One Community, One Book 2016

The UI Center for Human Rights is pleased to announce the book choice for One Community, One Book 2016–Without You, There Is No Us: My Time with the Sons of North Korea’s Elite by Suki Kim. This book is described as “a haunting memoir of teaching English to the sons of North Korea’s ruling class during the last six months of Kim Jong-il’s reign.” The author, originally from South Korea, spent two semesters teaching English at the Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST) to the sons of North Korea’s elite who had no knowledge of the outside world, no access to the Internet, and who were unable to travel freely. The students spent their time at the university in training to be soldiers and future leaders of the country.  During her time teaching at PUST, Ms. Kim was not allowed outside the walled compound alone but only with “minders”. She was aware that she was always being watched and anything she wrote was subject to censorship. Her notes for this book were kept on flash drives on her person at all times. As described on Amazon, “Without You, There Is No Us offers a moving and incalculably rare glimpse of life in the world’s most unknowable country, and at the privileged young men she calls ‘soldiers and slaves.'” Fall activities based on the book, including discussion forums, are in the planning stages. The capstone event will be an author lecture on October 9 in conjunction with the Iowa City Book Festival. By the Fall 2016 semester we will have book discussion questions available on the...

Bryan Stevenson Lecture a Success!

Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, visited the University of Iowa On Oct. 4, 2015 and gave an inspiring and dynamic lecture to a crowd of more than 1000 people. Professor Stevenson’s visit was made possible through the joint efforts of the UI Center for Human Rights, the Iowa City Book Festival, and Geneva Campus Ministries The UICHR’s own Joan Nashelsky with rest of organizing group for One Community One Book 2015 event with Just Mercy  author Professor Bryan Stevenson....

“Just Mercy” Events

Sept. 10,17,24,30 First Baptist Church Book Discussion 500 North Clinton Street Iowa City, IA Sept. 17, 7pm Paul’s Book Club Book Discussion Prairie Lights 15 South Dubuque Street Iowa City, IA Sept. 24, noon-1pm UIHC Patients Library Book Discussion 8016 JCP Elevator F, Level 8 Sept. 29 The Right to Counsel: Examining Iowa’s Indigent Defense System Senate Chamber, Old Capitol 6:30-8pm Sept. 30 Iowa City Public Library Book Discussion 123 South Linn Street Iowa City, IA Oct. 4, 2pm Bryan Stevenson Lecture Iowa Memorial Union, Main Lounge Oct. 7, 7pm Film Screening: The House I Live In Iowa City Public Library 123 South Linn Street Iowa City, IA Oct. 7, 8pm Book Discussion Barnes & Noble Books 1451 Coral Ridge Avenue Suite 1108 Coralville, IA Oct. 15, 7pm Coralville Public Library Book Discussion 1401 5th Street Coralville, IA Oct. 16, noon-1:30pm Book Discussion Conference: Social Justice after...

One Community, One Book

Begun in 2001, the UICHR’s One Community, One Book reading program invites community members to read and come together to discuss the same book with human rights or social justice themes. These discussion forums typically take place from September through November each year and a capstone event will be held during that time. When discussion questions for each book are completed they are posted on the website. Below is a list of book choices over the years. 2001 The Last Summer of Reason by Tahar Djaout Djaout’s short novel, only 145 pages long, is about the haunting absurdities of a religiously fanatical state and its brutal assault upon a small bookstore owner, Boualem Yekker. On May 26, 1993, Djaout, a poet and journalist as well as a novelist, was himself attacked by fanatical assassins as he was leaving his home in Bainem, Algeria. The unfinished manuscript for “The Last Summer of Reason” was found among his papers after his premature death. 2002 First They Killed My Father: a Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung Written in a child’s voice, the book tells in stark detail the horrors that Ung and her family suffered under the regime of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, which, through starvation, disease, forced labor, torture and execution, systematically killed an estimated 2 million Cambodians between 1975-1979. Almost one-fourth of the entire Cambodian population — men, women, and children — died. Ung bears poignant witness to this senseless slaughter. Her harrowing story of the degradation of the human spirit and the loss of innocence, of the atrocities she saw and her struggle to survive against...

*Bryan Stevenson–“American Injustice: Mercy, Humanity and Making a Difference”

*Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative and author of the New York Times bestselling book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,  will appear at the Iowa Memorial Union at 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 4. The event will be free and open to the public. Stevenson will appear as part of the Iowa City Book Festival, in conjunction with the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights One Community One Book project and as part of the Geneva Lecture Series sponsored by Geneva Campus Ministry. The attorney and law professor has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. Stevenson’s work fighting poverty and challenging racial discrimination in the criminal justice system has won him numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant. His book, Just Mercy, is the fall 2015 One Community One Book selection, and his appearance will cap a schedule of several events throughout the fall. The book was named by Time magazine as one of the 10 best books of nonfiction for 2014 and has been awarded several honors including a 2015 NAACP Image Award. Discussion questions for Just Mercy can be found here. *For more information on this speaker, please visit www.prhspeakers.com We are grateful for the support of our cosponsors: ACLU of Iowa; Chief Diversity Office; Coralville Public Library; Department of Religious Studies; Dorothy Paul; Hills Bank; Hutha Sayre; Innocence Project of Iowa; Iowa City Human Rights Commission; Jackie Blank; Just Living; Labor Center; Maureen McCue, Global Health Studies,...

Author Visit in October

Reyna Grande, author of The Distance Between Us: a Memoir, will speak in Iowa City on October 4 at 7:30pm. Her book is the 2014 choice for One Community, One Book and her talk will be part of the Iowa City Book Festival sponsored by the UNESCO City of Literature. The location of her talk will be C20 Pomerantz...

One Community One Book 2014

The Distance Between Us: a Memoir by Reyna Grande is the 2014 selection for the One Community One Book project. This book is the story of the difficulties families face when they are separated by borders. Four-year-old Reyna and her two older siblings were left behind in a small, impoverished, rural town in Mexico when her mother joined her father in El Otro Lado (the Other Side). Her father had left when Reyna was only two years old and she had no memory of him. Both parents left in search of better jobs as work was scarce in their small town of Iguala, leaving the children with their paternal grandparents. Young Reyna grappled such issues as abandonment, uncertainty, malnutrition, and mistreatment. Her older siblings, especially her sister, were her main sources of comfort. Family changes occurred and when Reyna was 10 years old, her father reluctantly took all three children across the border with him. They faced many adjustments such as learning English, avoiding deportation until they eventually got green cards and later citizenship, getting reacquainted with their father, and the feeling of not really belonging in either the U.S. or Mexico. Grande discovered books and writing, worked hard in school, earned a college degree and later a Master of Fine Arts, and found her place in her adopted country. Read the full article in Iowa Now.                   Events Workshop for Educators Teaching from “The Distance Between Us” Registration suggested-email uichr@uiowa.edu Tuesday, September 9 4-5:30pm Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Rooms A, B,C Immigration in Iowa Film Series Train to Nowhere:...

One Community, One Book 2013

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer has been selected as the 2013 book choice for One Community, One Book. Read the announcement of this year’s book choice at Iowa Now. This book tells Kamkwamba’s inspiring story of human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a land withered by drought and hunger, where hope and opportunity were hard to find. He had read about windmills and dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village, thus changing his life and the lives of those around him. William Kamkwamba was born in Dowa, Malawi, in 1987 and raised in Masitala village along the central plains. One of seven children born to sustenance farmers who grew maize and tobacco, his childhood was often interrupted by drought and hunger. At age twelve, Kamkwamba became fascinated with electricity—a luxury enjoyed by only 2 percent of Malawi. He taught himself radio repair and began tinkering with bicycle dynamos, hoping to understand the inner workings of generators. During a devastating famine in 2001 –02, William dropped out of high school during his first semester. As thousands died across the country, he continued his education by visiting a small library near his village that was funded by the American government. After seeing windmills on the cover of an 8th-grade science book, he set out to build his own machine using scavenged parts from a scrap yard. His first windmill was made from PVC pipe, a tractor fan, an old bicycle frame, and tree branches, and powered...