Online Reading Club

Members of the Cornell and IDP communities are invited to come together over Zoom to discuss short articles and stories, selected by the IDP team, around themes of social identity, connection, and dialogue. You must register to receive the Zoom invitation. For capacity reasons, each offering is capped at 30 attendees.

Please register at least 24 hours in advance


Reading Selections

A note about our upcoming selections: In our next rounds of Reading Club, we begin a two-part series focused on the intersections of racism, COVID-19, and immigration. The readings we’ve selected provide personal stories and professional perspectives on how people of color encounter greater risks and worse health outcomes due to racism and a range of interrelated inequalities.


Monday, August 3, 8:00 pm (ET)

Reading Topic: Intersections of Racism,

COVID-19, & Immigration

“I’m a member of the Navajo Nation, and my people are dying from the coronavirus” by Tyrone Whitehorse

We’re facing the virus head-on with limited access to healthcare and supplies.

“’I Will Not Stand Silent.’ 10 Asian Americans Reflect on Racism During the Pandemic and the Need for Equality” by Anna Purna Kambhampaty

Diseases and outbreaks have long been used to rationalize xenophobia: HIV was blamed on Haitian Americans, the 1918 influenza pandemic on German Americans, the swine flu in 2009 on Mexican Americans. The racist belief that Asians carry disease goes back centuries. In the 1800s, out of fear that Chinese workers were taking jobs that could be held by white workers, white labor unions argued for an immigration ban by claiming that “Chinese” disease strains were more harmful than those carried by white people.

“Why Racism, Not Race, Is a Risk Factor for Dying of COVID-19” by Claudia Wallis

Public health specialist and physician Camara Phyllis Jones talks about ways that jobs, communities and health care leave Black Americans more exposed and less protected


Monday, July 20, 8:00 pm (ET)

Reading Topic: Intersections of Racism,

COVID-19, & Immigration

“’Don’t Give Up’: A Woman’s Fight to Save Her Brother From a COVID-Plagued ICE Jail” by Noah Lanard

He’d survived cancer and kidnapping. Now he was up against Trump and the pandemic.

(Trauma warning: References to suicide, cancer, deportation, violence)

“How COVID-19 is impacting indigenous peoples in the U.S.” by Randall Akee

There are indications that some Native American populations are facing a disproportionate brunt of the COVID-19 epidemic with higher infection and mortality rates than the overall U.S. population. Understanding how the disease is affecting these communities is important to mitigating the damage.

“On the Minds of Black Lives Matter Protesters: A Racist Health System” by Akilah Johnson

Black lives are being lost to COVID-19 at twice the rate of others. For protesters we talked to, that’s one more reason to be on the street. “If it’s not police beating us up, it’s us dying in a hospital from the pandemic,” one said.

Monday, July 06, 8:00 pm (ET)

Reading Topic: Allyship

“Becoming Trustworthy White Allies” by Melanie S. Morrison

I believe it is possible to become trustworthy white allies if we are willing to move out of our comfort zones, risk having our assumptions challenged, our lives disrupted, and our way of viewing the world transformed.


Monday, June 22, 8:00 pm (ET)

Reading Topic: Police Brutality

“If you’re surprised by how the police are acting, you don’t understand US history” by Malaika Jabali

Policing in America was never created to protect and serve the masses. It can’t be reformed because it is designed for violence

“How to reform American police, according to experts” by German Lopez

As protesters demonstrate against police violence, here are eight ideas for reforming law enforcement in the US.


Sunday, May 10, 8:00 pm (ET)

Tuesday, May 12, 8:00 pm (ET)

Famed poet Claudia Rankine writes about how she asked white men about privilege. She recounts how she felt and what she learned during these various encounters. Rankine indeed reflects on the nature of privilege but also on communication across difference. How do we render our lived experiences visible to those who do not share them? Join us to think more about privilege and how it both provides challenges and possibilities for more earnest, authentic communication.

Sunday, May 17, 8:00 pm (ET)

Tuesday, May 19, 8:00 pm (ET)

“Arturo” by Giusi Marchetta brings forward the blurred lines between memory and imagination. We meet three generations of a family as a divorced father returns to his childhood home with his son to bear witness to a dying grandfather. With death looming, the father and grandfather recall people from the past while the son plays with his imaginary friend, Arturo. This story highlights, among other things, how we simultaneously protect and squash the innocence of children, revere and dismiss the elderly and, with imagination, construct ideas of who we and others are.

Sunday, May 24, 8:00 pm (ET)

Tuesday, May 26, 8:00 pm (ET)

The United States has the highest numbers of incarceration in the world and people of color are disproportionately represented in prisons. Long periods behind bars deprive millions of life opportunities as well as connections with loved ones. In this piece, Ashley C. Ford shares her experience of reuniting with her father who served a 30-year sentence in prison.

Sunday, May 31, 8:00 pm (ET)

Tuesday, June 2, 8:00 pm (ET)

When we think of queer immigrant narratives, we think of coming out followed by rejection, clashing cultures, and having to choose between one’s family and one’s lover. This single story gets told over and over and over. If you’re tired of reading queer immigrant narratives like that, this is the week for you. John Chu’s story explores the tensions between our different social identities and the fraught relationship between queerness and family. But finally, a happy ending.

Monday, July 06, 8:00 pm (ET)

Reading Topic: Allyship


Tuesday, April 14, 12:00 pm (ET)

Sunday, April 19, 8:00 pm (ET)

Ken Liu’s short story is a big deal in the sci-fi world, and we hope you’ll join us to see why. This story about paper animals comes to life, touches upon the bond between children and parents, xenophobia (both internalized and not), the echoing traumas of China’s violent Cultural Revolution, and communication across linguistic and cultural differences. If you want to feel big feelings and think about timely issues, this is a story for you!

Tuesday, April 21, 12:00 pm (ET)

Sunday, April 26, 8:00 pm (ET)

Leslie Jamison’s essay explores empathy from the lens of a medical actor, someone who pretends to have an illness and evaluates the bedside manner of med students. Jamison reflects on empathy’s capabilities in helping us connect with others and its limitations, especially in her relationship with her partner when she goes through an abortion and heart surgery in quick succession. If you want to really think through what empathy is and why it’s important for us, please join us!

Tuesday, April 28, 12:00 pm (ET)

Sunday, May 3, 8:00 pm (ET)

This award-winning story explores the complexity of cultural appropriation through the character of Jesse Turnblatt, an Indigenous person working for a virtual reality company that gives tours of Native life to rich white tourists. Jesse’s wife, boss, and colleagues have diverging feelings about how to use and monetize stereotypes and, as the story unfolds, they raise questions about what is real and authentic and right.