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Black Book Club set to hold its first meeting

Helena Lopes | Pexels

The Black Book Club is making its debut to Baruch College on March 7 as an open space for  people of color and those looking for liberation to be able to read and discuss literature.

For over a month now, sophomore Tatiana Bonner-Varchola has been spearheading the development of the BBC with help from both associate professor and former interim chair of Black and Latino Studies, Dr. Regina A. Bernard-Carreño, and president of the Black Student Union, Jaleel Thomas.

The BBC started out as a simple idea, which was to provide Baruch students with an outlet and safe space to enjoy books written by black authors that can, in Varchola’s words, “allow us to talk about our experiences in a concrete manner.”

Bernard-Carreño came up with the idea for the club because so many of her Black Studies students hadn’t heard of the writers they were reading in her class. She says that students were “coming up with constant requests for more,” and “would email me and ask for Black books or Latino/a book authors that I thought they’d find interesting.”

Fostering and cultivating solidarity among all black students from various places within the African diaspora throughout the Baruch student community is one of Varchola’s goals, and books are a great way to build a sense of community.

For the black students who partake in the club, Varchola hopes that they are able to better understand their blackness, identity and liberation through thoughtful discussions and readings that would be available both online and in person.

“With the help of wonderful students like Tatiana who has her finger on the pulse of the student body, we are working together to try and make this a reality but also a key component to the field of promoting and elevating work outside of the mainstreams,” said Bernard-Carreño.

Varchola’s and Bernard-Carreño’s sentiments are also shared by Thomas.

“Black literacy is undoubtedly important because it tells the story of POC in the past and the path to growth and development in the future,” Thomas said.

He continued on to say that he hopes the BBC “brings a sense of transparency to black culture by elucidating historical taboos.”

The BBC will be structured differently than most of the other clubs on Baruch’s campus. In-person meetings will happen only once or twice a month, with online discussions being the main mode of communication. Through the club, readings will be readily accessible to those who are interested, and guided questions will also be provided online and in person.

The club is an extension of BSU and will also function as a mini library, where students will be able to drop by and pick up a physical book.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin is said to be the first book that the club’s participants will read, but the club’s first general interest meeting has not yet been announced.

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