Social Justice Task Force Update April 2017

Social Justice Task Force
Your Social Justice Task Force has been meeting every two to three weeks for the past few months to prioritize and refine the actionable social justice initiatives that are to be offered to our members over the next twelve months.

Initiatives ranging from an on-line social justice resource library (see below), an on-line PPRC event calendar, a book club, workshops, dialogues, etc. will be announced and unveiled in the coming weeks. It is your task force’s commitment to be thoughtful, communicative, inclusive and most importantly club-centric, as we bring opportunity to our members to converse, to learn and to share regarding social justice issues.

In the continued development of the structure and outreach strategy, task force members have volunteered to be SJTF liaisons to our PPRC standing committees and board of directors, with the purpose to apprise the committees of our work, to exchange ideas and to assure that our work complements and is of value to all the great work being done in our Club. Liaisons are: Kelly Morrow (fundraising), Michael Steen (community service), Don Smith (communications), Diane Brandsma (club service), Heather Bowman (youth exchange), Jonelle Anderson (membership), Larry Berman (vocational), Lou Radja (international) and Nancy Fowler (PPRC board).

Resource library, event calendar
launched by S.J. Task Force
(compiled by Jonelle Anderson, task force member)


  • The Underground Railroad, Pulitzer Prize-winning book written by Colson Whitehead is the novel selected for our first book club meeting to be held on Monday, June 5. Watch and listen for announcements by Kelly Morrow on the time and place.
  • Born a Crime: Trevor Noah, this biracial host of The Daily Show was born in apartheid South Africa to a Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother. His very birth was a crime punishable by five years in prison. The stories are told by Noah with a sense of drama and a touch of humor.
  • To Kill a Mockingbird: Harper Lee, This classic is both a wonderful book (1960) and film (1962).
  • The Warmth of Other Suns: (NF). Pulitzer Prize-winning author Isabel Wilkerson chronicles one of the great untold stories of American history: the decades’ long migration of black citizens who fled the South for Northern and Western cities in search of a better life. Between 1915 and 1970, six million fled from the Jim Crow South.
  • Americanah: Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. This Nigerian author sheds light on the subject of white privilege and what it means to be black in America. This novel reads easily, but does not always make you feel comfortable. Adiche also presents a wonderful TED talk, entitled The Dangers of a Single Story. It is under 20 minutes. She explains how the creation of a single story about Africans or blacks creates stereotypes that are incomplete and misleading.
  • Negroland: Margo Jefferson.This is a story about growing up upper class and black in Chicago.
  • Between the World and Me: (NF) Ta-Nehisi Coates. Coates writes a beautiful essay to his son about what it is like to be a black man in America.
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: (NF) Rebecca Skloot. •This very interesting book about medical research and race is currently an HBO movie, staring Oprah Winfrey. Check to see when you can watch it.
  • Things Fall Apart: Chinua Achebe. This Nigerian author was one of the first to chronicle in a novel the struggle of moving from colonial status to that of independence. Published in 1958, it is widely read in high schools and colleges around the world.
  • Small Great Things: Jodi Picoult. Another wonderful novel about power, justice and privilege (recommended by SJTF member Larry Berman).

Several wonderful movies released in 2016 help us to understand issues of race and privilege in the United States:

  • Moonlight: This winner of Best Picture of 2016 is still available for viewing in a select number of theaters. Check listings.
  • Fences: This film is the adaptation of the August Wilson play by the same name. It stars Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.
  • Hidden Figures: This inspirational story traces the role of African American Women in the development of the US space program during the early sixties. Watching this film with teen children or grandchildren would be a wonderful rainy day activity.

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