Our book for this year is A Good Time for the Truth: Race in Minnesota, edited by Sun Young Shin. It is a collection of essays by Minnesota people of color who write about their experiences living in the midwest. We chose it to help us understand the challenges faced by people of the global majority, here in Minnesota.
SEPTEMBER: Based on the book’s idea of the value of stories from local people of the global majority, Northfield Reads decided that the first event of the year should be one of local voices. Nine people representing African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx, and Middle Easterners shared some of their experiences living in Northfield. Some stories told of quiet prejudice–readily accepting returns from a white person but not from a person of color. Others spoke of open racism shown by others–“Speak English or go home!” Another told about racist incidents at the high school.
Most moving were the stories of confused identity. Some spoke about wanting both to blend in and to be recognized as unique and understood and accepted at both levels. Those emigrating from other countries talked about not feeling at home here, but neither feeling at home in their country of origin. This leaves them with a certain sadness, along with a more settled sense of making this their home.
OCTOBER: This month we celebrated the City’s recently passed resolution to create an Indigenous People Day. The community joined in watching the documentary The Doctrine of Discovery: Unmasking the Domination Code. This was followed by discussion and a presentation by John Stoesz about the value of returning Native lands to Native people.
NOVEMBER: People gathered at Content Bookstore for the first focused discussion on the book A Good Time for the Truth. Strong discussion and sharing of stories occurred.
JANUARY: Northfield Reads encouraged the community to participate in one of the several community gatherings to honor and celebrate the life and wisdom of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In addition, people were invited to a conversation about the writings of the Latinx and Asian essayists in A Good Time for the Truth. This was also a preparation for the February events, which largely focus on the Latinx experience in Northfield.