MUSCATINE — This April, the Stanley Center in coordination with Muscatine Community College and the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine will host a virtual Global Education event focusing on racial injustice.
As part of the Stanley Center’s Author Conversation series, the organization will be holding “Inclusive Dialogue: Confronting Racial Injustice” on Tuesday, April 20, at 6 p.m.
“As partners, all organizations value opportunities for meaningful dialogue to promote diversity and inclusion in the Muscatine community,” Krista Regennitter, program officer for Global Education, said.
“Hosting events such as these has been a great way to harness the power of storytelling and engage the audience with different points of view," Regennitter said. "Creating purposeful dialogue on issues related to systemic racism in U.S. society equips us to better fight these injustices.”
Joining this virtual event will be author Jason Reynolds, who has co-written the novel “All American Boys” with Brendan Keily. Reynolds has also released “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” in 2020, a Young Adult remix of Ibram X. Kendi’s book “Stamped from the Beginning," and is an ambassador at the Library of Congress for Young People’s Literature.
Reynolds and Keily give their perspectives as a black man and a white man, respectively, to create what they have called an “important, unique and honest work” that’s meant to not only educate but also give readers a means to help them through difficult yet important conversations. The novel focuses on current issues in America such as systemic racism and police brutality and how they can then affect the lives of young people.
“Jason has an important story to tell and is very engaging. We are beyond excited to host him, even if only virtually, in Muscatine,” Regennitter said. “The book is based on each author’s real-world experiences, which inspire us to think critically about race relations in the United States."
Additionally, the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine’s diversity committee, which is led by local youth leaders, will be there at the event as moderators, along with helping plan the event. Students from the Muscatine Community School District who are currently reading Reynolds’ book will also get a chance to speak with the author outside of the event.
"We knew we wanted to find a YA (Young Adult) author for the spring Inclusive Dialogue event and partner with the MCSD," Regennitter said. "We were very excited to learn that the MHS English department had already planned to read the book as part of their spring semester. So, it was a win-win to bring Jason in."
MCC President Naomi DeWinter said the college was pleased to help sponsor an event on such an important topic, adding the college wants to play a part in helping the residents and the city of Muscatine be welcoming to all people, as well as give all people an equal chance to succeed.
“Conversations, such as the one hosted with author Imbolo Imbue in the fall and now with Jason Reynolds can help deepen our understanding of each other’s experiences,” DeWinter said.
“We hope participants take away a more comprehensive understanding of racial injustice in the United States,” Regennitter said. “Through storytelling, we hope people will see issues from multiple perspectives and use that information to critically reflect on their own beliefs and behaviors.”
Regennitter said this event also relates directly to the goals of the Global Education program at the Stanley Center to foster inclusive dialogue, celebrate diverse perspectives, and promote equity to build a more peaceful and just world.
“I would encourage anyone in the community who has an interest in broadening their perspective on racial injustice to join the event. Also, I have watched many videos of Jason’s talks and he is a knowledgeable and engaging presenter, you will not want to miss it,” Regennitter said.
To register for the event, visit https://stanleycenter.org/iowa-community/inclusivedialogue. The event is open to anyone and registration is free. However, those wishing to attend must register before the event. A link to the event will be sent after the registration process is complete.
Limited copies of “All American Boys” can be found at the Musser Public Library in Muscatine. The book can also be purchased at Soul Book Nook Book, a Waterloo bookstore that focuses specifically on novels and books written by people of color.