Social Justice Events and Readings

The Diversity Committee has compiled a list of events and recommended readings related to issues of inequity, diversity and injustice in the greater Madison area to promote a culturally inclusive learning environment in PLATO.  We hope to develop additional materials and welcome your suggestions. Contact Committee Co- Chairs Kathy Michaelis ( or Rick Orton ( for the Diversity Committee meeting schedule.



Recommended Reading

The Diversity Committee hopes to make additional recommendations in the future - we welcome your suggestions. (Contact

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Why Work Doesn’t Work Anymore

by Matthew Desmond, author of EVICTED, the 2016 Big Read, New York Times Magazine, September 16, 2018: pg 36-49

“Americans still want to believe that a paid labor force is the antidote to poverty-BUT-in today’s economy, that belief has become a pernicious lie”

Nearly a third of America’s workforce – 41.7 million laborers – earn less than $12/hr. and almost none of their employers offer health insurance. “What kinds of jobs are available to people without much education? By and large, the answer is “jobs that do not pay enough to live on.” America has witnessed the rise of bad jobs offering low pay, no benefits and little certainty. When it comes to poverty, a willingness to work is not the problem, and work itself in no longer the solution.

To find the article itself I recommend going to a library and finding the magazine itself.  It's new enough that the issue should still available in print form and I believe most Madison branches carry it. 

Call first.

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Braiding Sweetgrass: indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teachings of plants 

by Kimmerer, Robin Wall . Minneapolis, Minnesota : Milkweed Editions, 2013. Edition: First edition.

Called the work of "a mesmerizing storyteller with deep compassion and memorable prose" (Publishers Weekly) and the book that, "anyone interested in natural history, botany, protecting nature, or Native American culture will love," by Library Journal, Braiding Sweetgrass is poised to be a classic of nature writing. As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer asks questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces indigenous teachings that consider plants and animals to be our oldest teachers. Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise. (Elizabeth Gilbert). Drawing on her life as an indigenous scientist, a mother, and a woman, Kimmerer shows how other living beings offer us gifts and lessons, even if we’ve forgotten how to hear their voices.

Available at Madison Public Library in print and audio editions

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