Charis Books and More Logo

Disillusioned: Five Families and the Unraveling of America's Suburbs--Benjamin Herold in conversation with Dr. Bettina L. Love

Event date: 
Thursday, January 25, 2024 - 7:30pm to 8:30pm

This event takes place on crowdcast, Charis' virtual event platform. Register here.

Charis welcomes Benjamin Herold in conversation with Bettina L. Love for a discussion of Disillusioned: Five Families and the Unraveling of America's Suburbs. Through the stories of five American families, a masterful and timely exploration of how hope, history, and racial denial collide in the suburbs and their schools


Outside Atlanta, a middle-class Black family faces off with a school system seemingly bent on punishing their teenage son. North of Dallas, a conservative white family relocates to an affluent suburban enclave, but can’t escape the changes sweeping the country. On Chicago’s North Shore, a multiracial mom joins an ultra progressive challenge to the town’s liberal status quo. In Compton, California, whose suburban roots are now barely recognizable, undocumented Hispanic parents place their gifted son’s future in the hands of educators at a remarkable elementary school. And outside Pittsburgh, a Black mother moves to the same street where author Benjamin Herold grew up, then confronts the destructive legacy left behind by white families like his.

Disillusioned braids these human stories together with penetrating local and national history to reveal a vicious cycle undermining the dreams upon which American suburbia was built. For generations, upwardly mobile white families have extracted opportunity from the nation’s heavily subsidized suburbs, then moved on before the bills for maintenance and repair came due, leaving the mostly Black and Brown families who followed to clean up the ensuing mess. But now, sweeping demographic shifts and the dawning realization that endless expansion is no longer feasible are disrupting this pattern, forcing everyday families to confront a truth their communities were designed to avoid: The suburban lifestyle dream is a Ponzi scheme whose unraveling threatens us all.

How do we come to terms with this troubled history? How do we build a future in which all children can thrive?  Drawing upon his decorated career as an education journalist, Herold explores these pressing debates with expertise and perspective. Then, alongside Bethany Smith—the mother from his old neighborhood, who contributes a powerful epilogue to the book—he offers a hopeful path toward renewal. The result is nothing short of a journalistic masterpiece.

Benjamin Herold explores America’s beautiful and busted public education system. His award-winning beat reporting, feature writing, and investigative exposés have appeared in Education Week, PBS NewsHour, NPR, and the Public School Notebook. Herold has a master’s degree in urban education from Temple University in Philadelphia, where he lives with his family and has worked as a waiter, researcher, documentary filmmaker, and training specialist for rape-crisis and domestic-violence prevention organizations.

Dr. Bettina L. Love is the William F. Russell Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University and the bestselling author of We Want To Do More Than Survive. In 2022, the Kennedy Center named Dr. Love one of the Next 50 Leaders making the world more inspired, inclusive, and compassionate. A co-founder of the Abolitionist Teaching Network (ATN), whose mission is to develop and support teachers and parents fighting injustice within their schools and communities, they have granted over $250,000 to abolitionists around the country. She is also a founding member of the Task Force that launched the program In Her Hands, distributing more than $15 million to Black women living in Georgia. In Her Hands is one of the largest guaranteed income pilot programs in the U.S. Dr. Love is a sought-after public speaker on a range of topics, including abolitionist teaching, anti-racism, Hip Hop education, Black girlhood, queer youth, educational reparations, and art-based education to foster youth civic engagement. In 2018, she was granted a resolution by Georgia's House of Representatives for her impact on the field of education.

This event is free and open to all people, especially to those who have no income or low income right now, but we encourage and appreciate a solidarity donation in support of the work of Charis Circle, our programming non-profit. Charis Circle's mission is to foster sustainable feminist communities, work for social justice, and encourage the expression of diverse and marginalized voices. https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/CharisCircle?code=chariscirclepage

Please contact us at info@chariscircle.org or 404-524-0304 if you would like ASL interpretation at this event. If you would like to watch the event with live AI captions, you may do so by watching it in Google Chrome and enabling captions: Instructions here. If you have other accessibility needs or if you are someone who has skills in making digital events more accessible please don't hesitate to reach out to info@chariscircle.org. We are actively learning the best practices for this technology and we welcome your feedback as we begin this new way of connecting across distances.

By attending our virtual event you agree to our Code of Conduct: Our event seeks to provide a harassment-free experience for everyone, regardless of gender, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, ethnicity, religion (or lack thereof), class, or technology choices. We do not tolerate harassment in any form. Sexual language and imagery are not appropriate. Anyone violating these rules will be expelled from this event and all future events at the discretion of the organizers. Please report all harassment to info@chariscircle.org immediately.

Event address: 
CROWDCAST
Pre-Order Now Badge
Disillusioned: Five Families and the Unraveling of America's Suburbs By Benjamin Herold Cover Image
$32.00
ISBN: 9780593298183
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Penguin Press - January 23rd, 2024

Through the stories of five American families, a masterful and timely exploration of how hope, history, and racial denial collide in the suburbs and their schools


Punished for Dreaming: How School Reform Harms Black Children and How We Heal By Bettina L. Love Cover Image
$29.00
ISBN: 9781250280381
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: St. Martin's Press - September 12th, 2023

NOW A NEW YORK TIMES AND A USA TODAY BESTSELLER

“I am an eighties baby who grew to hate school. I never fully understood why. Until now. Until Bettina Love unapologetically and painstakingly chronicled the last forty years of education ‘reform’ in this landmark book. I hated school because it warred on me. I hated school because I loved to dream.”


We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom By Bettina Love Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780807028346
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Beacon Press - February 4th, 2020

Winner of the 2020 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award

Drawing on personal stories, research, and historical events, an esteemed educator offers a vision of educational justice inspired by the rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists.


Event Summary: 
Through the stories of five American families, a masterful and timely exploration of how hope, history, and racial denial collide in the suburbs and their schools.