Join the VAHA Spring 2022 Book Discussion

Monday, January 3, 2022

In conjunction with our celebration of Black History Month, the Valencia African Heritage Association (VAHA) will sponsor a conversation on Black Health and Wellness as it explores Kiese Laymon’s “Heavy: An American Memoir” and select readings from “You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience” edited by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown.

In “Heavy,” Laymon writes eloquently and honestly about growing up a hard-headed Black son to a complicated and brilliant black mother in Jackson, Mississippi. From his early experiences of sexual violence, to his suspension from college, to his trek to New York as a young college professor, Laymon charts his complex relationship with his mother, grandmother, anorexia, obesity, sex, writing and ultimately gambling.” Learn more about this book. 

In “You Are Your Best Thing,” Burke, founder of the “me too.” Movement, and Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston, bring together a dynamic group of Black writers, organizers, artists, academics and cultural figures to discuss the topics the two have dedicated their lives to understanding and teaching: vulnerability and shame resilience. Learn more.

Join VAHA for this spring book discussion on:

Date: Tuesday, February 22, 2022
Time: 1 – 2:30 p.m.
Location: Zoom

Register here. The first 25 registrants will receive copies of both books.

Participants can access “Heavy” and “You Are Your Best Thing” online from the Valencia College library, by logging in with your Atlas username and password.

Attending students are eligible to participate in a scholarship opportunity related to the discussion.

VAHA’s mission is to celebrate and foster inclusion of cultural and educational awareness of the African diaspora at Valencia College, as well as build inclusivity of the social and political interests and concerns of faculty, staff and students of African diaspora collegewide and in the community. The Valencia African Heritage Association has campus- and regional-based committees to promote its mission and observances of African-diaspora heritage, culture and diversity. Employees interested in learning more about their work and how they can get involved are invited to email

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