By: Maya Stoilova

The moonlight was reflected in the beautiful academic buildings of Harvard University. We, the book lovers, were there, in front of an old auditorium, for one simple reason – to hear Angie Thomas talk about her book, The Hate U Give.  The book touched the hearts of many young readers through its open discussion of racism and discrimination in the United States. But, who is Angie Thomas? Why were young high school students and people from all around the world so impatient to hear her talk that evening? And, why were there so many people waiting for a ticket, even though the event was sold out, in front of the large old auditorium? Everyone was simply anticipating Angie’s arrival – waiting to hear what drove her to write about the the relations between people and the hate they give.

Angie was on stage ten minutes after her arrival. Once she was there, the whole auditorium exploded in  a loud round of applause. Everyone present appeared to be excited to hear her story. They wished to learn the ways in which she managed to fight inequality and discrimination while staying true to her opinions. Her life story directly reflects in the story of the young girl she wrote about. The young girl who hated the discrimination and racism she saw. She  was not afraid to raise her voice and show people that prejudice is simply deceiving, unnatural, and truly destructive. Angie’s novel made all these issues, the issues of racial segregation, discrimination, and inequality turn from something that we had only heard of in the news to something we could feel through the events the characters in her book went through.

This trip left all six of us speechless, yet, with so much to say. Once we had left the auditorium and gotten back to the car, we could not stop talking about what we had heard. Were all these things really happening? In our book club meeting on Tuesday, we simply could not concentrate on the book. Instead of discussing the characters of Chris and Maya, we simply asked each other questions. Had we experienced discrimination in our own lives? Were our experiences formed by our skin color and the shape of our eyes? Or was because of the part of town we came from? Had we ever discriminated against someone just because of biases we had? Were we ready to listen to other people’s stories without judging them? Were we going to help a person who was being bullied and put in an inferior position? Were we ready to become an Angie ourselves?