Learning from the Past. A discussion facilitated by Betsy Karch Wilson `61 about seeing racism through the book "Caste," and a discussion facilitated by Dee deFerranti Abrahamse `61 about rethinking civil rights through the book "Just Mercy."
1. Seeing Racism through the book Caste and your own life experiences.
Takeaways from the book by Betsy Karch Wilson, Discussion Facilitator:
-- “It is not racism that makes a well-meaning white person assume that a black guest at a formal dinner is the waiter; it is the sneak programming of caste.”
-- “Years of inputs have been implanted in our minds as to where people should be, and what they should be doing based on what they look like and the roles to which they have been assigned for the past four hundred years in our country.”
-- “A caste system exists because everyone within it allows it to exist.”
-- “It’s the least secure in the dominant caste who are hit the hardest when the power balance
of the caste system shifts.”
It most recently shifted when Obama was elected. Why and what happened? Is it still happening? What did we learn about this at MHC? What can we do to change this? Read Caste by Isabelle Wilkerson if you can and have time. But, there are summaries that tell you a lot. Find them on Amazon before reunion and join our discussion whether you’ve read the book or not. Other, shorter, books to read that may help “put you in someone else’s shoes”
This is the Fire by Don Lemon
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.
2. Rethinking Civil Rights through the book Just Mercy and the work of its author, Bryan Stevenson.
Dee deFerranti Abrahamse, Discussion Facilitator
Just Mercy tells the story of one of the greatest crusaders for justice of our time and his conflict with a deep strain of racial injustice in America, its author Bryan Stevenson. Beginning in 1983, Stevenson found himself representing prisoners waiting on death row for execution without trials, lawyers to represent them, or even conviction of guilt, and he sees the country as entering a period of mass incarceration. Stevenson’s story includes epic courtroom battles, and important legal victories, but it is also the story of strong and loving communities of poor people, generally African American he defended. I found Just Mercy to be a wonderful book - a sensitive and loving portrait of the victims, local actors, and communities it portrays, as well as a page turner in the tense courtroom scenes. At the end of the book, Stevenson leaves us with a sense of the humanity that enables him to keep fighting for rights for the poor he serves. Stevenson is also the founder and Director of the Equal Justice Initiative, which includes the Legacy Museum and the National Memorial for Peace and Justice, where tributes to the 444,000 lynching victims are displayed. The Equal Justice Initiative also sponsors reports and conferences, and has established monuments around the city of Montgomery. It’s a fascinating place to
explore virtually – here are some links to it: https://museumandmemorial.eji.org/memorial & https://eji.org/about/
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Saturday, May 22 at 10:30am to 12:00pmVirtual Event