Gwynedd Force Book Discussion
January 13, 2021 · 7PM
Between the World and Me
Recent events have made us aware of "The Talk" – the conversations that black mothers and fathers have with their children about navigating a society full of racial landmines and booby traps. In Between the World and Me, the author provides an inside and expanded view of those important conversations.
Written as a letter to his teenage son, New York Times Bestseller author and Atlantic journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, examines the complexities and hazards of what it means to exist within a black body while coming of age in American society. Told through a series of personal narratives reflecting on his adolescence and young adulthood, Coates grapples with profound questions about race, identity, the American dream and ‘The Struggle’ to exist fully while actively fighting for black lives to matter.
In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father to his son, Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis.
Meet the Host
Leader of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice
Anita Roberson firmly believes, as the late Congressman John Lewis professed, that "if you see something that is not right, not fair, not just, you have a moral obligation to do something about it." It is this call to action that has led Anita to live a life of service committed to helping individuals and organizations solve issues related to diversity, equity and inclusion. Prior to joining the Gwynedd Mercy team, Anita served as the Middle States Regional Program Manager for A Better Chance, a national non-profit that recruits academically talented students of color for independent school placement. There, Anita delivered workshops designed to help scholars successfully transition and thrive in predominantly white institutions while also advising member independent schools on their diversity, equity and inclusion goals. Anita served as the founding Boston site director at a national non-profit that provides academic enrichment programs for first-generation college students while simultaneously training future teachers on how to serve the educational needs of students from marginalized communities.
Additionally, Anita founded a college preparatory elementary school for economically disadvantaged students. Anita has developed and executed a broad range of workshops on topics pertaining to race, gender, class, and sexual orientation and is extremely excited to join the Gwynedd Mercy community in her role as the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice Leader. In her spare time Anita loves to read, listen to podcasts, cycle, and play recreational soccer. Anita is a graduate of Cornell University.
Alicia Jones, D.O. '87
Dr. Alicia Jones is a 1987 Gwynedd Mercy High School alumna and the school’s first black student body president for this same year. Upon graduating she attended American University in Washington DC where she obtained her undergraduate degree in biological sciences. After college Alicia was intrigued by research and continued studies at Columbia University and University of Pittsburgh until she decided that her impact for the community was best served as a physician. She attended the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine where she also earned a fellowship in geriatric medicine which focused on disparities in health care in underserved minority populations. After opening her own practice and working directly with the community and local politicians for about 5 years, she wanted her impact to increase so she moved to Washington DC and entered the Federal Health market.
Alicia is a currently a Lead Associate at Booze Allen Hamilton Consulting Firm in Washington, DC and works on various federal contracts that focused on the advancements of health policy and quality management in healthcare in the ever-changing climate of health advancement.
Most importantly Alicia is a mom of 7 boys, a big, blended family that continues to stay aware of today’s political and social climates that are very real for all men and women of color and the threads of racial inequities that go along with it.
Karalyn McGrorty Derstine, Ed.D '01
Dr. Karalyn McGrorty Derstine '01 teaches American History at Gwynedd Mercy Academy. Her courses examine American history through the lens of the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy: Racism, Women, Immigration, Earth, and Nonviolence. She is also co-moderator for Mercy Effect. This student run advocacy organization at Gwynedd Mercy Academy organizes events in support of a yearly Mercy focused global initiative. Additionally, Dr. Derstine frequently collaborates with Leadership Initiatives on various projects and serves as moderator for service projects.
Kara holds two bachelor’s degrees in History and Secondary Social Studies from Temple University and a Master of Liberal Arts with a certificate in African American Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. During her time at Penn, she served as the ARCO Fellow for the Graduate Students Center and studied the international abolitionist movement (among other topics) at Exeter College, Oxford University in Oxford, England. She is a 2010 recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Award entitled “Winston Churchill and the Anglo-American Relationship.” The grant took her to Churchill College, Cambridge University to complete research in the Churchill Archives Centre. Here she created and published project-based learning lessons that expand students’ STEM skills while developing student understanding of the past. She earned her Doctorate in Education from Gwynedd Mercy University with her dissertation entitled Framing Future Academic Success While Teaching the Past: Improving Skills Literacy in a Social Studies Department. She served as a fellow at the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and is published on teaching organized labor in American History, Workers United: The Knights of Labor (2014), and pandemics in American History, Pestilence and Pandemics in Pennsylvania History (2019). She is a presenter at the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) 2020 and 2021 conferences with her presentation Interjecting into the Narrative: Black Women’s Voices Through Primary Documents.
She lives in Lansdale, PA with her husband Pete, two small children Nolan & Emilie, and a baby boy on the way.
Brooke Morris-Chott, MPS '01
Brooke Morris-Chott, MPS '01 is Advocacy and EDI (Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion) Program Officer for Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures, a division of the American Library Association (ALA). In this role, Brooke leads in the development of principles, standards, and best practices in the areas of advocacy and EDI surrounding the preservation and conservation of museum, library, and institutional collections, archiving, library patron privacy, access, copyright, net neutrality, intellectual freedom, online security, and international standards within library technical services. She has written articles on EDI in non-profit and for-profit management for Association Forum’s FORUM Magazine and is a member of the Association Forum Content Working Group and the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).
Brooke holds a BA in English Language and Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master’s degree in publishing from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. She is an avid volunteer and social activist, serving on the associate boards of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Chicago House; Chicago-based non-profit organizations that support and advocate for healthcare equality for LGBTQ+ and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Chicagoans living with HIV and AIDS. She lives in Chicago, IL with her husband, dog Snoopy, cats Marley and Henry, and gecko The Professor.