On May 15 the Oshtemo Branch Library hosted a Get to Know Your Muslim Neighbors event inviting folks to participate in one-on-one and small group conversations with members of our local Muslim communities. Station activities included henna and hijab tutorials and information stations about prayers and holidays. Shawarma King on Drake Road provided snacks, local Kurdish and Iranian musicians performed, and the Kalamazoo Islamic Center's imam was available to answer questions about the Quran.
If you were not able to make it to the event, or you want to do some reading on your own, check out these books from the library:
The Muslim Next Door: The Qur'an, the Media, and That Veil Thing by Sumbul Ali-Karamali
No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam by Reza Aslan
Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh
Growing Up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam by Sumbul Ali-Karamali
1001 Inventions and Awesome Facts from Muslim Civilization by National Geographic Kids
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan
There’s still time to go see And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations, the quilt show on display at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum (KVM.) But hurry, it ends June 4. Give yourself plenty of time both to appreciate the amazing artistry and also to take in the depth of the stories depicted.
The quilts have so much texture, vibrancy, passion woven into them. Many depict painful, brutal episodes of racist treatment of African-Americans in the United States’ story. The very first in the display is 3-dimensional. Instantly, you are face to face with the picture of many Africans stuffed into the hull of a slave ship headed to Virginia, while one man escapes to ‘freedom’ into the ocean. Many others offer deep celebration of the inventive, intellectual, creative, athletic, entrepreneurial, political and heroic triumphs of various African-American individuals and groups in the past 400 years.
Dr. Carolyn Mazloomi, founder of the Women of Color Quilters Network, curator of this exhibit and author of the book by the same name, will be at KVM this Sunday, May 21. If you plan to go, tickets are free, but required.
Each quilt has an artist’s statement. These appear in the book, alongside photos of their quilts. Reading the book, you have a second chance to absorb what they had to say about their piece and remember.
In case you didn’t know, right now in theatres there is a
brilliant movie called the Queen of Katwe. Starring Lupita Nyong’o, and David
Oyelowo, it follows the journey of a young girl named Phiona living in the
slums of Uganda who learns the game of chess and quickly skyrockets through the
ranks to be a national champion, even competing in international competitions
for the rank of Grandmaster. In the process, she is able to improve life
conditions for herself, her family, and uplift the community as a whole.
Right after the credits rolled, I headed straight to the
bookshelves to find out more about this incredible individual. The biographythe movie is based on, by Tim Crothers, fleshes out the inspirational tale a bit more to include the political climate of the country
at the time, and gives more details about some of the great challenges Phiona
Mutesi was able to overcome. Don’t miss
out on this great story of true life triumph!
In 1980, the
Chinese Government enacted a one child policy, mandating that each family could
only have one child in hopes of curbing the rapid population growth of the
country. This controversial policy was put into place to avoid facing another
disaster like the Great Chinese Famine from 1959-1961 that killed an estimated
15 to 30 million people.
there were unintended consequences. At the beginning of this year the one child
policy was lifted, but millions of families are still have to live with the unique
challenges it caused, such as the gender imbalance caused by widespread
infanticide, and millions of unauthorized second children who live
unacknowledged by the state, unable to attend school, or even get a library
In OneChild: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment, Mei Fong explores the
aftermath of this policy through well researched analysis, and by following
families to capture the repercussions through a more personal lens. This book
is a really fascinating, eye-opening read. I definitely recommend it.