtown, Omer Aziz struggles to find his place as a first-generation Pakistani Muslim boy. He fears the violence and despair of the world around him and sees a dangerous path ahead, succumbing to aimlessness, apathy and rage. In his senior year of high school, Omer quickly begins to realize that education can open up the woder world. He falls in love with books and makes his way to Queens’s University in Ontario. Aziz wrestles with the contradiction of feeling like an Other and his desire to belong to a Western world that never quite accepts him.


VIRTUAL DISCUSSION: A Most Tolerant Little Town by Rachel Louise Martin

Discussion led by Tulani Grundy-Meadows, MCC Human Relations/Political Science Faculty

Thursday, January 4, 2024
10-11 a.m. CST
Click here to register for Virtual Discussion: A Most Tolerant Little Town by Rachel Louise Martin on Zoom
 

Rachel Martin volunteered with a Southern oral history project, was sent to a small town in Tennessee, where locals wanted to build a museum to commemorate the events of Sept. 1956, when Clinton High School became the first school in the former Confederacy to undergo court-mandated desegregation. She finds that many in the community did not want to talk, stating “there was a lot of ugliness down at the school that year; best we just move on and forget it”

Years later she goes back to learn what white residents of Clinton didn’t want remembered. She interviewed over 60 townsfolk, including a dozen of the first students to desegregate Clinton High. She weaves together over a dozen perspectives in a kaleidoscopic portrait of a small town living through a tumultuous turning point for America.

VIRTUAL DISCUSSION: WAKE The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts by Rebecca Hall

Discussion led by Jeannette Eileen Jones, Ph.D. Happold Professor of History and Ethnic Studies; Director, 19th Century Studies Program, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Thursday, March 21, 2024
6:30-7:30 p.m. CDT
Click here to register for Virtual Discussion: WAKE The Hidden History of Women-Led Slave Revolts by Rebecca Hall on Zoom
 

Women warriors planned and led revolts on slave ships during the Middle Passage. They fought their enslavers throughout the Americas. And then they were erased from history.

Wake tells the “riveting” (Angela Y. Davis) story of Dr. Rebecca Hall, a historian, granddaughter of slaves, and a woman haunted by the legacy of slavery. The accepted history of slave revolts has always told her that enslaved women took a back seat. But Rebecca decides to look deeper, and her journey takes her through old court records, slave ship captain’s logs, crumbling correspondence, and even the forensic evidence from the bones of enslaved women from the “negro burying ground” uncovered in Manhattan. She finds women warriors everywhere.
Using a “remarkable blend of passion and fact, action and reflection” (NPR), Rebecca constructs the likely pasts of Adono and Alele, women rebels who fought for freedom during the Middle Passage, as well as the stories of women who led slave revolts in Colonial New York. We also follow Rebecca’s own story as the legacy of slavery shapes her life, both during her time as a successful attorney and later as a historian seeking the past that haunts her.

VIRTUAL DISCUSSION: Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land by N. Scott Momaday

Discussion led by Brady DiSanti, Ph.D. , Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe, Director of Native American Studies,  
Associate Professor of Religious Studies, University of Nebraska Omaha

Tuesday, April 16, 2024
12:30-1:30 p.m. CDT
Click here to register for Virtual Discussion: Earth Keeper: Reflections on the American Land by N. Scott Momaday on Zoom
 

Momaday reflects on his native ground and its influence on his people. He shares stories and memories throughout his life, stories that have been passed down through generations, stories that reveal a profound spiritual connection to the American landscape and reverence for the natural world. He offers an homage and a warning. The earth is a sacred place of wonder and beauty, a source of strength and healing that must be honored and protected before it is too late.
 


Contact: interculturaled@mccneb.edu for more information.
Additional International/Intercultural Education virtual programming can be found on Youtube.

ACCOMMODATIONS:  Audience members requiring accommodations due to a disability must contact International/Intercultural Education, interculturaled@mccneb.edu, 531-622-2253 at least two weeks prior to the program.

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