May 11, 2007

New book club will focus on understanding and diversity

After a book-banning campaign by an anti-gay hate group that focused on books by black authors writing about racism, the Livingston 2001 Diversity Council is taking the opposite tack and promoting books and tolerance by forming a book club focusing on books that challenges racial and ethnic stereotypes.

The club will meet for the first time at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (May 15) at the Brighton Borders, 8101 Movie Drive, and the book the council has chosen for its first discussion is “The Color of Water,” by James McBride; a Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother that tells the remarkable story of Ruth McBride Jordan, the two good men she married, and the 12 good children she raised.

From late last year until March when the issue was finally put to rest, the anti-gay hate group known as the “LOVE” PAC (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) waged a misguided attempt to censor and ban “The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them,” Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison's first novel, "The Bluest Eye," an acclaimed memoir written by Richard Wright in 1945, "Black Boy " and the classic Kurt Vonnegut novel "Slaughterhouse Five” from Howell High School’s curriculum. The culmination was “LOVE’s” attempt to put two more members on the school board along with current member Wendy Day that was thwarted by voters just last week.

To quote one of organizers of the Council’s book club, “The power of the written word... it's been used to champion justice throughout history, and we're sure this will be yet another example of how cultural discernment and thoughtful discourse can bring a community into a new paradigm.”

The Livingston 2001 Diversity Council was formed in 1988 in response to a cross burning in the yard of a back family in the Livingston County, and the group that formed to foster understanding and fight racism was initially called Livingston 2001. It was so named because the children in kindergarten when the ugly incident occurred would be graduating from high school in 2001, and hopefully, entering a world where that kind of hate and prejudice was just an ugly footnote in history,
It’s a grass roots organization made up of business people, private citizens, educators, government officials and clergy who live or work in Livingston County with the mission of making the community ever more welcoming, harmonious and prosperous for people of all races, creeds and backgrounds.
A few years ago it changed its name to reflect its mission after 2001, and it has sponsored a series of events aimed at fostering acceptance and understanding of other cultures, ethnic groups and races.

The first meeting of the book club will focus on deciding what other books the club will read, what day it meet and where future meetings will be held.

Anyone who loves books, ideas and discussion is welcome to join, whether they have read the book or not. The group will be facilitated in such a way that even those who have not read the book will be able to contribute to the conversation. The council would also prefer that those who plan to attend notify the council so that they may plan accordingly, but again, anyone is welcome. You can do so by email at

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