SED Reads 2017 engages community in graphic novel & Civil Rights discussion

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Panelists Chris Martell, Rob Stull, and Martin Henson, and moderator Caysie Carter. // PHOTO BY MICHELLE PORCHE

The second annual SED Reads event attracted students, faculty and staff from Boston University School of Education, as well as others from across the larger BU community, including those from Questrom, and the Howard Thurman center.

The SED Reads event was sponsored by the Student Services Office, the SED Graduate Student Association, and the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee. Earlier in the year a dedicated committee made up of SED faculty, staff and students selected March: Book Two in order to connect our community around a compelling and historically accurate account of Georgia Congressmen John Lewis’s experiences in the civil rights movement during his own college years. The generosity of the SED Student Services Office, the SED Graduate Student Association, and Dean Hardin Coleman made it possible to provide free copies of the book to members of our community to participate in the read.

Prior to the community read event, lecturer Laura Jiménez offered three sessions of Graphic Novels 101 for members of the community to become familiar with what to look for and how to read a graphic novel.

The evening began with more than seventy-five people crowding in the School of Education lobby to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and “table top discussions” about the graphic memoir, authored by Congressman Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. Small groups gathered around tables with pop-up signs asking readers to consider history, their own emotional reactions, as well as specific images and scenes from the book. People were encouraged to talk, eat and think with each other.

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Laura Jiménez addresses the audience. // PHOTO BY MICHELLE PORCHE

Following hors d’oeuvres with small group discussions, a ninety-minute question and answer session was held featuring Martin Henson, a representative from the Boston chapter of Black Lives Matter; Rob Stull, a professional comics illustrator; and SED Clinical Assistant Professor Christopher Martell, with Director of Undergraduate Student Services Caysie Carter acting as moderator. The panel discussion was lively and engaging with each panelist bringing his expertise to the fore to help the audience think more deeply about the book, the representation of Black people in comics, and civil rights engagement. The audience had time to ask questions, clarify and show their appreciation for the book and the conversations.

As the Spring semester draws to a close, we look forward to seeing even more people involved in next year’s SED Reads: 2018!

By Laura Jiménez, Lecturer of Literacy.