Busboys and Poets Books Presents Voice of Witness (VOW) Book Club

Busboys and Poets Books Presents Voice of Witness (VOW) Book Club

Date and Time

Jun 8, 2022 7:00 pm

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Busboys and Poets Books is thrilled to be partnering with the Voice of Witness (VOW), an oral history nonprofit, to bring you a book club that explores injustice in today’s world through the lens of those experiencing it. This book club will focus on deepening our individual and collective understanding of various human rights crises through ethical storytelling. By ethical storytelling, we mean that the stories found within VOW books are told, recorded, written, and edited by the very people impacted by and doing the work against injustice within their communities. We’ll admit- this isn’t your average book club. But if you’re someone itching to learn more about injustice in the world, someone who wants to amplify voices previously unheard, or someone who loves nonfiction and is hoping to broaden your horizon: this is the book club for you.

Our Spring 2022 VOW Book Club pick is Mi Maria: Surviving the Storm

Mi Maria: Surviving the Storm tells the stories of Puerto Ricans who lived through Hurricane Maria in September 2017. We saw the devastation from afar through news and social media, but VOW dives deep with seventeen first-person stories from communities that are still recovering today from Maria. These stories tell us more than just the collective memory and history of Hurricane Maria- they dive deep to ask what it means to be a US citizen in a colonial context. It asks us to think intimately about climate change and to reflect on the fact- it’s here and there are entire communities today on the frontlines of the climate crisis. But, Mi Maria also shows us the love and humanity behind communities coming together in the wake of disaster. Join Busboys and Poets Books Director of Operations, Lori Barrientos Sanchez, to discuss these questions and more with others who are interested in learning more about injustice in the world. While we ask that folks do try and read as much as they can for the program, we understand that everyone reads differently and encourage folks to attend if they have an interest.

If you order a copy of the book from this Eventbrite page, you will be directly donating to the Voice of Witness project! Busboys and Poets Books is proud to be giving back to Voice of Witness through donating all profits from book sales for VOW Book Club. All event book orders are packed with care by our staff here in Washington, DC before being shipped to their new home with a bookmark. If you don’t get a copy from us, we encourage you purchase directly from Haymarket Press or your local independent bookstore on Bookshop.org. At this time, Voices of Witness does not record audiobooks from their series, and we apologize in advance for the inconvenience. If you are in need of additional resources or accommodations for accessibility reasons please do not hesitate to reach out to bookevents@busboysandpoets.com

This event is free but requires RSVP. Please RSVP to make sure you get the Zoom link to join us- the link won’t be shared publicly so don’t forget!

About MI MARIA: SURVIVING THE STORM: In September 2017, Hurricane María pummeled Puerto Rico for over thirty hours. As brutal as the storm was, more catastrophe was yet to come. Lack of government support left many in the archipelago without housing, electricity, clean drinking water, food, and medical care for months. Years later, Puerto Rico is still recovering.MI MARIA: SURVIVING THE STORM brings together seventeen first-person stories that ask what it means to be a US citizen in a colonial context, how communities come together in the wake of disaster, and how precarity is exacerbated for those on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Weaving together long-form oral histories and shorter testimonios, the book offers a multivocal peoples’ history of the storm and its long aftermath as people waited for relief and aid that rarely arrived and communities collectively organized to support one another in recovery.

Voice of Witness (VOW) is an oral history nonprofit that advances human rights by amplifying the voices of people impacted by—and fighting against—injustice. VOW’s work is driven by the transformative power of the story, and by a strong belief that an understanding of systemic injustice is incomplete without deep listening and learning from people with firsthand experience. Through an oral history book series and education program, VOW amplifies unheard voices, partners with human rights advocates, and teaches ethics-driven storytelling.

Lori Barrientos Sanchez (they/them) is Director of Operations for Busboys and Poets Books. Lori was born and raised in Washington DC before moving to Prince Georges County, MD. They have a background in molecular genetics, figural drawing, functional and nonfuctional pottery, and queer theory/politics. As you can tell, they had a hard time figuring out what they wanted to do in college and ended up combining all of their favorite interests with the desire to uplift brown and Black voices into a funny litle career in bookselling. They're still trying to get out of their undergraduate nonfiction reading habits, but are getting back into fiction slowly but surely. Ask them about picture books, old and new YA novels, books about queer history, and memoirs that make you cry but also feel cozy at heart. 

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