One Book, One Community: A Welcome Choice at a Critical Time

OneBook_March2018-683x1024.jpgI was more than pleased to see the 2018 selection of  March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin & Nate Powell as the community’s One Book at San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico. It felt like a welcome choice for so many reasons.

It was a comic book that influenced the young John Lewis, at a time when comic books were largely viewed as evil influences upon the young. Aydin writes about this in his article on the historical context of March:

Congress, never one to miss a bandwagon, held its hearings on the connection between comic books and juvenile delinquency.

Then, as now,  Congress seemed to have kind of missed the point of what will count as progress in the relentless sweep of history.

In our time, the unthinkable has happened. This from the New Yorker:

Literacy tests, poll taxes, and grandfather clauses, once the most common mechanisms for disadvantaging minority voters, have been consigned to the history books, but one need look no further than the governor’s race in Georgia to see their modern equivalents in action.

Which is why I’m happy to see that in San Juan County, far from the halls of power, people will be reading Lewis’s powerful book. Everyone reading it should think about what it means now.

Fred Korematsu and Another Infamous Executive Order

628dd2bfb56cd1d0122408860ee65943Fred Korematsu Speaks Up is a new children’s book co-written by VCFA graduate Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi. When Laura first talked to me about this project I was excited. It seemed a vitally important story to tell. A story that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Today, the signing of executive orders is carrying a kind of crazed trigger-happiness that threatens to turn the clock back upon civil rights. Today, Fred’s story begins to carry a tragic new urgency.

I’ll be talking to Laura some more about her book. Meanwhile, here’s a snippet from the web site of the ACLU of Northern California:

Monday, Jan. 30, 2017 is Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution, established by the California legislature in 2010 to commemorate the ACLU of Northern California’s client who was interned during World War II.

Sunday, Feb. 19, 2017 is the 75th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066, which began Japanese Internment.

It would be a shame to let that February 17th anniversary go by without taking some action, whatever we can, each of us who cares. Action to stop the erosion of civil rights and liberties in the land that was supposed to be the cradle of both.