On Monday, March 21, Orange County’s Human Relations Commission will host its annual “Community Read” event in the Chapel Hill Public Library…and you’re invited to come out and participate.

How it works: each year, commission members choose a book on a topic related to human rights and equality. Everyone’s invited to read it – then on the day of the event, everyone’s invited to come together for a group discussion of the book and the issue. (You’re welcome to take part even if you don’t get a chance to read the book.)

This year, the HRC chose three books, all related to the topic of living with disability. (Last year marked the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans With Disabilities Act.) There’s a book of poetry entitled “Beauty is a Verb,” edited by Sheila Black, Jennifer Bartlett and Michael Northen; there’s “Far From the Tree” by Andrew Solomon, a collection of pieces about parents with disabled kids; and there’s “Paying with their Bodies” by John Kinder, a historical study of how America has treated disabled veterans.

The Community Read forum will be moderated by Kim Lan Grout, a Durham-based writer/photographer and disability advocate who recently founded the Redefining Disabled Project, a series of creative photoessays about the everyday lives of people living with disabilities. (Grout herself is disabled: after spending her entire childhood battling a rare disorder called Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome, she decided at 18 to have her left leg amputated. She says if anything, though, her “disability” was actually liberating.)

Kim Lan Grout spoke with Aaron Keck this week on WCHL.


The Community Read will take place in Room A of the Chapel Hill Public Library on Monday, March 21, from 6:30-8:00 p.m. (Refreshments will be available.)

For more information on the Redefining Disabled Project, visit RedefiningDisabled.org.