Common Text Resources

Common Text Archive of Additional Resources

Since 2019, we have been gathering resources to further our common text conversations. You can find resources for the current common text here. Below, you will find our resource archive from previous years. We invite you to explore these as we believe they remain relevant and helpful, and they connect the threads of our programming over the years.

Summer 2022 Resources

In 2022-2023, we engaged with Know My Name by Chanel Miller as a university 
community. The nation came to know Miller, the survivor of a sexual assault on the 
Stanford University campus, when she shared her victim impact statement under the pseudonym Emily Doe. In Know My Name, Miller reclaims her identity as a writer, artist, and cultural critic. During the selection process, the Common Text committee noted the theme of resilience in Know My Name: “It holds the tension of pain and hope, without making the focus on getting through trauma, but rather understanding what it takes to live through it and thrive.” Chanel Miller shares her story of trauma and healing, and in the process, invites us not only to interrogate the structures that face victims of assault, but to step up and fight alongside her. This is a necessary conversation, not only for Seattle University but for our national culture.

Chanel Miller is a writer and artist. Her memoir Know My Name (2019) has been honored with the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Ridenhour Book Prize, and the California Book Award, in addition to being named a best book of the year by Time, the New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, NPR, Glamour, Elle, Library Journal, Kirkus, and others. She has also been named one of the Forbes 30 Under 30 and a Glamour Woman of the Year under her pseudonym Emily Doe.

In addition to her work’s connections to creative writing and the arts, her recounting of her experience preparing for trial can also inspire conversations in disciplines including nursing and the health sciences, women and gender studies, forensics and criminal justice, psychology, and law. Chanel’s identity as a Chinese-American woman with an immigrant parent connects to both 2021’s Common Text, Jose Antonio Vargas’s Dear America, as well as to recent events surrounding COVID-19 and violence against the Asian American community.

Through the resources below, we invite you to get to know Chanel Miller through her art and take a deeper dive into the issues raised by her book.

I Am With You

“I Am With You” is a short film featuring Chanel Miller’s art that she created to 
accompany Know My Name. We invite you to view it to get to know Chanel as a whole person.

“While writing Know My Name, I was constantly drawing as a way of letting my mind breathe, reminding myself that life is playful and imaginative. We all deserve a chance to define ourselves, shape our identities, and tell our stories. The film crew that worked on this piece was almost all women. Feeling their support and creating together was immensely healing. We should all be creating space for survivors to speak their truths and express themselves freely. When society nourishes instead of blames, books are written, art is made, and the world is a little better for it.”

-- Chanel Miller, from her website.


The me too movement was founded by Tarana Burke. Read about the history of the movement and its vision. The site’s Survivor’s Sanctuary is a self-guided digital healing platform with 36 lessons created by Black, Indigenous, and brown practitioners ranging in depth from 5 to 25 minutes and modules exploring creating affirmation practices, breathing exercises, and compassionate self-touch that welcomes survivors to begin or continue their healing journeys wherever they are.

We invite students to read Mueller et al.’s article on “Demographic Representation and Collective Storytelling in the Me-Too Twitter Hashtag Activism Movement.” 
One of the values of Seattle University is to foster a concern for justice and the competence to promote it. We acknowledge that even though #MeToo is rooted in building a supportive network for communities of color affected by sexual violence and other systemic issues, white authors and narratives shaped by whiteness overly represent the hash tag. As such, we as a community need to address the implications and ways we can raise up underrepresented voices and their stories.

“I Was, I Am, I Will Be” Exhibition at the Asian Art Museum

Chanel Miller speaks about her exhibition at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco.

View the exhibit here:

Read about it in the New York Times here:


According to the Global Indigenous Council’s MMIW Campaign, for more than a decade, the US Department of Justice has estimated that Native American women are around 2.5 times more likely to be victims of sexual assault when compared to the general population. One in three Native women will be raped in their lifetimes. Canadian First Nations women are six times more likely to be the victims of homicide, and it is ten times more likely for U.S. Native women. Read more about the campaign’s history and their efforts:

Native Justice’s MMIWG2S (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People) Program was started in August 2019. You can read about it here:

On campus, we hope you will connect with the Indigenous Peoples Institute which supports Native American student success at Seattle University and raises awareness about issues of critical importance to local and global Indigenous peoples.

Be the Swede

“I always like to say, ‘be the Swede.’ Show up for the vulnerable, do your part, help each other and face the darkest parts alongside survivors,” Chanel Miller writes in Know My Name.

In this clip from 60 Minutes, Chanel Miller speaks about the men who intervened in her sexual assault and what it was like to meet them in person:

In “Courage” a short, illustrated film, Chanel explores and reflects on finding courage:

Summer 2021 Resources

2019, incoming students read Ijeoma Oluo’s book So You Want to Talk About Race. In Fall 2020, students engaged with a suite of digital readings to help us to further understand this historic moment, where renewed calls for racial justice and the protection of Black lives were happening in the midst of a global pandemic. They also anticipated the conversation we will begin this Fall on the meaning of U.S. citizenship, starting with Jose Antonio Vargas’s book, Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen. 

