Race and Inclusion

Racial Justice and Inclusiveness Committee

The Friends of Roslindale Branch Library have formed a Racial Justice and Inclusiveness Committee to plan educational events, discussions, and presentations related to race, ethnicity, religion and culture.  We also created a special list of books related to these topics.

If you are interested in joining our committee, email info@friendsofroslindalelibrary.org.


Schedule of Events


teensTeens Talk: Race + Identity in 2017
Thursday, May 25, 6:30 PM - 8 PM
Washington Irving Middle School

Join us for some real talk about race in America with our panel of high school students. This event will also feature a resource fair. All community members are invited, especially middle and high school students and their families. Pizza will be served!

This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of Roslindale Library, Mozart Elementary School Race and Ethnicity Committee, Irving Middle School, Beaver Country Day School & Mass Audubon's Boston Nature Center.

We will have panelists from the following schools: Meridian Academy, Wellesley High School, Cristo Rey Boston, Boston Latin School, and Beaver Country Day School.

diversewordbubbleRace and Identity in the Workplace with Michelle Kweder
Thursday, June 1, 6 pm
Roslindale Library

Join us for this hands-on workshop that deals with conflicts and discrimination in the workplace. Through the discussion of everyday scenarios, we will begin to develop the tools to identify and confront speech and actions that undermine our efforts to create inclusive organizations. You will leave better prepared to make change one-on-one, in teams, and across organizations.

Michelle Kweder, MBA, Ph.D., is returning by popular demand after her February bystander awareness workshop. She was recently named an Edmond J. Safra Fellow-in-Residence at Harvard University.

Summer Reading Series


Book Discussion: Redefining Realness
Thursday, June 22, 6:30 pm
Roslindale Library

We will have a discussion about author Janet Mock's life experience and the current climate for the transgender community. The Friends purchased a limited number of copies of the book for patrons to borrow from Roslindale Library on a first come, first served basis.

Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More
By Janet Mock

In her profound and courageous New York Times bestseller, Janet Mock establishes herself as a resounding and inspirational voice for the transgender community—and anyone fighting to define themselves on their own terms.

With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Janet Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor, and trans in America, offering readers accessible language while imparting vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. Though undoubtedly an account of one woman’s quest for self at all costs, Redefining Realness is a powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing us all toward greater acceptance of one another—and of ourselves—showing as never before how to be unapologetic and real.

gilded yearsBook Discussion: The Gilded Years
Thursday, July 20, 6:30 PM
Roslindale Library

We will discuss the real-life story of Anita Hemmings, a Roxbury native and the first black woman to graduate from Vassar College who got caught up in a scandal because she "passed" for white to attend the school.  We will explore how she navigated race, gender, class, and identity at the turn of the 20th century.  The Friends purchased a limited number of copies of the book for patrons to borrow from Roslindale Library on a first come, first served basis.

The Gilded Years
By Karin Tanabe

Since childhood, Anita Hemmings has longed to attend the country’s most exclusive school for women, Vassar College. Now, a bright, beautiful senior in the class of 1897, she is hiding a secret that would have banned her from admission: Anita is the only African-American student ever to attend Vassar. With her olive complexion and dark hair, this daughter of a janitor and descendant of slaves has successfully passed as white but now finds herself rooming with Louise “Lottie” Taylor, the scion of one of New York’s most prominent families.

Though Anita has kept herself at a distance from her classmates, Lottie’s sphere of influence is inescapable, her energy irresistible, and the two become fast friends. Pulled into her elite world, Anita learns what it’s like to be treated as a wealthy, educated white woman—the person everyone believes her to be—and even finds herself in a heady romance with a moneyed Harvard student. It’s only when Lottie becomes infatuated with Anita’s brother, Frederick, whose skin is almost as light as his sister’s, that the situation becomes particularly perilous. And as Anita’s college graduation looms, those closest to her will be the ones to dangerously threaten her secret.

Set against the vibrant backdrop of the Gilded Age, an era when old money traditions collided with modern ideas, Tanabe has written an unputdownable and emotionally compelling story of hope, sacrifice, and betrayal—and a gripping account of how one woman dared to risk everything for the chance at a better life.

you can't touch my hairBook Discussion: You Can't Touch My Hair
Thursday, August 17, 6:30 PM
Roslindale Library

We will discuss some of the modern nuances of black feminism today, from institutional racism to the politics of black hair.  The Friends purchased a limited number of copies of the book for patrons to borrow from Roslindale Library on a first come, first served basis.

You Can't Touch My Hair: And Other Things I Still Have to Explain
By Phoebe Robinson

Being a black woman in America means contending with old prejudices and fresh absurdities every day. Comedian Phoebe Robinson has experienced her fair share over the years: she's been unceremoniously relegated to the role of "the black friend," as if she is somehow the authority on all things racial; she's been questioned about her love of U2 and Billy Joel ("isn’t that . . . white people music?"); she's been called "uppity" for having an opinion in the workplace; she's been followed around stores by security guards; and yes, people do ask her whether they can touch her hair all. the. time. Now, she's ready to take these topics to the page—and she’s going to make you laugh as she’s doing it.

Using her trademark wit alongside pop-culture references galore, Robinson explores everything from why Lisa Bonet is "Queen. Bae. Jesus," to breaking down the terrible nature of casting calls, to giving her less-than-traditional advice to the future female president, and demanding that the NFL clean up its act, all told in the same conversational voice that launched her podcast, 2 Dope Queens, to the top spot on iTunes. As personal as it is political, You Can't Touch My Hair examines our cultural climate and skewers our biases with humor and heart, announcing Robinson as a writer on the rise.