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Unitarian Universalist “Common Read”
A Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. A Common Read can build community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations.
Each year's Common Read is chosen by a committee including both headquarters and field staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Anyone may nominate a book. Read the criteria for Common Read selection. Nominate a book for 2016-17 using our online form.
Common Read 2015-16
We will ultimately not be judged by our technology, we won’t be judged by our design, we won’t be judged by our intellect and reason. Ultimately, you judge the character of a society . . . by how they treat the poor, the condemned, the incarcerated. – Bryan Stevenson
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson (2014, Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Random House) is this year's selection. Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, has dedicated his legal career to defending those who are trapped by an often capricious, political, and willfully unjust criminal justice system - poor people, people of color, children, and others over whom the system has run roughshod. It speaks to justice, mercy, and compassion, themes of concern to us as Unitarian Universalists and as human beings. It follows on recent Common Reads, such as The New Jim Crow and Reclaiming Prophetic Witness, and responds to recent statements passed by the delegates to the UUA General Assembly.
Congregations, groups, and individuals are invited to purchase the book or find it in a public library and begin reading. Make plans for an in person discussion group in the fall or winter and/or find a reading buddy and begin informal conversations as you read the book together. A discussion guide (PDF, 20 pages) is available with plans for one session or three sessions, with optional slides to accompany the discussion guide.
The UUA Bookstore offers Just Mercy at a bulk discount (five or more books).