Jose Antonio Vargas is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, documentary filmmaker, and one of the founders of the nonprofit media and culture organization, Define American. He was born in the Philippines and immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. At 16, when he went to apply for a driver's permit, he learned that his grandparents had brought him to the U.S. using fake papers. Dear America is a memoir tells the story of that discovery, how he navigated systems of employment and government, of the family he built along the way, and what happened when, in 2011, he publicly declared his status as an undocumented citizen.  

But, he says, "this is not a book about the politics of immigration . . . This book is about homelessness, not in a traditional sense, but the unsettled, unmoored, psychological state that undocumented immigrants like me find ourselves in . . . After twenty-five years of living illegally in a country that does not consider me one of its own, this book is the closest thing I have to freedom" (Dear America, xiii).  

To help you get started, we have provided some background on recent immigration policy and the situation at the southern border of the United States. A brief article and short videos from Define American will demonstrate the range of immigrant experience, documented and undocumented. Finally, Jose Antonio Vargas invites us to consider three questions on citizenship in his 2020 TED Talk. These materials can be found on the The Common Text webpage or as part of your Orientation course on Canvas. 

We hope these texts offer new perspectives, prompt difficult but necessary conversations, and perhaps even inspire action. Please take the time to read, listen, and watch. Then look for Common Text and partner events throughout the year that will provide you with multiple ways to engage these ideas. 

All Presidents are Deporters in Chief- New York Times Editorial Board

Access Article Here:  Opinion | All Presidents Are Deporters in Chief - The New York Times (

This opinion essay from the editors of the New York Times  discusses the responsibility of any president to manage the nation's borders, explains the approaches to deportation, and measures each president's approach over the last four presidencies. 

Citation: “All Presidents Are Deporters in Chief.” New York Times, 13 Jul, 2019.

9 Questions About the Humanitarian Crisis on the Border, Answered- Nicole

Access Article Here: What’s going on at the border and why it’s a humanitarian crisis - Vox 

Nicole Narea explains the forces behind migration from Central America, how recent administrations have tried to prevent it, and what happens once migrants present themselves at our southern border. 

Citation: Narea, Nicole. “9 Questions About the Humanitarian Crisis on the Border, Answered.” Vox, 27 Mar. 2021

Undocumented and Black - Melinda D. Anderson

Access Article Here:  Being an Undocumented Immigrant—and Black—in College - The Atlantic 

Ainslya Charlton graduated from Trinity College in Connecticut in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in political science and human rights. Her story as a black undocumented student further shatters the perception that immigration reform is only a Latino issue.

Citation: Citation: Anderson, Melinda D.. “Undocumented and Black.” The Atlantic, 31 May 2016

Stories- Define American

Access Article Here: Browse Stories - Define American

Define American is a culture change organization that uses the power of narrative to humanize conversations about immigrants. Choose a few of these very brief (1-2 minute) videos to hear the stories uploaded by undocumented people from around the country. 

Citation: "Stories." Define American, accessed 1 May 2021

3 questions to ask yourself about US citizenship - Jose Antonio Vargas

Access Article Here: Jose Antonio Vargas: 3 questions to ask yourself about US citizenship | TED Talk

Jose Antonio Vargas has three questions in this TED Talk: Where did you come from? How did you get here? Who paid? 

Citation: Vargas, Jose Antonio. “3 Questions to Ask Yourself About US Citizenship.", Jul 2020

Summer 2020 Resources

As the academic year comes to a close at Seattle University, we are seeing protests against racial injustice across America in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We stand with Seattle University president, Fr. Stephen Sundborg, and Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. Natasha Martin in condemnation of these acts and in calling for continued work to end systemic injustice. Their letter to the campus community can be viewed here.

One of the goals of the Common Text program is to invite students into a conversation, one that will continue throughout the year, and beyond. While the 2019-2020 school year ends, we encourage our students and our community to remain in dialogue with the themes of this year’s text, So You Want To Talk About Race. Below are some resources for continued learning and engagement.

Summer 2019 Resources

Check out these additional resources regarding Ijeoma Oluo’s So You Want to Talk About Race and issues of racism, oppression and marginalization. Here you will find more by Oluo, as well as resources for some in-depth exploration of Redlining - one of the subtle but impactful ways that institutionalized racism has impacted our communities, including right in SU’s neighborhood.

Talks at Google Video:



During the Great Depression of the 1930s, many U.S. residents could not afford access to a home. To spur home ownership, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's administration, under the New Deal, started the Federal Housing Administration to support homeowners with federally backed mortgages. 

However, banks that gave out mortgage did so along racial lines. In more than 200 U.S. cities, bank drew race-based maps to determine loans: white neighborhoods were marked in green or blue as "desirable," where nonwhite areas were marked in yellow or red for "hazardous." White residents received mortgages with the best interest rates, where black residents, and/or those who lived in non-white areas, were denied loans or given the worst rates. This became the process of redlining, which denied loans to and divested from black areas, while guaranteeing loans to and investing in white areas across the United States.  Redlining, the federally backed loan process, created the racially segregated cities that exist today.

Here are some resources on redlining:

  • The Disturbing History of the Suburbs, Adam Ruins Everything
    (6 minute video):