Discussions on faith, family, education and race filled the La-Z-Boy atrium on Tuesday, April 12.
The Agora, MCCC’s student newspaper, hosted a panel discussion titled, “Education, Faith and Family” as part of the One Book, One Community events.
The questions and discussion centered around the strong faith, family, and education references in this year’s One Book, One Community novel, The Color of Water by James McBride. Panelists shared their opinions of these themes and incorporated their own stories into the discussion.
The panelists for the discussion included Tinola Mayfield-Guerrero, adjunct professor of Sociology at MCCC; Sanford Stein, a history professor at the college; Vuncia Council, coordinator of The Learning Bank Network for Monroe County; and Rahwae Shuman, adjunct professor of Anatomy and Physiology at MCCC.
The Master of Ceremonies for the event was Marissa Beste, editor of The Agora. While Beste had questions of her own, she welcomed questions from the audience.
The reactions from the crowd were positive and constructive, ranging from first time panel attendees to English professors.
“I’ve never attended a panel before,” said Brian Pearch, “I hope to learn more about James McBride, and he definitely overcame a lot”.
Pearch was a first time observer for a panel discussion. He attended because of the extra credit that was offered for his class.
Penny Dorecy-Naber, assistant to the Dean of Humanities/Social Sciences, was also in attendance, selling copies of The Color of Water.
“I expect a thoughtful discourse of the various themes of The Color of Water,” Dorcey,Naber said.
The audience could tell that the panelist related well to the book and how the book could relate to them.
“We’re at our best when we tap into the common humanity,” said panelist Stanford Stein.
During the event, the panelists spent much of the time answering questions that invoked many emotions and intellectual responses.
Panelist Tinola Mayfield-Guerrero thought the diversity of the panel was appropriate.
“It was absolutely necessary,” said Mayfield-Guerrero, “You want to have these different perspectives.”
Vuncia Council thought that the diversity of the panelist was a great thing to have. She related the panel discussion to what McBride went through.
“The diversity of the panelists reflects what he had to deal with,” said Council.
After a hearty round of discussion of the book’s themes, the time was drawing to an end.
“It was absolutely terrific,” said Cheryl Johnston, an English professor at MCCC. “It touched on all the themes of the book, and we had an excellent group of people to talk about it.”