Fall Diversity Reader: House on Mango Street

The Fall 2017 Diversity Reader event took place on Nov. 1 during the late afternoon in the Lowman Student Center Ballroom, where students gathered to read Sandra Cisneros’ “House on Mango Street”.

Dr. Jeffrey Littlejohn opened the event by introducing the moderators for the evening who were Dr. Ching-In Chen and Dr. Siham Bouamer. They described the event and how it would run before they introduced the winner of the Hispanic Heritage Month Poetry Slam, Indya Finch, to perform her poem ‘How to be Puerto Rican in 10 Easy Steps.’

After her poetry reading, a volunteer read one of the vignettes from the book, ‘My Name.’ Participants of the round tables then told stories about their names, where they came from and how they felt about them. After several minutes of discussion, the tables spoke to the larger groups with their thoughts and what their tables discussed. The event had two more poems read by their authors later in the evening. Both poets also performed at the Hispanic Heritage Month Poetry Slam.

Along with a short music break, where the audience listened to Solange’s “Don’t touch my Hair.”

Earlier this semester the CHSS Committee for Diversity and Inclusion and the SHSU Office of Student Activities announced, “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros as their choice for the Fall 2017 Diversity Reader.
The book is a coming of age tale about Esperanza Cordero, a young Hispanic woman growing up in Chicago. The book does not follow a traditional narrative structure. It is instead told in smaller stories. While they contribute to the overall plot, they still manage to stand independently as short stories, including one section titled ‘Hair,’ where Cordero, in vivid detail, describes the hair of her family members.
It touches on subjects such as class, the role of women and men in society and the world, sexuality, and how race and culture change what those mean to a specific group of people.

The Diversity reader event was interesting, entertaining and a must for students at SHSU searching for ways to engage in intellectual conversations about a work that invokes emotional reactions.

Previous selections for the Diversity reader have been ‘March,’ a graphic novel about the Civil Rights Movement, and Ta-Nehisi Coates’ ‘Between the World and Me.’ The Spring 2018 choice has yet to be unveiled, but be on the lookout and pick up a free copy for one of the best events SHSU has to offer.


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