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Campus Community Book Project

Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992

Twilight: Los AngelesWe invite all members of the UC Davis community to participate in the third annual Campus Community Book Project beginning in Fall 2004. This project seeks to promote a greater sense of community among students, staff, faculty, and community members by creating a common experience (that of reading the same book).

The book selection for this year is “Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992” by Anna Deavere Smith. The author, an actor, educator, and playwright, interviewed nearly 200 individuals about the riots in Los Angeles in 1991 following the Rodney King verdict and composed a play of the multiple voices and perspectives. Her work portrays the varied facets of this complex societal issue and takes a piercing look at the consequences of police brutality, community segregation, and economic disparity. A talented actor, currently best known for her role as national security advisor on NBC's The West Wing, Deavere Smith wrote the book as a script which she enacts in a performance piece based on several characters portrayed in the book.

Among the many recommendations from the campus community, this book was chosen for several reasons. Primarily, the book offers us an opportunity to engage in a rich dialogue on the causes and effects of unchecked prejudice and injustice on a community. As our campus and surrounding community struggle to respond to hate crimes and other bias-related incidents, this book offers insight into the importance of weaving together a stronger, more vital connection among our campus and community residents. As the author writes in her introduction to the book:

Anna Deavere Smith"I see the work as a call. I played 'Twilight' in Los Angeles as a call to the community. I performed it at a time when the community had not yet resolved the problems. I wanted to be part of their examination of the problems. I believe that the solutions to these problems will call for the participation of large and eclectic groups of people. I also believe that we are at a stage at which we must first break the silence about race and encourage many more people to participate in the dialogue."

We believe that this book will provide a guide for constructive and respectful dialogue within our community. In addition, the content has broad appeal and application to a variety of contexts and disciplines, such as theater arts, journalism, ethnic studies, sociology, economics, community development, law, and many others. We anticipate using this book to examine many of the divergent perspectives within our community to explore viable solutions to the continuing problems of racism and other forms of bias.

We invite all members of our community undergraduate and graduate students, staff, faculty, administrators, and community members to read the book, and to participate in a rich array of campus events and programs related to the book. A variety of programs will be offered in Fall 2004, such as a campus presentation by the author, book discussions, and performances based on the book. We encourage faculty to integrate the book into existing courses and to develop freshman seminars that focus on the book and the issues it raises. The UCD Bookstore has already joined the project by offering the book at a discounted rate.

As we strive to build a more inclusive community, it is essential for us to candidly discuss the issues that affect us. We hope that you will join with us in this important dialogue.

The Campus Community Book Project is sponsored by the Campus Council on Community and Diversity, the Office of Campus Community Relations, and the Office of the Provost. For more information or to inquire about joining the planning team for 2004, please contact Karen Roth, Campus Community Relations, at (530) 752-2071 or

Office of Campus Community Relations
Diversity Education Program
Campus Council on Community and Diversity