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Diversity Matters Book Series

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.

I AM NOT YOUR PERFECT MEXICAN DAUGHTER by Erika L Sanchez

Discussion led by Beatriz Gonzalez, LIMHP, LICSW

Perfect Mexican daughters do not go away to college. And they do not move out of their parents’ house after high school graduation. Perfect Mexican daughters never abandon their family.
But Julia is not your perfect Mexican daughter. That was Olga’s role.
Then a tragic accident on the busiest street in Chicago leaves Olga dead and Julia left behind to reassemble the shattered pieces of her family. And no one seems to acknowledge that Julia is broken, too. Instead, her mother seems to channel her grief into pointing out every possible way Julia has failed.
But it’s not long before Julia discovers that Olga might not have been as perfect as everyone thought. With the help of her best friend Lorena, and her first love, first everything boyfriend Connor, Julia is determined to find out. Was Olga really what she seemed? Or was there more to her sister’s story? And either way, how can Julia even attempt to live up to a seemingly impossible ideal?

Watch I am not your Perfect Mexican Daughter again


NATIVE PRESENCE AND SOVEREIGNTY IN COLLEGE: SUSTAINING INDIGENOUS WEAPONS TO DEFEAT SYSTEMIC MONSTERS by Amanda R. Tachine

Discussion led by Vernon Miller, Director, Indigenous Center, Tufts University

What is at stake when our young people attempt to belong to a college environment that reflects a world that does not want them for who they are? In this compelling book, Navajo scholar Amanda Tachine takes a personal look at 10 Navajo teenagers, following their experiences during their last year in high school and into their first year in college. It is common to think of this life transition as a time for creating new connections to a campus community, but what if there are systemic mechanisms lurking in that community that hurt Native students' chances of earning a degree? Tachine describes these mechanisms as systemic monsters and shows how campus environments can be sites of harm for Indigenous students due to factors that she terms monsters' sense of belonging, namely assimilating, diminishing, harming the worldviews of those not rooted in White supremacy, heteropatriarchy, capitalism, racism, and Indigenous erasure. This book addresses the nature of those monsters and details the Indigenous weapons that students use to defeat them. Rooted in love, life, sacredness, and sovereignty, these weapons reawaken students' presence and power.

DATE: Wednesday, December 14
TIME: 10:30-11:30 a.m. CST

REGISTER FOR Native Presence and Sovereignty in College: Sustaining Indigenous Weapons to Defeat Systemic Monsters


THE LAST SLAVE SHIP by Ben Raines

Discussion led by Brenda McGruder, Retired

Fifty years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed, the Clotilda became the last ship in history to bring enslaved Africans to the United States. The ship was scuttled and burned on arrival to hide evidence of the crime, allowing the wealthy perpetrators to escape prosecution. Despite numerous efforts to find the sunken wreck, Clotilda remained hidden for the next 160 years. But in 2019, journalist Ben Raines made international news when he successfully concluded his obsessive quest through the swamps of Alabama to uncover one of our nation’s most important historical artifacts.

Traveling from Alabama to the ancient African kingdom of Dahomey in modern-day Benin, Raines recounts the ship’s perilous journey, the story of its rediscovery, and its complex legacy. Against all odds, Africatown, the Alabama community founded by the captives of the Clotilda, prospered in the Jim Crow South. Zora Neale Hurston visited in 1927 to interview Cudjo Lewis, telling the story of his enslavement in the New York Times bestseller Barracoon. And yet the haunting memory of bondage has been passed on through generations. Clotilda is a ghost haunting three communities—the descendants of those transported into slavery, the descendants of their fellow Africans who sold them, and the descendants of their American enslavers. This connection binds these groups together to this day. At the turn of the century, descendants of the captain who financed the Clotilda’s journey lived nearby—where, as significant players in the local real estate market, they disenfranchised and impoverished residents of Africatown.

