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Mon-Sat: 9am-8pm
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VB Reads...Engaged Citizens

Read and discuss a variety of books exploring how to create a more civil and engaged community. Join Mary Dumas on the third Wednesday of the month from noon to 1:30pm . Authors DO NOT attend. Meetings are in the Readings Gallery -- brown bag lunches are encouraged. Anyone interested in exploring their role as an engaged citizen is welcome.

Wednesday, November 20, 12:00pm

The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark

When the people of Flint, Michigan, turned on their faucets in April 2014, the water pouring out was poisoned with lead and other toxins. Through a series of disastrous decisions, the state government had switched the city’s water to a source that corroded Flint’s aging lead pipes. Complaints about the foul-smelling water were dismissed: the residents of Flint—a largely poor African American city of about 100,000 people—were not seen as credible, even in matters of their own lives.

It took 18 months of activism and a band of dogged outsiders to force the state to admit that the water was poisonous. But this was only after 12 people died and Flint's children suffered irreparable harm. The long battle for accountability and a humane response to this man-made disaster have only just begun.

In the first full-length account of this epic failure, The Poisoned City recounts the gripping story of Flint’s poisoned water through the people who caused it, suffered from it, and exposed it. It is a chronicle of one town, but could also be about any American city, all made precarious by the neglect of infrastructure and the erosion of democratic decision-making. Cities like Flint are set up to fail—and for the people who live and work in them, the consequences may be mortal.

The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250181619
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - July 23rd, 2019

Wednesday, December 18, 12:00pm

Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn by Chris Hughes

The first half of Chris Hughes’s life played like a movie reel right out of the “American Dream.” He grew up in a small town in North Carolina. His parents were people of modest means, but he was accepted into an elite boarding school and then Harvard, both on scholarship. There, he met Mark Zuckerberg and Dustin Moskovitz and became one of the co-founders of Facebook.

In telling his story, Hughes demonstrates the powerful role fortune and luck play in today’s economy. Through the rocket ship rise of Facebook, Hughes came to understand how a select few can become ultra-wealthy nearly overnight. He believes the same forces that made Facebook possible have made it harder for everyone else in America to make ends meet.

To help people who are struggling, Hughes proposes a simple, bold solution: a guaranteed income for working people, including unpaid caregivers and students, paid for by the one percent. The way Hughes sees it, a guaranteed income is the most powerful tool we have to combat poverty and stabilize America’s middle class. Money—cold hard cash with no strings attached—gives people freedom, dignity, and the ability to climb the economic ladder. A guaranteed income for working people is the big idea that's missing in the national conversation.

This book, grounded in Hughes’s personal experience, will start a frank conversation about how we earn in modern America, how we can combat income inequality, and ultimately, how we can give everyone a fair shot.

Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250196590
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - February 20th, 2018