The Library has launched Palo Alto Reads, a “one book, one community” program that encourages the reading and discussion of a selected book around themes and topics relevant to our city. This year's book selection is The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein.
Published in 2017, The Color of Law tells the history of the design and segregation of American communities along racial lines. Rothstein focuses on many Bay Area communities, including Palo Alto, which thwarted efforts back in 1947 to create integrated and working-classing housing near Stanford University. This historical book provides great context into exploring today’s ongoing inequities in housing, education, income and health. You can find more information about the book and Rothstein's work on the Economic Policy Institute's webpage.
In early June 2020, the Palo Alto City Council adopted a Resolution affirming that Black lives matter and committed to address systemic racism and bias, and honored the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and others that have fallen victim to violence at the hands of authorities. The Council approved a Race and Equity framework and a series of actions including community engagement in ongoing, thoughtful dialogue and leadership. The history of our city’s segregation is a great starting point to discuss ongoing inequities in our community, and explore solutions together.
The series will run from August 15 to September 15, and starting Monday, August 17, free copies of The Color of Law will be available at Mitchell Park and Rinconada Libraries during Sidewalk Service hours, while supplies last. These copies are available on a first come, first serve basis, with one copy per customer. Our hope is customers can pass on to a friend or neighbor when they're done reading it, or return it to the Library for another person to pick up.
We will be offering a series of events for all ages during this time, including a virtual conversation with author Richard Rothstein on Thursday, August 27 at 7 PM, sponsored and hosted by The Bill Lane Center for the American West of Stanford University.
Palo Alto Reads is joint partnership with the City of Palo Alto and its Race & Equity Initiatives. Many thanks to the City, Stanford University and the Friends of the Palo Alto Library for their support!
Race and Equity Educational Resources:
- Bystander Intervention 101
- Bystander Intervention/Anti-Xenophobia Training, opens a new window
- Coming to the Table
- Common Sense Media Resources About Race and Racism
- Equal Justice Initiative
- How Asian Americans Are Reckoning With Anti-Blackness In Their Families, opens a new window
- High School Teaching Activity:How Red Lines Built White Wealth: A Lesson on Housing Segregation in the 20th Century (shared by Rothstein during his August 27 talk)
- NYT Article: The Black Lives Next Door (written by Rothstein)
- Segregated by Design (shared by Rothstein during his August 27 talk)
- Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ)--Bay Area
- Speak Out—The Institute for Democratic Education & Culture
- Talking About Race from the National Museum of African American History & Culture
- There Are No Anti-Racist Guides for Immigrants, opens a new window
- Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto’s Solidarity with Black Lives