The Diversity Hiring Coalition of Maine has become the leading networking source for employers seeking to hire diverse candidates in Maine as well as candidates from diverse backgrounds seeking employment. Bowdoin College, Hannaford Supermarket, Maine Department of Health and Human Resources, Manpower, Mercy Hospital, and TD Bank are among companies and agencies represented in the Coalition. Members met last week at snow-covered Bowdoin College in a building with a magnificent fireplace and discussed The Good Braider in their book club. They invited me to join them. I gave some background on my process of collecting oral histories in Portland for many years. But before long, this group took off, responding to Viola’s resilience and imagining the impact of trauma in the future life of an employee who was a refugee. Many of them talked about the fact that in the process of stepping into Viola’s point of view, they were fascinated to experience imagining life through the lens of a different culture. After being with Viola and her mother in a genocidal war, they could understand Viola’s response to having to wear a seatbelt in Maine. Viola can not imagine why the police – who remind her of soldiers – would have a law to protect her safety. Why would they care if she died? Much of the discussion was around the relationship of a Sudanese mother and her daughter. One of the members was from Iraq and spoke of the restrictions on daughters in his culture and how the daughters chafe at these rules, as Viola does. This conflict leads to discussion of the a part of the book readers find particularly disturbing, the punishment inflicted on a daughter. They found the issue very complicated and a reader said she could begin to imagine the episode through the mother’s eyes. The conversation came around to each person’s own immigrant experience and stories of painful generational clashes in a new country. This was a remarkable discussion.
Categories: Maine, Portland Maine, South Sudan - Fiction
This is fantastic! Congratulations.