The Campus Community Book Project is more than a book. The project also has lectures and discussions, a film and a performance, discussions and exhibits (including Justice for All? in Shields Library). The first lecture is Wednesday (Oct. 21).
You can start reading anytime, of course, or maybe you’ve already begun or finished The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap, in which investigative reporter and Rolling Stone magazine contributor Matt Taibbi ponders a “bizarre statistical mystery” two decades in the making: Poverty goes up. Crime goes down. The prison population doubles.
And, he says in his New York Times best-seller, not one of the new prisoners is among the rich whose fraud wiped out 40 percent of the world’s wealth.
The book project lectures and panels and other events (most of them free, and all open to the public) are in addition to the book’s inclusion in many course syllabi this fall quarter. Everything leads up to the author’s visit, Feb. 3, for two events: a panel discussion (free and open to the public) and an evening talk followed by a book signing.
‘If you cannot afford an attorney …’
In questioning the adequacy of legal representation for low-income people, Taibbi tells about Andrew Brown’s in New York criminal court after his arrest on a charge of “obstructing pedestrian traffic” just before 1 a.m. outside his apartment building. The 35-year-old black man had been similarly harassed countless times before, Taibbi writes.
Brown told his defense attorney (paid by the state to represent low-income defendants): There was no pedestrian traffic to obstruct at 1 in the morning. Nevertheless, the lawyer advised Brown to pay the $25 fine. Brown refused and told the judge the same thing he told the attorney, prompting the judge to ask the arresting officer: Did you see any other people on the sidewalk? No, came the response.
“Not guilty,” the judge declared. Out in the hallway, Taibbi asks the attorney why white people never get arrested for obstructing pedestrian traffic.
“Low-class people do low-class things,” Taibbi quotes the attorney as saying.
Legal representation also happens to be the topic of the first lecture in the 2015-16 Campus Community Book Project:
- "'If You Cannot Afford One …': Access to Legal Counsel in the Age of Inequality” — Lisa Pruitt, professor, School of Law; and Gary Smith, executive director of Legal Services of Northern California. Oct. 21.
The first week’s programming also includes (click on title for details):
- “Roadblocks and Road Signs Toward Increasing Diversity in Higher Education” — Lecture by Steven Lee, graduate diversity officer, STEM disciplines, Office of Graduate Studies. Oct. 22.
- Inequality for All — The 2013 documentary, presented by the course “Writing in Social Justice” (University Writing Program 104J). Oct. 23.
Next week’s schedule includes a panel, a lecture, and a program combining a lecture and performance:
- "Health Inequities and the Homeless: Bridging the Gap" — Panel featuring student-run clinics. Oct. 26 (Sacramento campus).
- "Let Me Breathe: Hip-Hop and the Black Lives Matters Movement in Northern California" — Sarah Lappas, ethnomusicology, California State University, Sacramento. Lecture accompanied by a performance. Oct. 27.
- “Structural Inequality in the Age of Sustainability, Maintaining the Racial/Spatial Wealth Gap” — Jesus Hernandez, lecturer, Department of Sociology. Oct. 29.
- Interprofessional Book Club, UC Davis Health System, Sacramento — Oct. 16, Nov. 9 and Jan. 29.
- Sacramento Community Book Discussion Forum: Is Justice Truly Blind? How the Justice System Operates for the Rich vs. the Poor — Oct. 27.
- Davis Public Library Book Group — Nov. 19.
- Justice for All?: Researching "The Divide" from Occupy Wall Street to Black Lives Matter — Resources that can facilitate a discussion about contemporary structural inequalities and their cultural fallout. October-February, first-floor lobby, Shields Library. In preparing the exhibit, David Michalski, social and cultural studies librarian, selected scholarly work from across a variety of academic fields to explore the role geography, cultural norms, economics and social policy play in the maintenance of inequality and the construction of social control. He also devloped an online bibliography and research guide for students looking to pursue these important questions.
- Ai Weiwei Circle of Animals: Zodiac Heads — Jan. 24-May 1, Crocker Art Museum, 216 O St., Sacramento.
- Revealing Ai Weiwei (interactive) — Jan. 24-May 1, Crocker Art Museum.
Author’s visit: Wednesday, Feb. 3
- The Forum @MC — "Movement of the Moment or an Old Battle Cry: Black Lives Matter," a panel discussion. Moderated by Scott Syphax, president and chief executive officer, Nehemiah Companies; and host and co-executive producer, KVIE Public Television’s Studio Sacramento. 4-5 p.m., Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. Free.
- Author’s talk — Same title as his book, The Divide: American Injustice in the Age of the Wealth Gap. 8-9:30 p.m., Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center. Book signing to follow in the Yocha Dehe Grand Lobby. Tickets are available online or by visiting or calling the box office. It’s open from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and one hour before all ticketed events. Telephone: (530) 754-2787 or (800) 754-2787.
See all book project events. All events are open to the public, and all are free except the author's evening talk and the Crocker Art Museum exhibits.