Alyssa Tyler copy editor
The Tilford READ first session of the school year started in the basement of Axe Library, the Tilford READ group gathered to discuss the book, ‘Demystifying Disability,’ by Emily Ladu. This was the topic and book chosen for the 22-23 school year.
“We had several other topics some were more severe, more harsh than this one. And we just kind of felt, after going through the pandemic, all of the hardships we’ve already been through let’s choose a topic that is based on inclusivity and diversity. That is not as harsh as some of the others one. For example, race would be a pretty heavy topic to dive into. And we thought disability would be a lighter topic but now, it’s not as light as I thought it was going to be,” Jason Reid, Pittsburg State University professor and president of the Tilford Group, said.
The discussions are open to the public. This year there is also the option for a remote opt in. For the last few years, it has looked like a multi-week book discussion.
“I think it’s been good; these books have been eye-opening to me because I always think that I don’t have anything to say. But once I start reading the chapter, I start doing this introspection, then I realize, ‘Oh my goodness, I identify with these things, I just wasn’t thinking about it,’ and it gives me a voice to say some things that I just kind of kept down for a long time. And here’s a safe space, where everyone can talk and share their ideas and topics about these different things we’re reading about. Finally, being able to look into ourselves and probably bring out some things that weren’t necessarily there before,” said Neil.
The group meeting started off with introductions and reminders of there is no judgement, and everyone is “growing as people.”
“I don’t have a ruler for stuff like this. I think for me personally, what’s successful is when people feel comfortable to engage. And so many of our staff and faculty here are willing to bring a voice and talk about their experiences or what they got out of the book. I’m never going to say anything but success, that’s a successful type of conversation,” said Learning Outreach Librarian and Associate Professor Jorge Leon.
The next meeting will be Oct. 4, at 3 p.m. at the Axe Library. The book can be checked out at the Axe Library and more information can be found on Gorilla Engage.
“I think the author, Emily Ladu said something about this discussion. Where it’s not a binary thing, not all disabilities need this, and all people need that. And so, for me, it’s very important for us to talk about the complexities. To borrow a phrase, a spectrum. The things that fall in that. So even if I get an opportunity to help broaden someone’s perspective about all the different factors that fall into how someone identifies or how to treat somebody with more dignity and respect, I am thrilled,” Leon said.