Coming Together 2020

Posted on February 12, 2020. Filed under: Event, Fiction, Information, Nonfiction | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Each year, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Skokie, and Niles come together as a community to build knowledge and understanding between people of different groups and age in an event known as Coming Together. This event includes various book discussions, library events, and activities to understand diversity. This year’s theme is Journey’s To Niles Township. As part of the celebration, Oakton Community College will host the following events:


Book discussion:  They Called Us Enemy by George Takei

George Takei tells his story of childhood imprisonment during World War II within US government-run Japanese-American internment camps. This graphic novel examines questions like what does it mean to be American? Who gets to decide that? How do you respond when the world is against you?

Oakton Community College, Skokie Campus, Room C114
​Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 2 to 3 p.m.

Human Library event

Check out a ‘human book’ and have a conversation with your ‘books’ to learn about their journey to Niles and Maine Townships. We hope to have a wide variety of ‘books’ to check out. The Human Library concept was designed to create an atmosphere where an honest conversation can be had in a safe environment. Learn from our community members about their journeys, their triumphs, and their challenges. Stop by the libraries at each campus to check out your ‘book.’ This program is a collaboration between Oakton Community College Library and Oakton’s Office of Student Life and Campus Inclusion.

Oakton Community College Library, Skokie Campus – Room A200
Tuesday, March 10, 10 – 12 noon, 1 – 3 p.m.
Thursday, March 12, 10 – 12 noon, 1 – 3 p.m.

Oakton Community College Library, Des Plaines Campus
Monday, March 9, 10 – 12 noon, 1 – 3 p.m.
Wednesday, March 11, 10 – 12 noon, 1 – 3 p.m.

Celebration of our Diversity

Oakton Community College, Skokie Campus – Room TBA
Thursday, March 12, 6:30 p.m.

Learn More!

Want to explore more on this topic? The following books are available for check out at our library.

They Called Us Enemy
written by Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, George Takei; art by Harmony Becker

“George Takei has captured hearts and minds worldwide with his captivating stage presence and outspoken commitment to equal rights. But long before he braved new frontiers in Star Trek, he woke up as a four-year-old boy to find his own birth country at war with his father’s—and their entire family forced from their home into an uncertain future.

In 1942, at the order of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, every person of Japanese descent on the west coast was rounded up and shipped to one of ten ‘relocation centers,’ hundreds or thousands of miles from home, where they would be held for years under armed guard.

They Called Us Enemy is Takei’s firsthand account of those years behind barbed wire, the joys and terrors of growing up under legalized racism, his mother’s hard choices, his father’s faith in democracy, and the way those experiences planted the seeds for his astonishing future.

What is American? Who gets to decide? When the world is against you, what can one person do? To answer these questions, George Takei joins co-writers Justin Eisinger & Steven Scott and artist Harmony Becker for the journey of a lifetime” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

In the Country We Love: My Family Divided
by Diane Guerrero, Michelle Burford

“In the Country We Love is a moving, heartbreaking story of one woman’s extraordinary resilience in the face of the nightmarish struggles of undocumented residents in this country. There are over 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US, many of whom have citizen children, whose lives here are just as precarious, and whose stories haven’t been told. Written with bestselling author Michelle Burford, this memoir is a tale of personal triumph that also casts a much-needed light on the fears that haunt the daily existence of families likes the author’s and on a system that fails them over and over” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

book cover for American Like MeAmerican Like Me: Reflections on Life between Cultures
edited by America Ferrera with E. Cayce Dumont

“From award-winning actress and political activist America Ferrera comes a vibrant and varied collection of first person accounts from prominent figures about the experience of growing up between cultures. America Ferrera has always felt wholly American, and yet, her identity is inextricably linked to her parents’ homeland and Honduran culture. Speaking Spanish at home, having Saturday-morning-salsa-dance-parties in the kitchen, and eating tamales alongside apple pie at Christmas never seemed at odds with her American identity. Still, she yearned to see that identity reflected in the larger American narrative.

Now, in American Like Me, America invites thirty-one of her friends, peers, and heroes to share their stories about life between cultures. We know them as actors, comedians, athletes, politicians, artists, and writers. However, they are also immigrants, children or grandchildren of immigrants, indigenous people, or people who otherwise grew up with deep and personal connections to more than one culture. Each of them struggled to establish a sense of self, find belonging, and feel seen. And they call themselves American enthusiastically, reluctantly, or not at all. Ranging from the heartfelt to the hilarious, their stories shine a light on a quintessentially American experience and will appeal to anyone with a complicated relationship to family, culture, and growing up” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

Other Words for Home
by Jasmine Warga

“Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives.

At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of ‘Middle Eastern,’ an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.

This lyrical, life-affirming story is about losing and finding home and, most importantly, finding yourself” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

by Alan Gratz

“Josef is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world. Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America. Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe. All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end. This action-packed novel tackles topics both timely and timeless: courage, survival, and the quest for home” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

Behold the Dreamers: A Novel
by Imbolo Mbue

“In the fall of 2007, Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Their situation only improves when Jende’s wife Neni is hired as household help. But in the course of their work, Jende and Neni begin to witness infidelities, skirmishes, and family secrets. Then, with the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, a tragedy changes all four lives forever, and the Jongas must decide whether to continue fighting to stay in a recession-ravaged America or give up and return home to Cameroon” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

The Undefeated
by Kwame Alexander; illustrated by Kadir Nelson

“The Newbery Award-winning author of The Crossover pens an ode to black American triumph and tribulation, with art from a two-time Caldecott Honoree. Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

Front Desk
by Kelly Yang

“Mia Tang has a lot of secrets. Number 1: She lives in a motel, not a big house. Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, ten-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests. Number 2: Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they’ve been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed. Number 3: She wants to be a writer. But how can she when her mom thinks she should stick to math because English is not her first language? It will take all of Mia’s courage, kindness, and hard work to get through this year. Will she be able to hold on to her job, help the immigrants and guests, escape Mr. Yao, and go for her dreams?” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

-posted by Kevin Purtell, Huma Abdulaziz, and Gretchen Schneider

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