December 10, 2021 | NEWS | By April Kwan | Illustration by Sierra Romero
There are a number of initiatives and conversations on the Colorado College campus about how to be an anti-racist community, one of which is The Anti-Racist Book Club, formed by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) team.
The Anti-Racist Book Club was formed through conversations within the DEI committee reaching out to students, faculty, and staff from July to November 2020. During these meetings, members of the CC community often asked for books or resources to further their knowledge of anti-racism.
Due to timing and the challenges created due to COVID-19, it was decided that The Anti-Racist Book Club would be available in an online format, so people could safely interact with the books and additional resources. The club hopes to promote self-led individual reflection and critical thinking. The Senior Associate Dean of Students for DEI and Director of the Butler Center, Rosalie Rodriguez, puts it as a “typical introvert style: let’s unite together, separately in our own spaces.”
“Anti-racism needs to be the way we do what we’re already doing, and not an add on. It needs to change how we do what we do, and looking for methods to incorporate that into The Anti-Racist Book Club was a big part of the conversation,” Rodriguez said.
Therefore, the supplementary resources include a study guide, questions to process the books, workshops, and speakers. Rodriguez mentioned incorporating the books in spaces people already exist as a group, rather than making it an additional aspect, and how you can “make it part of a staff meeting, the first 20 minutes of a hall meeting or athletic practice, over dinner with your friends. Do it with people you know and already engage with rather than adding another meeting to a long list we all have.”
The Anti-Racist Book Club read “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” by Audre Lorde during spring 2021 and “Critical Race Theory: An Introduction” by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefanic during fall 2021.
The ongoing read for winter 2021/2022 is “You are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience” by Tarana Burke and Brene Brown.
Planned for the future for spring 2022 is “Ebony & Ivy: Race, Slavery, and the Troubled Past of America’s Universities” by Craig Steven Wilder.
Rodriguez hopes that The Anti-Racist Book Club continues providing books and resources for the CC community.
“I’d really love to see other folks around campus suggest books, create study guides and help facilitate the campus wide engagement,” Rodriguez said. “This happened for the first book this year, “Critical Race Theory.” Dean Garcia wrote the study guide, led the discussion and selected the book. Partnerships always fuel engagement.”
“This current selection, ‘You are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience,’ really rocked my world,” Rodriguez said. “So much about the personal narratives resonated with my own life and things that I have struggled with.”
Rodriguez also shared her excitement about the Block 5 First Monday speaker, Austin Channing Brown, whose essay was featured in “You are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience.” This guest-speaker event will be facilitated by Dr. Manya Whitaker.
“Two powerful and thoughtful Black women holding space for these conversations can be life changing for many. I really can’t wait for it!” Rodriguez said.
Lastly, Rodriguez shared that The Anti-Racist Book Club is a campus-wide initiative looking to incorporate students, faculty, and staff participation. There have been almost 200 participants in each selection and Rodriguez hopes that number will continue to rise.
To get involved, you can acquire the winter 2021/2022 book “You are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience” by Tarana Burke and Brene Brown, which is free at the CC Bookstore with your Gold Card.
To learn more, visit the CC Anti-Racist Book Club website, the Microsoft Teams Group for the study guide and other resources, and CC’s Anti-Racism commitment and updates.