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Jo Napolitano in Conversation with Libraries for Liberation
Libraries for Liberation facilitated a Brooklyn Book Festival event with award-winning journalist Jo Napolitano as she discussed her debut book, The School I Deserve: Six Young Refugees and Their Fight for Equality in America. In conversation with our team, Napolitano shared the story of the groundbreaking ACLU lawsuit in 2016 that helped shape the access refugee children have to public education. Jo’s work as a journalist speaks to our belief in the power of the written word to educate, challenge, and change hearts.
Monday, October 4th 7pm-8pm EST
Jo Napolitano has more than 20 years of experience at the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Newsday as a journalist. She has written on many topics, but public education remains her primary focus. She first spotted the trend of public schools turning away immigrant children in 2014, when she was a senior reporter for Newsday. Months of research showed the trend was nationwide and won Napolitano a Spencer Education Fellowship to Columbia University to write this book.
Libraries for Liberation is imagining our next phase of impact in the lives of individual readers and their communities across the country, and we hope you will be a part of it!
We know that those who work or live with young people are searching for liberatory books and resources with which to educate and empower them. But, in order to do this, we all must first turn inwardly to combat the white supremacy in which we are all steeped. This is difficult and often uncomfortable work, and many budding champions are looking for safe and brave spaces to learn.
This is the space in which Libraries for Liberation can offer support. What we read and how we educate ourselves shapes how we think. We believe that as readers and learners, we are called to use what we learn to catalyze transformation – within ourselves, our immediate circles, and our broader community.
In this program, readers will read two children’s/young adult books and participate in one conversation each month for six months. Books and conversations will explore themes such as racial/ethnic identity development, critical consciousness, healing, solidarity and activism, and hope. Our conversations are intended to raise readers’ own awareness of systemic racism, while simultaneously providing resources for engagement with young people. We hope readers will be inspired to take action, integrating their new understandings into their professional and personal lives with young people, whether as educators, parents, librarians, or community members.
A Conversation with Resmaa Menakem
Libraries for Liberation was honored to partner with Resmaa Menakem for this virtual discussion about healing racialized trauma and his book My Grandmother’s Hands, moderated Dr. Patrick Reyes.
Some participant reflections on A Conversation with Resmaa Menakem:
I finished [Resmaa Menakem]’s book a few weeks ago, and hearing him speak live was really an incredible experience for which I’m really grateful. Thank you Resmaa! And thank you, Libraries for Liberation, for making the event possible. I think Patrick Reyes did a really nice job facilitating, and I thought the questions asked and answered were thoughtful and unique from each other.
“Slow the f*** down” resonated with me. Trying to remind myself that you can’t rush through anti-racism, but that slowing down also doesn’t give me an excuse to sit idly by…need to find the balance.
I realized that even though I try to learn about race, being outside of the U.S., I have kind of distanced myself from those issues and I need to do more practice and work on it more actively.
I was moved and inspired to be able to “meet” [Resmaa Menakem] and to hear his beliefs and ideas reinforced in his own voice. He is a powerful speaker and writer, and I hope I can listen again and again, and that I will find ways to act constructively.
I appreciated…[Resmaa Menakem]’s challenge for me as a white person to consider what white anti-racist culture looks like (“how do people KNOW you’re an ally”).