From these parallel stories emerges a profound depiction of America as it struggles to grapple with the traumatic past of slavery and the ways in which racial oppression continue to this day. And yet, at its heart, The Last Slave Ship remains optimistic—an epic tale of one community’s triumphs over great adversity and a celebration of the power of human curiosity to uncover the truth about our past and heal its wounds.

DATE: Thursday, January 19
TIME: 6:30-7:30 p.m. CST
REGISTER FOR THE LAST SLAVE SHIP

THE SISTERS OF AUSCHWITZ: THE TRUE STORY OF TWO JEWISH SISTERS' RESISTANCE IN THE HEART OF NAZI TERRITORY by Roxane van Iperen

Discussion led by Scott Littky, Executive Director, Institute for Holocaust Education

The unforgettable story of two unsung heroes of World War II: sisters Janny and Lien Brilleslijper who joined the Dutch Resistance, helped save dozen of lives, were captured by the Nazis, and ultimately survived the Holocaust.
Eight months after Germany’s invasion of Poland, the Nazis roll into The Netherlands, expanding their reign of brutality to the Dutch. But by the Winter of 1943, resistance is growing. Among those fighting their brutal Nazi occupiers are two Jewish sisters, Janny and Lien Brilleslijper from Amsterdam. Risking arrest and death, the sisters help save others, sheltering them in a clandestine safehouse in the woods, they called “The High Nest.”
This secret refuge would become one of the most important Jewish safehouses in the country, serving as a hiding place and underground center for resistance partisans as well as artists condemned by Hitler. From The High Nest, an underground web of artists arises, giving hope and light to those  living in terror in Holland as they begin to restore the dazzling pre-war life of Amsterdam and The Hague. 
When the house and its occupants are eventually betrayed, the most terrifying time of the sisters' lives begins. As Allied troops close in, the Brilleslijper family are rushed onto the last train to Auschwitz, along with Anne Frank and her family. The journey will bring Janny and Lien close to Anne and her older sister Margot. The days ahead will test the sisters beyond human imagination as they are stripped of everything but their courage, their resilience, and their love for each other.

DATE: Tuesday, March 14
TIME: 2:30-3:30 CDT
REGISTER FOR The Sisters of Auschwitz: The True Story of Two Jewish Sisters' Resistance in the Heart of Nazi Territory

A HOUSE OF STICKS by Ly Tran 

Discussion led by David Dinh

Ly Tran is just a toddler in 1993 when she and her family immigrate from a small town along the Mekong river in Vietnam to a two-bedroom railroad apartment in Queens. Ly’s father, a former lieutenant in the South Vietnamese army, spent nearly a decade as a POW, and their resettlement is made possible through a humanitarian program run by the US government. Soon after they arrive, Ly joins her parents and three older brothers sewing ties and cummerbunds piece-meal on their living room floor to make ends meet.
As they navigate this new landscape, Ly finds herself torn between two worlds. She knows she must honor her parents’ Buddhist faith and contribute to the family livelihood, working long hours at home and eventually as a manicurist alongside her mother at a nail salon in Brooklyn that her parents take over. But at school, Ly feels the mounting pressure to blend in.
A growing inability to see the blackboard presents new challenges, especially when her father forbids her from getting glasses, calling her diagnosis of poor vision a government conspiracy. His frightening temper and paranoia leave a mark on Ly’s sense of self. Who is she outside of everything her family expects of her?
An “unsentimental yet deeply moving examination of filial bond, displacement, war trauma, and poverty” (NPR), House of Sticks is a timely and powerful portrait of one girl’s coming-of-age and struggle to find her voice amid clashing cultural expectations.

DATE: Wednesday, April 19
TIME: 12:30-1:30 CDT
REGISTER FOR A HOUSE OF STICKS


Contact: interculturaled@mccneb.edu 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, bvelazquez@mccneb.edu, 531-622-2253 at least two weeks prior to the program.