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14th Annual Diversity Matters Book Series (2021-2022)

Diversity Matters Book Series

MCC’s Diversity Matters Book Series began in 2008. It consists of 4-5 books featured for discussion from September to June each year. Audience members are encouraged to read the book and join to share in a discussion with an appointed leader. It is not required to read the book to attend the discussion. Limited copies of the books are available in the MCC library.

Participation for all programs is free and open to the public.

CULTURIZE by Jimmy Casas

Discussion led by Kyran Connor, Executive Director of the South Omaha Campus, and Naomi Mardock-Uman, Director of Faculty Development

Eradicate Average! CULTURIZE Your School. Average schools don’t inspire greatness—and greatness is what our world needs if we are going to produce world-changing learners. In Culturize, author and education leader Jimmy Casas shares insights into what it takes to cultivate a community of learners who embody the innately human traits our world desperately needs, such as kindness, honesty, and compassion. His stories reveal how these “soft skills” can be honed while meeting and exceeding academic standards of twenty-first-century learning. You’ll learn...How to reach those who seem unreachable. What to do when students disengage or drop out of school. How to ensure your learners feel cared for and empowered. How to create an environment where all learners are challenged and inspired to be their best.

Limited copies of the book are available at the MCC libraries.
Youtube link: Watch Culturize discussion again



The late iconic role model Rep. John Lewis was known for his radiant humanity—particularly to young activists―and his genuine, unstoppable goodness. These final reflections, which include valuable advice on topics ranging from mentorship to vision, pay forward the ethos of his legacy and serve as inspiration for us to remain humble and faithful even in the face of monumental adversity: Lewis never lost the faith. 

Youtube link: Watch Carry On discussion again

the night watchman by louise erdrich

discussion led by: Barbara K. Robins, Ph.D., Associate Professor, English, University of Nebraska Omaha

Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.
Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the jewel bearing plant, the first factory located near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a Chippewa Council member who is trying to understand the consequences of a new “emancipation” bill on its way to the floor of the United States Congress. It is 1953 and he and the other council members know the bill isn’t about freedom; Congress is fed up with Indians. The bill is a “termination” that threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land and their very identity. How can the government abandon treaties made in good faith with Native Americans “for as long as the grasses shall grow, and the rivers run”?
Since graduating high school, Pixie Paranteau has insisted that everyone call her Patrice. Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Patrice, the class valedictorian, has no desire to wear herself down with a husband and kids. She makes jewel bearings at the plant, a job that barely pays her enough to support her mother and brother. Patrice’s shameful alcoholic father returns home sporadically to terrorize his wife and children and bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to follow her beloved older sister, Vera, who moved to the big city of Minneapolis. Vera may have disappeared; she hasn’t been in touch in months, and is rumored to have had a baby. Determined to find Vera and her child, Patrice makes a fateful trip to Minnesota that introduces her to unexpected forms of exploitation and violence, and endangers her life.
Thomas and Patrice live in this impoverished reservation community along with young Chippewa boxer Wood Mountain and his mother Juggie Blue, her niece and Patrice’s best friend Valentine, and Stack Barnes, the white high school math teacher and boxing coach who is hopelessly in love with Patrice.
Youtube link: Watch The Night Watchman discussion led by Dr. Barbara Robins again

the personal librarian

Discussion led by Victoria Christopher Murray, author

The remarkable story of J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation, from New York Times bestselling author Marie Benedict, and acclaimed author Victoria Christopher Murray.
In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by J. P. Morgan to curate a collection of rare manuscripts, books, and artwork for his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library. Belle becomes a fixture in New York City society and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her impeccable taste and shrewd negotiating for critical works as she helps create a world-class collection.
But Belle has a secret, one she must protect at all costs. She was born not Belle da Costa Greene but Belle Marion Greener. She is the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard and a well-known advocate for equality. Belle’s complexion isn’t dark because of her alleged Portuguese heritage that lets her pass as white—her complexion is dark because she is African American.
The Personal Librarian tells the story of an extraordinary woman, famous for her intellect, style, and wit, and shares the lengths she must go to—for the protection of her family and her legacy—to preserve her carefully crafted white identity in the racist world in which she lives.

Youtube link: Watch The Personal Librarian discussion led by Victoria Christopher Murray, Author


THE UNGRATEFUL REFUGEE: what immigrants never tell you by dina nayeri (2020)

discussion led by: patti mixayvanh, success navigator and refugee from laos

When Dina Nayeri was a child, she and her family fled Iran and sought asylum in the U.S. Her world was uprooted, and so was her sense of self. Nayeri uses her own experiences as a springboard for telling other immigrants' stories, providing the unfiltered, no-holds-barred commentary about what it means to leave—and not be welcomed upon your arrival.
DATE: Thursday, April 7, 2022
TIME: 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. CDT
LOCATION: Connect to The Ungrateful Refugee via Zoom

ACCOMODATIONS:  Audience members requiring accommodations due to a disability must contact Barbara Velazquez,, 531-622-2253 at least two weeks prior to International/Intercultural Education programs.

Access to the Zoom presentation is free & open to the public.

Contact: for more information.
Additional International/Intercultural Education virtual programming can be found on Youtube.

ACCOMMODATIONS:  Audience members requiring accommodations due to a disability must contact Barbara Velazquez,, 531-622-2253 at least two weeks prior to the program.