From the editor: One Book Steamboat pairs perfectly with the Pilot’s new reporting series
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Before COVID-19, before George Floyd and before Americans took to the streets to protest racial injustice, the Steamboat Pilot & Today news team was making plans for a 2020 reporting project that would focus on issues of diversity, equity and inclusivity for publication this fall. We never imagined the focus of our series would be as timely as it is right now, and we think our readers are primed to dive into our reporting, which launches mid-September.
We are calling the series Indivisible. The name is rooted in the knowledge that people feel invisible for a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, geography and income. By bringing these issues into the light, reporting on them and discussing them openly, our community can discover ways to break down these divides and build a stronger, more “indivisible” society.
And as an introduction to this important series, we are partnering with Bud Werner Memorial Library to present One Book Steamboat, which this year features the works of author and historian Ibram X. Kendi, including “How to Be an Antiracist,” “Stamped” and “Antiracist Baby.”
In light of COVID-19, community members are encouraged to create their own discussion groups — think mini book club — and to support these individual efforts, the library is providing discussion guides, a list of additional resources and a schedule of One Book watch parties to enrich and expand the conversation.
The Pilot & Today news team is reading “How to Be an Antiracist,” and then we plan to get together for an outdoor, socially-distanced, wine and charcuterie book discussion. We encourage other businesses, existing book clubs, friend groups and families to do something similar, and please feel free to share those experiences with us. You can send photos to email@example.com or post them to Instagram with the #steamboatsnaps hashtag.
The conversation could get uncomfortable, but these are the issues we must address if we have any hope of dismantling the systematic racism that has existed in our country for hundreds of years. As Kendi says, “One either allows racial inequities to persevere, as a racist, or confronts racial inequities, as an antiracist. There is no in-between safe space of ‘not racist.’”
I also think it’s powerful that this year’s One Book Steamboat offers options for all ages of readers to join the conversation surrounding race, from young adults reading “Stamped” to young children being read “Antiracist Baby.” We are lucky to have leaders at the library who are constantly seeking new ways to educate and enlighten our community through rich offerings. Even during COVID-19, the library found a way to connect people by quickly pivoting to a robust virtual events calendar, and now, we hope participation in One Book Steamboat will be greater than ever before. For information on how to get involved, visit steamboatlibrary.org/events/one-book-steamboat.
Reading Kendi’s works and then participating in group conversations about race and other issues that divide us is the perfect precursor to Indivisible. We will be partnering with Integrated Community on the series, and we appreciate their support in helping to ensure the voices of those who are marginalized or made to feel “other” in our community are heard.
And as we begin work on the series, we are committed to making sure our reporting goes beyond just identifying and quantifying the divides that exist in the Yampa Valley. Our journalists plan to delve deeper to identify solutions that can and are being implemented to help remove barriers and make our community more diverse, more equitable and more inclusive.
Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education who was the youngest recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, said, “Let us remember, one book, one pen, one child and one teacher can change the world.” And there lies our hope.
We encourage you to participate in One Book Steamboat by reading Kendi’s books and then using them as a launching pad for important conversations, and then, plan to engage with the Indivisible series. Visit SteamboatPilot.com/Indivisible for a series overview, and if you have a personal story to share as it relates to feeling “invisible” in Steamboat Springs and Routt County or if you are part of the solution to breaking down barriers that divide us, please reach out to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to talk to you about your experience, and it would help inform our series.
To reach Lisa Schlichtman, call 970-871-4221, email lschlichtman@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @lschlichtman.
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