Community Service Blog

Reading Break

Students are back and the spring semester classes begin this week!
As great it is to see them all, it is was also nice to have the chance to get caught up some reading over the extended break. I was lucky enough to have some thought provoking, informative and enjoyable reading materials shared with me and I am happy to share them with you.

Check out One Billion Rising. Our own Marissa Johnson's '14 poem is featured. ONE BILLION RISING FOR JUSTICE is a global call to women survivors of violence and those who love them to gather safely in community outside places where they are entitled to justice where women deserve to feel safe but too often do not. It is a call to survivors to break the silence and release their stories - politically, spiritually, outrageously - through art, dance, marches, ritual, song, spoken word, testimonies and whatever way feels right. Thank you for sharing this Marissa.

In addition, Social Work Faculty member, Gary Bailey suggested I read the New York Times featured series on the Invisible Child, which is a powerful, eye opening, and heartbreaking feature that follows a homeless child and her family in Brooklyn.

Michelle Alexander author of the "New Jim Crow" was on campus in early December. I had read her book a couple of years ago but revisited it after hearing her speak last month on a wide range of intersecting topics with the American incarceration system. Her words spur you to take action on these injustices. It is astounding how the current criminal justice system instills the same types of limitations on specific populations as the Jim Crow laws but not as openly, which is how many of us remain unaware of the repercussions of this system. malexander.JPG

My friend Sarah Reed gave me the book "Random Families: Love, Drugs, Trouble and Coming of Age in the Bronx" by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc. A realistic and sobering look at poverty and how families and individuals are affected by their lack of access to resources and exposure to violence and criminal behavior. This book follows the characters (and they are characters in many senses of the word) with an objective and nonjudgemental view, while still getting across their hopes and disappointments and it delivers a look at how broken the social services systems can be.

My reading list also included "Give and Take" by Adam Grant. This book takes a look at work styles that he categorizes as "takers, matchers and givers" and their impact on success. I would expect that many people who work in the nonprofit field would relate to the givers category and might be surprised at how this correlates to success.

The Boston Globe Magazine lists "reading more" as number six out of ten top resolutions.. That's a resolution I hope to make time for! Reading suggestions welcome!