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The Diversity Awareness 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 make additional recommendations in the future - we welcome your suggestions. Contact Committee Co- Chairs Kathy Michaelis (ksmichaelis@gmail.com) or Rick Orton (rickorton@tds.net)

PBS Wisconsin (WHA-TV in Madison) presents 3 special programs this April focused on racial justice topics. (Visit their website for additional air dates and times or online viewing options.

  • Sunday, April 18, 10:30 pm (on The Wisconsin Channel) - Independent Lens: Down a Dark Stairwell
    A Chinese American police officer's fatal shooting of an innocent, unarmed Black man, Akai Gurley, in a dark Brooklyn stairwell inflames New Yorkers' sense of justice and puts a spotlight on 2 marginalized communities dealing with an uneven criminal justice system.

  • Tuesday, April 20, 8 pm - Philly D.A.
    After suing police over 75 times and winning a bruising election, new Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner sets out to reform the criminal justice system he harshly criticized but now leads.

The Sum of Us:  What Racism Costs Everyone and How We can Prosper Together by Heather McGhee (February 16, 2021) - see Recommended Books below for more...

Articles, Movies & Videos

A collection of PBS programs focusing on Anti-racism and racial justice.  An amazing range of great content.

Be sure to explore PBS Wisconsin's new (2021) on-demand digital series, Why Race Matters as Host and Producer Angela Fitzgerald examines issues of importance affecting Wisconsin's Black communities.
Tim Wise, June 1, 2020, 8 minutes read via Medium
Emmanual Acho,  YouTube Series Started in June 2020, each runs 10-20 minutes

    THE TALK is a two-hour documentary about the increasingly necessary conversation taking place in homes and communities across the country between parents of color and their children, especially sons, about how to behave if they are ever stopped by the police.

    Aired: 02/20/17; Expires: 06/03/22 Rating: NR

    • A Case Study in White Allyship:  Seeing Our Schools Through the Eyes of Black Parents

      Black Like Me Podcast, S4 Ep. 87, March 31, 2020

      Dr. Alex Gee talks with three white parents of kids in a local Madison school who have been joining anti-racism efforts in reaction to an incident with a black child. Listen in to the revealing conversation with Kate Kaio, Jeremy Holiday, and Eli Steenlage as they navigate their own equity journey while trying to support the black family, the African-American community, and the school community.

      Read the Cap Times Article, "Fragile Trust," about the family involved in the school incident.

    • Article from The 1619 Project, New York Times Magazine: What Does a Traffic Jam in Atlanta have to do with Racial Segregation?  Quite a Lot
    Caire lists over 100 reports and news articles about racial disparities in Madison dating back to 1931.  You don't have to read each news article - just the titles tell the story.
      • Movies with a racial equity themes

      Recommended Books

      The Sum of Us:  What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

      by Heather McGhee 

      A 2021 New York Times Bestseller and Amazon Editors' Pick: Best History 

      One of today's most insightful and influential thinkers offers a powerful exploration of inequality and the lesson that generations of Americans have failed to learn --racism has a cost for everyone-- not just for people of color.

      I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

      by Austin Channing Brown

      In a time when nearly all institutions (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claim to value "diversity" in their mission statements, I'M STILL HERE is a powerful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice, in stories that bear witness to the complexity of America's social fabric--from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.

      I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness is a 2018 memoir by Austin Channing Brown. The book became a bestseller during the mid-2020 resurgence of national interest in racial injustice following the George Floyd protests.

      Return to list of recommended books


      by Ibram X. Kendi, Published by One World, 2019

      Kendi is a on a mission to push those of us who believe we are not racists, who support ideas and policies affirming that the “the racial groups are equal in all their apparent differences—that there is nothing right or wrong with any racial group”. This is a 21st century manual of racial ethics.

      Kendi is also the author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, 2017.

      New York Times Bestseller

      Return to list of recommended books

      Locking Up Our Own:

      Crime and Punishment in Black America , 2017 

      by James Forman Jr. 

      • Winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction
      • Long-listed for the National Book Award
      • Finalist, Current Interest Category, Los Angeles Times Book Prizes
      • One of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2017
      • Short-listed for the Inaugural Goddard Riverside Stephan Russo Book Prize for Social Justice

      Former public defender James Forman, Jr. is a leading critic of mass incarceration and its disproportionate impact on people of color. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand the war on crime that began in the 1970s and why it was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers.  

      Well written putting our current situation in historical context.


      Return to list of recommended books

      Grand Avenue

      A Novel in Stories

      by Greg Sarris

      Grand Avenue runs through the center of the Northern California town of Santa Rosa. One stretch of it is home not only to Pomo Indians making a life outside the reservation but also to Mexicans, blacks, and some Portuguese, all trying to find their way among the many obstacles in their turbulent world

      “Grand Avenue” by Greg Sarris - One of the very best works of fiction by and about Native Americans - A compelling sequence of interwoven stories about a Native American community - “a gritty, power-filled book, unsparing and unapologetic”.  1994, 244 pages

      Return to list of recommended books

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