Once in a great while, an essential book goes beyond normal borders to set new parameters for public discussion. One of those books is Between the World and Me, the newest work by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a senior editor for The Atlantic magazine, and an acute observer of culture in America.
Written in the form of a letter to his adolescent son, the book carefully, passionately describes what it is to be black in America in the era of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner. Coates describes a world in which young black men of great promise and ambition must nevertheless learn to negotiate the dangers of the street and, at the same time, assert themselves against institutionalized racism. Coates reminds us that years after the era of Civil Rights, America remains a maze of impediments and frustrations to those who stand outside white majority culture. The book has been much honored since its publication and won the National Book Award in 2015.
Congregation Emunah will address the issues Coates poses in a public conversation on Between the World and Me on the evening Tuesday, May 3, at 7:00 p.m. The event will feature a panel presentation followed by round-table discussions designed to bring together citizens from all parts of the Tulsa community. Panelists will include Rev. Ray Owens, faculty member of Phillips Theological Seminary and pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church; Felicia Correia, former Chief Executive Officer of YWCA Tulsa and DVIS/Call Rape; GT Bynum, Tulsa City Councilor for District 9; and Micah Cash, graduating senior from Booker T. Washington High School. The event will be moderated by Dr. Elana Newman, R.M. McFarlin Professor of Psychology at The University of Tulsa.
This edition of Smart Conversation is part of an ongoing series of broadcasts, lectures, and public discussion, and will take place at The Synagogue at the corner of Seventeenth Street and Peoria. Attendees are encouraged to read Between the World and Me before the May 3, and may order copies online, at our local Barnes and Noble, or through the Synagogue Office by calling (918) 583-7121. This event is free and open to the public, and no advance reservations are necessary.