Jul 15, 2007

Enjoy a cup of coffee and a great book with The Livingston 2001 Diversity Council

The Livingston 2001 Diversity Council is inviting people to come out Tuesday evening to enjoy a cup of coffee and talk about their book club selection for this month. The Council’s newly formed book club will hold its second meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Colorado Coffee House, 4140 E Grand River Ave. in Genoa Township, to discuss “We are all welcome here,” by Elizabeth Berg.

I read the book, and I really enjoyed it. The book is about a 14-year-old girl growing up in Tupelo, Mississippi – the home of Elvis- in the Freedom of Summer of 1964. In addition to experiencing the normal trials and tribulations of puberty, her mother is a single parent who has been disabled with polio and only able to move her head since the mother was in her eight month of pregnancy. Making ends meet is a daily struggle for the small family just struggling to live a normal life.

The mother is aided in the near impossible task of raising a child with that kind of disability that requires her to be constantly hooked up to a respirator by her black caregiver that is so much more than just a caregiver. The mother, Paige, knows first hand what it feels like to be discriminated against years before the Americans with Disabilities Act was even a dream. Paige knows all too well what the black residents of Mississippi are going through, and it’s through her eyes and example that her daughter finally understands. The book is a work of fiction, but the premise is based on a real life mother and daughter the author corresponded with.

The Diversity Council book club was just formed in May in direct response to a censorship and book banning effort by a small, but vocal anti-gay hate group known as the “LOVE” PAC (Livingston Organization for Values in Education) earlier this year.

The Livingston 2001 Diversity Council was formed in 1988 in response to a cross burning in the yard of a back family in 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.

To join the club or to get more information, please email at membersite@livingstondiversity.com.

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