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One Read for Racial Justice: The Stars and the Blackness Between Them: Overview

A guide to our 2023 One Read for Racial Justice, "The Stars and the Blackness Between Them by Junauda Petrus

What is the One Read for Racial Justice?

The One Read for Racial Justice is an annual, community reading program whose goals are to center BIPOC stories, create opportunities for dialogues across difference and discipline, inspire action around justice issues, and to promote community. It’s like a giant book club where we all get together to read a common text and then discuss it as a community and plan other events that help deepen our appreciation of the book and its themes. The One Read is an initiative led by the library in collaboration with a diverse group of students, faculty, staff, and alumni across departments and disciplines.

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them

Told in two distinct and irresistible voices, Junauda Petrus’s bold and lyrical debut is the story of two black girls from very different backgrounds finding love and happiness in a world that seems determined to deny them both.

Port of Spain, Trinidad. Sixteen-year-old Audre is despondent, having just found out she’s going to be sent to live in America with her father because her strictly religious mother caught her with her secret girlfriend, the pastor’s daughter. Audre’s grandmother Queenie (a former dancer who drives a white convertible Cadillac and who has a few secrets of her own) tries to reassure her granddaughter that she won’t lose her roots, not even in some place called Minneapolis. “America have dey spirits too, believe me,” she tells Audre.

Minneapolis, USA. Sixteen-year-old Mabel is lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling and trying to figure out why she feels the way she feels–about her ex Terrell, about her girl Jada and that moment they had in the woods, and about the vague feeling of illness that’s plagued her all summer. Mabel’s reverie is cut short when her father announces that his best friend and his just-arrived-from-Trinidad daughter are coming for dinner. Mabel quickly falls hard for Audre and is determined to take care of her as she tries to navigate an American high school. But their romance takes a turn when test results reveal exactly why Mabel has been feeling low-key sick all summer and suddenly it’s Audre who is caring for Mabel as she faces a deeply uncertain future.

Junauda Petrus’s debut brilliantly captures the distinctly lush and lyrical voices of Mabel and Audre as they conjure a love that is stronger than hatred, prison, and death and as vast as the blackness between the stars. (from the publisher)


About the Author, Junauda Petrus

Junauda Petrus is a creative activist, writer, playwright, and multi-dimensional performance artist who is born on Dakota land, West-Indian descended, and African-sourced. Her work centers around Black wildness, -futurism, ancestral healing, sweetness, spectacle and shimmer.

Petrus has written works for the stage, screen and page, employing poetics and experiences re-membered via ancestral dreaming and research of their lost stories. She is inspired by her parents and ancestors who immigrated from the Caribbean bringing their magic and trauma with them, and her art ripples with their legacy. She is influenced by the Middle Passage and diaspora, Black folks in Minneapolis, ancestral magic, and stories of queerness and womanhood within these contexts. Speculative fiction and magical realist elements are central to her work. (from author's website)

Other work by Junauda Petrus

Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers?
Pleasure Activism
Tasting Light: Ten Science Fiction Stories to Rewire Your Perceptions

Queer. Black. Love.

Rainbow Milk
Black Girl, Call Home
Under the Udala Trees
Dear Senthuran
Zami: a New Spelling of My Name
The Black Period: on personhood, race, and origin
Love Conjure/Blues
In Another Place, Not Here
Giovanni's Room
Skye Falling
Friday I'm in Love
Transcendent Kingdom
A Song below Water
All Signs Point to Yes

Healing. Care.

African American Herbalism : a practical guide to healing plants and folk traditions
Just Care: messy entanglements of disability, dependency, and desire
Body and Soul: the Black Panther Party and the fight against medical discrimination
Cultural Diversity in Health and Illness
Rest Is Resistance : a manifesto
Take Care : the Black women's guide to wellness
Do Better: spiritual activism for fighting and healing from white supremacy

Prison Writing. Abolition.

Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers?
Writing on the Wall : selected prison writings of Mumia Abu-Jamal
Abolition. Feminism. Now
Abolition Geography : essays towards liberation
Long Walk to Freedom
We Want to Do More Than Survive
We Do This 'Til We Free Us
Letter from Birmingham Jail
Are Prisons Obsolete?
The Politics of Black Joy: Zora Neale Hurston and Neo-Abolitionism
The Sentences That Create Us: crafting a writer's life in prison

Tarot. Astrology. Spirituality.

Tarot. the Library of Esoterica
Queer Ancient Ways: A Decolonial Exploration
Becoming Dangerous : witchy femmes, queer conjurers, and magical rebels
Black Magic: religion and the African American conjuring tradition
Dream Singers: the African-American way with dreams
Postcolonial Astrology : reading the planets through capital, power, and labor
Queer Magic : LGBT+ spirituality and culture from around the world
White Magic: essays
My Soul Is a Witness: African-American women's spirituality
Afro-Caribbean Religions: An Introduction to Their Historical, Cultural, and Sacred Traditions
Signs and Skymates: The Ultimate Guide to Astrological Compatibility
Finding the Fool: a tarot journey to radical transformation
African Ecological Ethics and Spirituality for Cosmic Flourishing
Tarot for Change: Using the Cards for Self-Care, Acceptance, and Growth

Gardening. Farming. Food.

We Are Each Other's Harvest : celebrating African American farmers, land, and legacy
Black Food : stories, art, and essays
Unearthed: on race and roots, and how the soil taught me I belong
Sweet Hands: Island Cooking from Trinidad and Tobago
Freedom Farmers: agricultural resistance and the Black Freedom Movement
Caribbean Potluck
Farmer Will Allen and the Growing Table
The Color of Food : stories of race, resilience and farming
Rooted in the Earth: reclaiming the African American environmental heritage
High on the Hog: a culinary journey from Africa to America
Farming While Black : Soul Fire Farm's practical guide to liberation on the land
The Jemima Code: two centuries of African American cookbooks


Poetry As Spellcasting : poems, essays, and prompts for manifesting liberation and reclaiming power
Head off and Split
Against Heaven : poems
Girls That Never Die: Poems
Electric Arches
The Wet Hex
Postcolonial Love Poem
There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce
The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010
Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude
Thousand Star Hotel
Chasing Utopia
Weaving Sundown in a Scarlet Light

The Stars and the Blackness Between Them Mixtape

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