To the City College Community,
I’m pleased to announce the second annual “Community Read” project at CCNY. Our project is an effort to pull the entire CCNY community, including our partner organizations throughout Harlem, together with around an effort to read and discuss, a work that carries particular significance to our campus, especially in these difficult times. Conceived initially as a way to welcome new students to the college by engaging them in a joint exploration of a text, we are happy to include anyone on campus who would like to join.
Once again, the selection committee worked diligently over the past months to select an appropriate work, and I am happy to say that they have made an inspirational selection. After reviewing dozens of nominated books, the committee decided to adopt The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, written by Heather McGhee, former president of the inequality-focused think tank Demos. The Sum of Us relates McGhee’s personal journal as she explores the historical roots of policies that shape the America in which we live, and in so doing challenges our assumptions about the possibilities of contemporary America.
As part of the project, we are thrilled to announce that Ms. McGhee has agreed to serve as the keynote speaker at this year’s Freshman Convocation, giving our campus community the opportunity to discuss The Sum of Us.
The last 18 months have been a difficult time for us all. The pandemic has opened fundamental questions about how hardship deepens and exposes the inequities that exist in our society, and how these inequities, in turn, produce disparate experiences of violence, power, and injustice. But the pandemic has also deprived us all of the daily regeneration, in human contact, of our community. The idea of us all joining together to read and discuss relevant work is designed both to direct our collective attention to issues of race and injustice and to help reconstitute our community.
The committee that worked on this selection process put in many hours, sifting through recommendations, weighing the merits of one work against another, and thinking deeply about what kind of a conversation they wish to convene. All of us at CCNY will benefit from your careful review of these works and each of you has my gratitude for your hard work and wisdom.
We have a limited number of complimentary copies available of The Sum of Us. All divisional offices will have copies of the book, and we welcome you to drop by your advising office in person during the month of August to pick up a hardcover copy. We will also have distribution tables on Lewisohn Plaza (the Convent Avenue side of the NAC Building) on August 23rd from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm, August 24th from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm, and August 26th from noon to 1:30 pm. Alternatively, if you would like an electronic copy, you can complete the request form here https://forms.gle/3m4MB4gkHGcakFFh6.
The CCNY Community Read Committee:
Bobby Derival, Executive Director, Master in Public Administration Program, Colin Powell School
Lydia Gerson, Director of the Gateway Academic Center
Karen Hubbard, Professor of Biology
David Jeruzalmi, Chair of Faculty Senate, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Anne Kornhauser, Chair and Associate Professor of History
Loren Mendelsohn, Acting Chief of Technical Services, CCNY Libraries
Wendy Meza, CCNY ’21 MA in English Literature
Michael Miller, Director of Undergraduate Affairs, Spitzer School of Architecture
Renata Kobetts Miller (Chair), Deputy Dean of Humanities and the Arts, Professor of English
Jeff Morris, Professor of Chemical Engineering and Director of the Levich Institute, Grove School of Engineering
Dee Dee Mozeleski, Vice President of the Office of Institutional Advancement and Communications, Executive Director of the Foundation for City College, and Senior Advisor to the President of City College
Herbert Seignoret, Academic Advisor, Colin Powell School
Araceli Tinajero, Professor of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures
Ardie Walser, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Grove School of Engineering, Professor of Electrical Engineering