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CHQ Book Read 2023


The YWCA of Jamestown and Chautauqua Institution are pleased to

announce the second year of the county-wide initiative – The

Chautauqua County Book Read. We invite all Chautauqua County

residents to participate in this book read. We have selected “Under

the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the

Health of Our Nation” by Linda Villarosa  as our common read book.

The purpose of this shared book read is to engage Chautauqua County

residents, businesses, nonprofits and organizations to help heal our

divides and propel participants to be engaged citizens working

towards a more inclusive and just society. 


Those interested in participating are invited to register via this link. Each participant is also encouraged to attend one book discussion group between April 17 - 28, 2023. In-person and online book discussion groups will be offered. Information on the times and locations of the book discussions is available via the registration below.


Additionally, participants are invited to attend a live lecture on Thursday, July 20 with the author, Linda Villarosa, at 3:30pm at the Hall of Philosophy on the Chautauqua Institution grounds. This day has been designated as “Chautauqua County Day” at the Institution, and all Chautauqua County residents are eligible for free admission and parking. Tickets for this day will be available beginning June 1 by calling the Chautauqua Institution Ticket Office at 716-357-6250. Free parking is only available with ticket orders made by July 11. This offer may not be combined with a long-term ticket. For more information on this day, please visit: 


The YWCA of Jamestown and Chautauqua Institution are serving as lead organizations for this initiative. We are pleased to announce that this program is part of a community-wide effort. Please look for more information about participating at one of our partner organizations: 


We encourage participants to purchase their own copy of the book, if possible. Please note that many of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System libraries already have a limited supply of this book. If you represent an organization that would like to support this effort, please reach out to the contacts listed below.  


For more information, please contact: 

Amanda Gesing, Executive Director, YWCA of Jamestown (

Amit Taneja, Senior VP & Chief IDEA Officer, Chautauqua Institution (

Danica Olson, Project Coordinator, CHQ Book Read (

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Our Partners:

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More about the Author

Author and New York Times Magazine journalist, Villarosa, has worked to shed light on the insidious race-based inequalities plaguing our medical and public health systems. Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation, which was named one of the New York Times 10 Best Books of 2022, lays bare the healthcare disparities between Black and white Americans, and calls out the huge toll racism takes on people of color and the costs this has for us as a Nation. In her pieces for The Times, Villarosa has focused on the consistent poorer health outcomes for Black Americans over their white and Latinx counterparts, including higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, higher rates of mortality for COVID and HIV/AIDS, and the shocking difference in life expectancy in predominantly Black vs. white Chicago neighborhoods.  As a contributor to The New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project and The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, she traced the race-based physiological myths that have endured since slavery and continue to plague medicine today. A former executive editor of Essence Magazine, Villarosa is a member of the Association of LGBTQ Journalists (NLGJA) Hall of Fame, and has been recognized with numerous awards from organizations including the American Medical Writers’ Association, the New York Association of Black Journalists, the National Women’s Political Caucus, and many others. Villarosa is a graduate of the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY, was a finalist for the National Magazine Award. She teaches journalism, English and Black Studies at the City College of New York.

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