MUSCATINE, Iowa–Following the success of their first inclusive dialogue Nov. 15, 2020, Global Education at the Stanley Center, in conjunction with the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine and Muscatine Community College, has planned another to take place April 20. Featuring a virtual presentation from award winning author Jason Reynolds, the event hopes to make broad topics such as understanding racial injustice and promoting equality more accessible to more Muscatine County residents.
In planning this spring’s inclusive dialogue, Global Education Program Officer Krista Regennitter shared that the partner organizations hoped to find a book and author that would appeal not only to adults but to teens as well. After sharing this interest with Authors Unbound, an agency that helps book authors to speak at events, they found five possible young adult authors. Names in hand, Regennitter contacted Muscatine Community School District for advice on who to select. As luck would have it, one of the possible authors proved a natural fit. “We sent the list out to teachers to get feedback and were very excited to learn that the Muscatine High School English Department had already planned to read ‘All American Boys’ as part of their spring semester–so, it was a win-win to bring Jason Reynolds in!”
To connect what students have learned in school with Reynolds’ talk at the virtual inclusive dialogue, Global Education has arranged for a special event just for the first year and sophomore Muscatine High School students who read “All American Boys” in class. The morning of the inclusive dialogue, students will have a video call with Reynolds where peer moderators will ask him questions they collected from their classmates.
Though still several weeks away, Reggennitter hopes that many Muscatine County residents will consider reading “All American Boys” and tune in to the inclusive dialogue, which will take place virtually. A stand alone event from the previous one, she believes it will introduce new ideas about inequality in the United States and offer new ways to work to overcome it. “We hope participants take away a more comprehensive understanding of racial injustice in the United States,” Reggennitter stated: “Through storytelling, we hope people will see issues from multiple perspectives and use that information to critically reflect on their own beliefs and behaviors. This relates directly to the goals of the Global Education program at the Stanley Center to foster inclusive dialogue, celebrate diverse perspectives, and promote equity to build a more peaceful and just world.”
Community Foundation Executive Director Charla Schafer shared many of Reggennitter’s goals for the event and especially valued that it would interest younger members of the community as well, saying: “The Community Foundation is committed to further advancing equity and inclusion in Muscatine and Louisa Counties; to recognize our difference as bridges to introspection and learning. We believe offering our community youth and neighbors the opportunity to participate in this author presentation furthers these goals to improved understanding.”
Anyone wishing to view the free inclusive dialogue April 20 may do so by registering on the Stanley Center’s website.