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Unitarian Universalist “Common Read”

A discussion guide for Behind the Kitchen Door, the 2013-14 Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Common Read, is now online (PDF, 20 pages). Download one, two, or three 90-minute workshops to lead a congregational group to respond to the book.

In Behind the Kitchen Door (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2013), author Saru Jayaraman reveals how restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America and how poor working conditions—discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens—affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables. The author, who launched a national restaurant workers organization after 9/11, tells the stories of ten restaurant workers in cities across the United States as she explores the political, economic, and moral implications of eating out: What’s at stake when we choose a restaurant is not only our own health or “foodie” experience but also the health and well-being of the second largest private sector workforce—10 million people, many immigrants, many people of color, who bring passion, tenacity, and insight into the American dining experience.

Behind the Kitchen Door invites Unitarian Universalists to intentionally consider their practices in restaurant dining. It makes visible the lives of people who are subject to discrimination and oppression based on economic status, race, ethnicity, gender, and/or immigration status. Common Read groups are encouraged to let Behind the Kitchen Door inspire follow-up action, such as advocacy for just working conditions for restaurant workers, as part of a commitment to ethical eating. Use the UUA's economic justice resources to learn about minimum wage campaign and actions you and your congregation can take to help

Behind the Kitchen Door is available from the UUA Bookstore.

Selecting the 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.

Read the criteria for Common Read selection. Nominate a book for 2014-15 using our online form.

Past Common Reads

For more information contact religiouseducation @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Tuesday, October 15, 2013.

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Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayaraman is the UUA Common Read selection for 2013-14. The UUA Bookstore discounts bulk purchases. 
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The UUA discussion guide for Behind the Kitchen Door is available free online.
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