Since October 2020, the Oak Park Public Library has been partnering with the Austin Branch of the Chicago Public Library and Walk the Walk, bringing communities together through the virtual Anti-Racist Book Group.

It’s been a great year talking about important books like How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall, So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Olou, and Caste by Isabel Wilkerson. 

“I’m amazed and encouraged by everyone’s ability to embrace vulnerability,” says Danielle Morales-Klima, with Walk the Walk. “These conversations are not easy, and we all make mistakes muddling through them, but it’s inspiring to see the courage that comes out as we navigate that together.”

Austin Branch Manager Jo Anne Willis says a highlight has been “the willingness for participants to show up and display incredible vulnerability while admitting to their ignorance and still being open to learn — and perhaps to change.”

And now we’re excited to change things up a bit with our discussions! This fall, we’re extending the conversation to TV and film content. 

“One of the things I’ve enjoyed during the past year has been the ways we’ve sought to connect with others,” Willis says. “And one of them has been to watch content together!”

Willis, who co-hosts the group, notes, “It creates an opportunity to not only experience the work simultaneously but for us to make comments during the showing and, of course, to discuss the impact of the work afterward.”

On Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 6:30 p.m., join us to talk about the segment “Hair” from HBO’s Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. And on Wednesday, Nov. 10, at 6:30 p.m., come discuss the film 13th from acclaimed director Ava DuVernay. Both these events are virtual, held on the Zoom platform.

See oppl.org/calendar to learn more, register for the events, and get links to watch the full TV segment and the film.

As Willis says: “People should join us to add their voices, and to hear what others have to share. It’ll be enlightening!”

Alexandra Skinner is manager of Adult Services at the Oak Park Public Library.

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