ODI Updates

Summer Reading List 2020

Posted by Natasha Martin, JD, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 at 5:01 PM PDT

Dear Seattle University Community,

As we remain at a physical distance in the midst of this unprecedented time, I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the engagement this year in our collective work around inclusive excellence. Thank you to all who have shown your care of and patience with me during this time like none other I have known. Deep appreciation for the many ways that you have shown up to co-create spaces to grow together and pivoted with grace.

As a university, knowledge pursuit and production is why we exist. I hope the offerings below will allow you to immerse yourself in stories and exploration and gain confidence in more knowledge to bring to bear on the hard truths we are facing as a nation, and inspire action for change. Stay tuned for information about next year as together we continue to integrate strategic efforts to advance diversity, equity and inclusion at SU.

2020 Inclusive Excellence Summer Reading List

As is the ODI tradition, I offer the summer reading list with some ideas to add to your summer literary pursuits. The 2020 List (See below) is curated in reference to the profound moment in which we are living to open our hearts and minds to the essence of what is beneath all we see and hear – narratives – complicated and shaped by our unique contexts and experiences.

You will find various genres, voices, and experiences reflected to situate our realities. For example, Lanham’s memoir may offer insight into the joy of experiencing nature and why Christian Cooper’s Central Park “birding while Black” incident is so astounding; Pilgrim’s book may layer context around why Quaker Oats’ and other companies' use of stereotypical images to sell and market products has been so damaging to Black people and our collective psyche (trigger warning, some of the imagery is hard to view); Solis’ book may allow us to hear more clearly the voices of those navigating our inhumane approach to the southern border and the flaws in our immigration policy; Sandler’s book may provide a window into the complex intersection of race and homelessness; or you may find a pathway to healing in Menakem’s and Magee’s unique attention to how our bodies are impacted by systemic racism. There is no shortage of impactful reads for sure; and many recently reflected in the public sphere are works included in past summer reading lists. I hope these new offerings can spur reflection on how we make meaning, as well as context for more authentic conversations and actions in creating a stronger university and a more just world.

Caveat: Reading alone is insufficient to realize our shared vision for an inclusive and equitable university. However, what has been laid bare by recent circumstances is our lack of knowledge about one another and our shared history. Please continue to share your ideas of resources from research and enlightening reads over summer to inclusion@seattleu.edu.

Finally, colleagues, we must take care of ourselves to maintain strength for the journey toward justice. I wish you time to rest, restore, and to experience beauty in unanticipated ways in the coming months. Stay safe and be well.

In solidarity,      

Natasha Martin, J.D.
Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer
Associate Professor of Law   


Inclusive Excellence Summer Reading List 2020

Curated by Office of Diversity and Inclusion, Seattle University

Not everything that is faced can be changed;
but nothing can be changed until it is faced.
- James Baldwin

  1. Letter from the Birmingham Jail, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (full text here)
  2. How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi 
  3. My Grandmother's Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem
  4. An American Sunrise: Poems by Joy Harjo (the first Native American Poet Laureate, 2019)
  5. My Vanishing Country: A Memoir by Bakari Sellers
  6. The Stonewall Reader edited by New York Public Library, Edmund White (Foreword)
  7. Retablos: Stories From a Life Lived Along the Border by Octavio Solis
  8. Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom by David W. Blight
  9. Breathe: A Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry 
  10. The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison, Ta-Nehisi Coates (Foreword)
  11. Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong 
  12. The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man's Love Affair with Nature by J. Drew Lanham
  13. The Black Cabinet: The Untold Story of African Americans and Politics During the Age of Roosevelt by Jill Watts 
  14. The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race edited by Jesmyn Ward
  15. Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson 
  16. Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code by Ruha Benjamin 
  17. Native Country of the Heart: A Memoir by Cherríe Moraga (editor of This Bridge Called My Back)
  18. One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy by Carol Anderson 
  19. Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism by Derrick Bell (with a new foreword by Michelle Alexander)
  20. Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla Saad, Robin DiAngelo (Foreward)
  21. The Toni Morrison Book Club by Juda Bennett, Winnifred Brown-Glaude, and Casssandra Jackson
  22. Understanding Jim Crow: Using Racist Memorabilia to Teach Tolerance and Promote Social Justice by David Pilgrim, Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Foreword)
  23. Clean and White: A History of Environmental Racism in the United States by Carl Abraham Zimring
  24. This Is All I Got: A New Mother's Search for Home by Lauren Sandler
  25. Driving While Black: African American Travel and the Road to Civil Rights by Gretchen Sorin
  26. Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler 
  27. The Inner Work of Racial Justice: Healing Ourselves and Transforming Our Communities Through Mindfulness by Rhonda V. Magee, Jon Kabat-Zinn (Foreward)
  28. Tell Me Who You Are: Sharing Our Stories of Race, Culture, and Identity by Winona Guo and Priya Vulchi
  29. The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America edited by Nikesh Shukla and Chimene Suleyman
  30. Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith