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One Book Program

About the One Book Program

The Sacramento State University One Book Program selects a book each year to bring together the Sac State community and the Sacramento region. The Program offers many exciting events throughout the academic year.

The One Book Program selects a book that will serve as a catalyst for considered conversations focusing on issues of social justice. The books we choose tend to push along the edges, so all people from the Sac State Community (students, faculty & staff) and friends and family from the Sacramento Region, may start conversations with feelings about the book or topic to then move into thoughtful, intellectual engagement with one another.

RSVP FOR ONE BOOK DISCUSSIONS – Haben and Disability Rights/Social Justice/Popular Culture

Join the Sac State One Book Program for a 3-part presentation discussing Haben Girma, the renowned author of the campus’s One Book and disability justice activist. Participants may register to any one or all three sessions. Each session will begin with a brief panel presentation, followed by a discussion facilitated by Dr. Mary Lee Vance, Director of Services to Students with Disabilities and Jennifer Murchison, Director of Universal Access and Inclusion.

Discussion 1 “Disability Rights are Civil Rights”

Oct 10, 2022 11am-12noon Riverview Hall - Elderberry/Beetle Conference Room

“Disability Rights are Civil Rights.” This session will explore the historical intersection of racism and ableism, and how these roots influenced undergraduate student Haben’s awareness of the Americans with Disabilities Act and her present career as a disability rights advocate.

Discussion 2 “Social and Disability Justice”

Oct 17, 2022 4pm-5pm Riverview Hall Classroom (30 people max) or Zoom link

“Social and Disability Justice.” This session will connect the University’s Anti-Racism and Inclusivity Plan to Haben’s book, and explores how social justice benefits all people, including those with disabilities.

Discussion 3 “Popular and Disability Culture”

Oct 31, 2022 11am-12noon Elderberry/Beetle Conference Room, Riverview Hall (50 people max) or Zoom link

“Popular and Disability Culture.” Haben identifies as being a black disabled woman. More specifically, she is the child of an Ethiopian father and an Eritrean mother, and is deafblind. In this session, participants will explore ableism and the multiple identities that disabled people may present, as well as how popular culture impacts equal access to academics, housing, employment, society and the sense of belonging.

To sign up for any or all discussions in-person, RSVP by email to or just log into the Zoom room on the day of.

For ADA reasonable accommodations that would allow you to participate in this event please contact Chris Yoakum at 5 days before the event.

SUPPLEMENTAL TEACHING MATERIALS are available to spark discussion or include One Book curriculum into syllabi.



Dr. James German, Acting Director, One Book Program

Rheena Munoz, Administrative Analyst/Specialist

Chris Yoakum, Assistant to the UGS Dean

2022-2023 One Book


Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law

The first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben Girma is a human rights lawyer advancing disability justice. President Obama named her a White House Champion of Change. She received the Helen Keller Achievement Award, a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and TIME100 Talks. President Bill Clinton, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and Chancellor Angela Merkel have all honored Haben. Haben believes disability is an opportunity for innovation, and she teaches organizations the importance of choosing inclusion.

Haben was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she currently lives. Her memoir takes readers on adventures around the world, including her parents’ homes in Eritrea and Ethiopia, building a school under the scorching Saharan sun, training with a guide dog in New Jersey, climbing an iceberg in Alaska, fighting for blind readers at a courthouse in Vermont, and talking with President Obama at The White House. Warm, funny, thoughtful, and uplifting, this captivating book is a testament to Haben’s determination to resist isolation and find the keys to connection.

2021-2022 One Book

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stephenson is the 2021-22 School Year's One Books. Published by Random House Books, Just Mercy is Stephenson's account of creating the Equal Justice Initiative and his defense of those in need and the wrongfully condemned.

2020-2021 One Book

The 2020-2021 One Book Is There, There by Tommy Orange. (Vintage Books, 2018)

2019-2020 One Book

The 2019-2020 One Book selection is Joshua Davis' Spare Parts: Four Undocumented Teenagers, One Ugly Robot, and the Battle for the American Dream (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2014).

One Book Selection Process

The One Book Selection Committee is comprised of faculty, staff, students, and community representatives. Every year the Committee members collectively read and explore scores of books in order to start narrowing down the selection for the year. There are several meetings throughout the year to discuss and debate which book best suits the needs of the Program and the campus community for topical relevance, intellectual stimulation, and audience appeal.

The Committee bases its decision on the following criteria:

  • Accessibility and appeal to all community members
  • Quality of writing
  • Encourages interdisciplinary thought and sparks passionate discussion in a variety of courses and contexts
  • Explores diverse cultural perspectives
  • Provides challenging opportunities for new learning and exploration
  • Addresses contemporary issues

Suggest A Book!

If you'd like to make a suggestion for a future One Book selection to the Committee, please email us at and include your suggestion, possible programming ideas for events and activities, your contact information, and if you have any connection to the author.

All suggestions must be made by September 1 for consideration for the following year. Any suggestions that come in after the September 1 deadline will be considered for subsequent years.