1stUUPB’s Second Saturday
Book Group
2023-2024 Season

Excerpt from The Hill We Climb

“We will not be turned around
or interrupted by intimidation
because we know our inaction and inertia
will be the inheritance of the next generation.
Our blunders become their burdens.
But one thing is certain:
If we merge mercy with might,
and might with right,
then love becomes our legacy
And change our children’s birthright.”
-Amanda Gorman

In January 2020, 22 year-old poet Amanda Gorman read her original poem The Hill We Climb at Joseph Biden’s Presidential inauguration. It is a stunningly beautiful poem that acknowledges this country’s past transgressions and current challenges and charges us to make choices that will leave a better world for our children. Last May, a Miami-Dade school restricted access to the poem due to a complaint by one parent that it contained “indirect hate messages” and “was not educational.”

So, this is where we find ourselves in the United States today, and it was the impetus for both developing our theme, The Hill We Climb, and compiling our reading list for the Second Saturday Book Group’s 2023-2024 season.

The issues we grappled with as they pertained to the books under consideration were: Understanding that actions of the past have impacted us unevenly here in the United States – some have benefited from them, and others have been hindered – what is it that we want to leave to future generations? And how? Do we have the courage to shape our legacy with compassion, justice, and respect in the face of rage, intimidation, and ignorance?

Everything we do sends a message about what has value and meaning to us: from the laws we pass, to how we regard our neighbors, to how we care for the earth, to how we nurture our children, and even to the books and poems we censor. As Unitarian Universalists, we try to live an intentional life that includes lifting up those voices that are often drowned out. Many times those voices belong to our own children. In our book list for 2023-2024 we hear a variety of young voices that, like Ms. Gorman’s, display resilience, determination, and confidence that our love can change our children’s birthright.

Here is our book list for the 2023-2024 season:

Theme: The Hill(s) We Climb

November 11th (Zoom): Demon Copperhead (Barbara Kingsolver) (560 pp)
Facilitator: Shirley Bloomquist
December 9th (Zoom): Bewilderment (Richard Powers) (288 pp)
Facilitator: Lauren Furst
January 20th (In person): Fellowship Point (Alice Elliott Dark) (592 pp)
Facilitator: Robert Streb
February 10th (In person): The House on Mango Street (Sandra Cisneros) (110 pp)
Facilitator: Nancy Stone
March 9th (In person): The Color of Water (James McBride) (295 pp)
Facilitator: Steve Pock
April 13th (In person): Our Missing Hearts (Celeste Ng) (352 pp)
Facilitator: Dorie Maxwell

All sessions will be 10:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., and all will be on second Saturdays, except in January, when we shall meet on the third Saturday. The Martin Luther King, Jr. parade traditionally is on January’s second Saturday, and we wish to avoid conflict with that.  All in person sessions will be in the Sanctuary.

Ms. Gorman ends her poem with these words:

“…when the day comes we step out of the shade aflame and unafraid, the new dawn blooms as we free it, for there is always light if only were brave enough to see it, if only were brave enough to be it.”

We’ll be sending out emails before each month’s reading. In the meantime, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact any of us.  If you would like to be added to our email list, please notify Steve Pock at srpock@mac.com.  All are welcome and you do not have to commit to all sessions in order to join us.

Your Book Group Coordinators
Lauren Furst
Dorie Maxwell
Steve Pock
Nancy Stone

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