The sixth annual One Book, One Campus: Dialogues in Social Justice program will commence this September and will continue until March 2011. The One Book, One Campus program is a campus-wide initiative coordinated by the Office of the Chaplaincy that encourages students, faculty and staff to read and discuss a selected book on a social justice issue. The book chosen for this academic year is "Blood Done Sign My Name," by Timothy B. Tyson.
"Blood Done Sign My Name," a memoir, is the story of a racial killing in the town of Oxford, N.C., in 1970. The book touches on issues of faith, family, race, the law and social justice, the Chaplaincy's Community Engagement Program Coordinator, Bryn Taylor said.
"It's about finding oneself through relating to a larger community," said Taylor. "This process of self-discovery is something I think most students experience in college. It's cool to find a book that speaks to students."
The One Book, One Campus series will also include a special lecture by the author of "Blood Done Sign My Name" on Feb. 21. A gospel singer will be featured during the lecture, Richmond Chaplain Craig Kocher said. Last year's special lecture was a huge success, he said. Speaker Michael Kimmel, author of the book "Guyland," spoke to an audience of more than 300 people, Kocher said.
The monthly One Book, One Campus book discussions are theme-based, which allows students to decide which central ideas speak to them personally, Taylor said. This allows them to choose which discussions, if any, they would like to attend, she said.
Discussions will be led by a One Book, One Campus committee member as well as by an "expert facilitator," Taylor said.
"One of the biggest goals for the facilitators will be to initiate conversations of meaning," she said. "It's an opportunity for people to reflect on ethical principles in their own lives and in society as a whole."
One of the facilitators who will participate in the One Book, One Campus program is Director of Common Ground, Glyn Hughes. Hughes, who will facilitate the October group discussion, "How does one advance social change individually and collectively?" has been involved with the One Book, One Campus initiative every year.
People who have stayed involved in One Book, One Campus throughout the years tend to refer to the book outside of formal discussions, Hughes said.
"One Book, One Campus is meant to be more than academic," he said. "By that, I mean to have discussions about challenging subjects in ways that engage a deeper sense of who we are in a community. To ask, what does this mean for me? What does this mean for me in relation to others? It's a question of social change. What are our individual and collective responsibilities in building a society that is more inclusive and just?"
It's really important to look at how things like racism still operate, Hughes said. The book this year is an opportunity to confront the reality of racism in today's world, he said.
"It's a question of whether or not people will take that opportunity," Hughes said.
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