Wilkerson’s Caste Selected as OIC’s Big Read for Summer

OAKWOOD, OHIO: — The Oakwood Inclusion Coalition has selected Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson as its “Big Read” summer initiative.

The OIC will host the first book discussions virtually on June 22nd at 10 a.m. and July 15th at 7 p.m., with additional dates pending. Copies of Caste are available in a variety of formats at Wright Memorial Public Library and other local libraries. Visit www.oakwoodic.org to register for an event or to download a book discussion guide to host your own event.

Wilkerson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for her bestseller The Warmth of Other Suns, examines the unspoken caste system that has shaped America and how our lives are still defined by a hierarchy of human divisions. She explains, “… the term racism may be insufficient in our current era. We need a new language, a new framework for understanding our divisions and how we got to where we are. Caste gives us this language and allows us to see ourselves through a different lens and the chance to work toward healing from the wounds of artificial hierarchy. We must first see it to begin to resolve it.”

When asked why Caste was chosen as the first book for the OIC Big Read, Leigh Ann Fulford, who chairs the Programs and Events for the OIC, explains: “We had so many people show up at various OIC meetings talking about how Caste changed their perceptions about race in America and how they recommend this book to their family and friends. We thought we would build on this and offer discussion groups to encourage dialogue so we can better understand ourselves and our neighbors.”

Dan Turben, a retired banker and OIC board member, echoes that sentiment: “Growing up in a conservative community where issues of race were not a topic of conversation, I find Wilkerson’s book illuminating and feel it should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding the complexities of the race relations that haunt this country. Mine has been a journey of eighty-years, and my fervent prayer is that ours is a more equitable future for people of all races.”

The OIC is a newly formed organization created to study, promote, and celebrate an inclusive, equitable, diverse, and welcoming environment and community for everyone who lives, works, visits, or passes through Oakwood. Comprised of government, school, and library officials, private citizens, faith, ethnic and cultural leaders, and representatives from the business and media communities in the Oakwood area, the OIC is not affiliated with any political party and is open to all.

For information about the OIC and updates regarding “Big Read” events and resources, visit www.oakwoodic.org.

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If you would like more information, please contact Leigh Ann Fulford at 937-294-3816 or ladfulford@gmail.com.

Oakwood Inclusion Coalition (OIC)

219 Orchard Drive, Oakwood, OH 45419

Date: June 1, 2021