Helping Students, Staff Turn the Page: Ethnic Studies Book Club Seeks to Help Members Connect with Different Cultures

Helping+Students%2C+Staff+Turn+the+Page%3A+Ethnic+Studies+Book+Club+Seeks+to+Help+Members+Connect+with+Different+Cultures

Katia Stutz, Managing Editor

Pali’s Ethnic Studies Book Club, which meets through Zoom on Wednesdays at 5 p.m., encourages students to engage with culturally and ethnically diverse reading material.  

According to Pali Campus Unification Director Giovanni Stewart, who founded the club in September 2020, “the purpose of Ethnic Studies Book Club is to educate, value, and build cultural awareness and empathy within our community.” He added that because the school does not currently offer an Ethnic Studies class, he hopes that the club is paving a path for the future implementation of related coursework.  

During the first semester, the club read the book Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. The book focuses on the African American experience as well as big questions about American history and the relationship between a father and a son. The club is now reading Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo. According to Stewart, the book focuses on the Latinx experience, highlighting both the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), as well as the experience of being an immigrant in America.

The club reads approximately 25 pages of the book each week. During the meetings, students discuss which parts of the book stuck out the most to them and talk over any confusion that they had. 

For next year, Stewart said that he is planning to include material on both the AAPI experience and the indigenous experience in America. He said that he hopes the club will continue to provide “a space to talk about race and racism” for years to come. 

Expressing his high expectations for the future of the club, Stewart said, “I want people to feel … proud of who they are, learn about who they are, be inspired by other stories [and] get to a place where liberation can be experienced for all.” 

Use this link to participate in the club meetings: https://palihigh-org.zoom.us/j/88603358112?pwd=d3E5VW5meWZjRjNyY29EZXBGUVd1QT09