By Felicia Castricone, Program Officer, Refugee Resettlement Services Catholic Charities of Onondaga County Northside CYO

The 2021 Syracuse Citywide Book Club includes selections that reflect quality of life themes of diversity and infrastructure for healthy urban cities. The City welcomes group involvement in this year’s book club by engaging with community partners who help make civic dialogue and program delivery possible. To learn about how to read along or become a partner, contact Emma Spector at Follow along on the Syracuse Citywide Book Club page at We welcome commentary from residents, such as below, and can share posts here in our blog.

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Between the World and Me is a hard book to read, not because of the prose, but because it forces the reader to confront the reality of personal and institutional racism within our own country. We tend to think of citizens facing trauma, daily fear, and oppression as something that happens in other countries. Perhaps it is more blatant there, but Coates draws us into his personal experience of living as a Black person in America, where the racism is hidden and covered-up, but just as impactful. The stories of George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Daunte Wright, Elijah McClain, Daniel Prude, Breonna Taylor and too many others have helped uncover the harsh reality of American institutional racism and sparked justifiable outrage. Coates’ digs further down and lets the reader see the daily disenfranchising effects of racism on the whole community.

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