Social Justice Book Discussion: ‘The Other Wes Moore’

Hiral Patel

UMKC’s Division of Diversity and Inclusion held its annual Social Justice Book Discussion on Oct. 9 at the Miller Nichols Library.

This year’s book discussion focused on the novel “The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates” by Wes Moore. This book shares the story of the author, and another man by the name of Wes Moore he encountered in his lifetime. The author compared and contrasted his life to his name-sharing counterpart, discussing where their paths forked and separated their faiths.

Scott Curtis, Research and Liaison Librarian at Miller Nichols Library, led the discussion.

“Both Wes Moores took actions to change their situations,” Curtis said. “The sad tragedy of the other Wes Moore was that the changes that he made were not then supported and there was not a path to continue on the changes that he made.”

Curtis noted that mentors and outside influences are some of the key causes of how a person turns out.

“[His senior- level cadet] models a lot of what he does afterwards,” Curtis said about the author. “It’s like a pile of sand. You take out one little grain of sand, you don’t see a difference, but when you start taking out all of the grains of sand it’s a smaller pile of sand.”

Many students and faculty members shared who influenced their lives.

“My roommate told me that success is not defined as good or bad, but how you make an impact on the world,” said Nosakhare Osa- Edoh, a discussion participant.

The book discussion intended to spread information about the upcoming Social Justice Book and Lecture Program, which will feature the author, Wes Moore.

“If you’re reading a book and it really engages you, you ought to have an outlet to talk about it,” said Curtis. “We’re doing this in the spirit of sharing and in the spirit of intellectually understanding each other— broadening our communications.”

The book discussion was held in the iX Theater, an open space in the Miller Nichols Library that allowed passersby to join the event.

“I think what really makes a book discussion successful is someone like Scott to have lead one,” said Gloria Tibbs, diversity liaison and instructional librarian at Miller Nichols Library. “He has really prepared and put a lot of thought into making it  such an environment where you will feel comfortable and where you will get such a diversity of opinions and where you have faith in our book discussion leader knowing that he is showing us respect by being prepared.”

Tibbs and Curtis start preparing for book discussions and lectures approximately six months in advance.

The Social Justice Book and Lecture Program will be held at 6 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 16 in Pierson Auditorium. All students and faculty members interested in social issues and meeting the author are encouraged to attend.