Common Reading: This is My America

Each year, University of Oregon Undergraduate Studies chooses a Common Reading book designed to involve all of campus in a shared reading experience and broader conversation. This year’s book, which all new students received last term, is This is My America by Kimberly Johnson. The 2020-2021 Common Reading theme is Listen. Learn. Act, and is dedicated to listening to and learning about Blackness and the Black Experience.

We are fortunate in the UO community to know Assistant Vice Provost Kimberly Johnson, who grew up here in Eugene, through her work in UESS overseeing the development of a cohesive and unified advising system campus wide in and as Director for the Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence (DEI). This is My America is Johnson’s debut work which explores racial injustice against innocent Black men who are criminally sentenced and the families left behind to pick up the pieces.

Here’s an overview of what this 2021 Pacific Northwest Book Award Winner is about:

"Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking them to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has 267 days left.​

Then one night changes everything. The police arrive, pounding on the door, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a 'thug' on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. And as Tracy discovers the racist history that still haunts her small town’s present, she begins to wonder if she’s lighting the torch that will illuminate her family’s innocence...or lighting the fuse that will cause her world to explode.

Kim Johnson’s gripping debut is a revelation—an incendiary, crucial look at the American justice system delivered as an uplifting read where love conquers hate and justice is delivered in the face of injustice."

Click this link for more resources and information about Kimberly Johnson and This is My America on our UO Library Page.

This is My America Book Cover

Jules O.
Promotions and Recruitment Student Assistant
University Housing