NEA Big Read Humboldt!

National Endowment for the Arts Big Read Managed by Arts Midwest

Claudia Rankine’s award-winning book Citizen: An American Lyric examines the continued realities of racism in the U.S., as anti-Black racism and white supremacy remain widely unchecked. Over a dozen local organizations in Humboldt County have committed to reading Claudia Rankine’s Citizen and to working for systemic change in our community. All Humboldt County residents and community members are encouraged to read and participate in the many programs and events that facilitate dialogue about this book and what it presents in 167 pages of poetic language, full-color art, examples of media representation, and many layers of meaning. Programming, taking place in October and November 2020, will create spaces and structures for reflection, analysis, dialogue and positive strategies for change.

To support this programming, Humboldt State University was one of 84 organizations nationwide to receive a National Endowment for the Arts Big Read grant. An Arts Endowment initiative in partnership with Arts Midwest, the NEA Big Read facilitates ways for communities to share a good book. The NEA Big Read offers a range of titles that reflect many different voices and perspectives, aiming to inspire conversation and discovery. The main feature of the initiative is a grants program, managed by Arts Midwest, which annually supports dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single National Endowment for the Arts Big Read selection.

Humboldt County’s Big Read programming will take place throughout the months of October and November 2020. Almost all events will be held online. Programming includes a virtual keynote presentation by the book’s author Claudia Rankine, to be held on Saturday, November 7. The growing calendar of events is available on the program’s website:

Programming includes the annual Campus/Community Dialogue on Race, a week of intensive conversation about the impact of racism and its intersections with all forms of oppression. Campus/Community Dialogue on Race seeks to account for the continued realities of racism and settler-colonialism as it also provides space for working toward systemic change and transformation. This year's Dialogue will run from October 26 (Mon) through October 30 (Fri), 2020. The theme selected for this year’s Campus/Community Dialogue on Race event—Global Justice: Examining the Past and Reimagining the Future—reminds us of the global scope of racial injustice and interlocking oppressions. For more information about the 2020 Campus/Community Dialogue on Race, please visit

Claudia Rankine’s book will be widely available through the Humboldt County Public Library branches, as well as through Humboldt State University, and College of the Redwoods. Community members are also encouraged to read, listen, or view supplemental materials on the “Learn More” page of the program website:

We wish to thank the community partners who are participating in this program. A growing list of community partners is available on the Big Read program website: If you or your organization would like to participate, please contact Kumi Watanabe-Schock, Coordinator of the 2020 Big Read: Humboldt County: or (707) 826-5656.