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Being Different Together

Palo Alto Library

Contact Name: Gayathri Kanth,
Type of Initiative: Civic Engagement 
Initiative Partners: Human Rights Commission


In an effort to engage our community in thought-provoking conversations, the Palo Alto City Library is partnering with the Office of Human Relations and the Human Relations Commission to plan a four-part series entitled “Being Different Together: Taking the Conversation Deeper.” The idea is that the continued conversation becomes a journey towards building and nurturing a community that models respect for differences such as race, religion, gender, origin, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, political affiliation and opinion. The first events were held on February 2 and March 2, were 80 attendees participated in the Crossing the Line exercise of sharing different experiences and discovering commonalities. The debriefing discussions at the tables were authentic and engaging, proving that a community can achieve this without uniformity. Upcoming event dates are: April 6, May 4, 2017. The following Library programs were designed to help support the “Being Different Together” series. A few of these programs celebrate the history and contribution of our diverse nation. It is our belief that understanding the history and context of events helps create a community that models respect for differences.

Freedom Riders Documentary Screening: February 11 Documentary Screening & Discussion: Conscience and the Constitution: February 19  Between the World & Me and The Fire Next Time Book Discussion for Black History Month: February 23

The Library participates every year in the “Silicon Valley Reads” event, designed to get an entire community to read a book focused on a contemporary theme and offers programs through Santa Clara County libraries to engage in reading, thinking and discussing the topic. This year’s them is entitled, “…and justice for all,” focusing on our unconscious biases we all have and how these assumptions lead to unfair treatment, especially in the legal system. The books discussed this year include: Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Justice by Adam Benforado and Writing My Wrongs: Life, Death and Redemption in an American Prison by Shaka Senghor. Library programs: