In our mission to enrich lives, Mid-Columbia Libraries partners with organizations and individuals to bring thought-provoking, timely, and culturally relevant topics of interest to our community. Lectures are free and open to the public.
Tue, May 25th 6:30pm
Ask who Atticus Finch is, and most will remember him from high school English as the heroic lawyer defending an unjustly charged African-American man in "To Kill a Mockingbird." Ever since Harper Lee imagined him into life in 1960, the name “Atticus Finch” has become shorthand for a person who acts according to their conscience, not majority rule. This talk delves into the many ways our country is deeply shaped by Harper Lee, as well as by the best-selling author who lived in the century before her—Harriet Beecher Stowe. Using "To Kill a Mockingbird" and Stowe’s "Uncle Tom’s Cabin"—the novel largely credited with moving the United States into the Civil War—Michelle Liu invites participants to think about how these two works of fiction still fundamentally shape, as well as limit, how we think about skin color, morality, and who counts as human. How can fiction help us imagine building more empathy and openness to those with experiences different from our own? *Contains mature themes. Michelle Liu is a professor in the English department at the University of Washington, where she specializes in teaching writing and exploring ideas about identity, history, emotion, and storytelling. Liu also has spoken at the University of Washington Zhejiang Summer Program to undergraduate-age Chinese students to introduce them to racial dynamics in the Seattle area. Liu earned her PhD in American studies from Yale University. Liu lives in Seattle. Register for the Zoom event: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYpcu-grDoiHNUsxSyDJshGZ0wCq0y5Vm3N
Tue, Jun 8th 6:30pm
In March of 1942, 227 Japanese Americans were forcibly removed from their homes on Bainbridge Island by the US Army. Starting with this small community, a national strategy began, with more than 120,000 Japanese American men, women, and children forcibly removed and incarcerated during World War II. Clarence Moriwaki shares the story of Bainbridge Island—the origin point of the Japanese American exclusion—to provide a human, historical account of this national tragedy, and to ask the question: Are there parallels to what’s happening in America now? Moriwaki uses historical images, including historical and current propaganda, to explore the fear, racism, and failure of political leadership that led to these unconstitutional actions during World War II, and why we must not let it happen again. Moriwaki is the president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community and a founder and former president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association. Moriwaki has written guest editorials on the subject that have been published nationwide. Moriwaki has served as a spokesperson for administrations including the Clinton Administration, the Office of the Governor, and Congressman Jay Inslee. Register for the Zoom event: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAlcOChrzooGNNZ9ISkf6jpEMDP8UZX35OL