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Building understanding one book at a time

24 Oct

Back in 2009, oral historian Anne Marie Pois interviewed three of the founders of Reading to End Racism (RER), a non-profit group in Boulder County that sends trained readers into the schools to read specially chosen books to students that stimulate conversations about discrimination and overcoming it. 

This week we release “Reading to End Racism: Building understanding one book at a time,” an “MROHP Short” produced by Jenna Woods, that distills that interview into an engaging and inspiring introduction to the program.

This video features founders Ghada Elturk, Jean Gore, and Daniel Escalante talking about efforts to make Boulder “a racism-free zone,” experiences in their own lives that sensitized them to issues of racism, what it means to become an ally of those who experience discrimination, and how RER creates change through its effect on both readers and students.

As Daniel Escalante says,

It’s through stories that we can begin to learn about each other, understand each other, begin to have compassion for each other. It’s hard to discriminate against somebody that you care about.

Watch “Reading to End Racism: Building understanding one book at a time” here or on YouTube.

First, you’ve got to be able to count

22 Mar

Uh-oh! Due to technical problems, the library’s oral history site may be down for as much as two months.  In the meantime, we will post more interviews to the library’s YouTube channel–some full interviews and some excerpts–to keep you connected to oral histories.

Today’s post: a full interview with Jean Dubofsky about her career as a lawyer and a judge, including being the youngest and first woman to serve on the Colorado Supreme Court.

She also talks about her successful argument to the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Amendment 2, the 1992 Colorado amendment that prohibited the passage of laws that provided protection against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Hear the advice she got from John Roberts (now chief justice of the Supreme Court) about being successful when arguing in front of the court: “First you’ve got to be able to count.”  

Watch a little of the interview or watch it all at to find out what Justice Roberts meant and whether it was good advice!

If you are not able to watch the interview above, click on this link:

On the week that Gov. Hickenlooper signed the civil unions bill, we thought this interview would bring a greater depth of understanding to the history of gay civil rights issues in Colorado.

Not Playing Bridge and Eating Bonbons

21 Jul

WHY DID SHE DO IT? Why did Sue Anderson join the League of Women Voters decades ago when her children were young and she had that “I’ve got to get out of the house!” feeling? She did it because:

“It wasn’t playing bridge and eating bonbons.”

In this series of video excerpts from her oral history interview, which was conducted by historian Anne Marie Pois, Anderson describes her journey from political innocent, intimidated by her first League meeting, to becoming president of  League chapters in both Virginia and Colorado. As do many women, she learned political skills and personal confidence from her work with the League. She became a person who could wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for governmental reform and then shepherd that idea to an electoral win with 60 percent of the vote.

In this video, Anderson also gives insight into the structure of the League and is candid about challenges now facing the organization.

People who know Sue Anderson tell her she should run for elected office, and she says, “No, thanks!” Watch the video and learn why.

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