Madison Book Club examines book on social justice

Emily Merlin, Social Media Editor

The idea of starting a book club can be a little nerve-racking, what with trying to find people willing to participate, agreeing on a book, setting a regular date and a time to meet that works for everyone, and then sit down and talk about a book. Why not just join the Madison Book Club instead?

On Oct. 10, this small group of five came together at the Goodman South campus to talk about the book “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson. 

The reason the group selected this book is that the founders of the club are affiliated with Justified Anger, a local Madison group that wants to empower the African American community.

Jimmy Cheffen, Nicole Wilcox, and Denise Mjelde (Mel-dee) are volunteers for Justified Anger and wanted to educate more people about the injustices African Americans in the Madison community face.

They also wanted people to be prepared for when Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five, comes to Madison College to speak. The Central Park Five is a group of five black teens who were wrongfully convicted of assault and rape in the 1990s.

Both Cheffen and Wilcox want people in this book club to go out and create their own club. They want the community to hold discourse about racial and other important matters.

Wilcox asks the residents of Madison for “a call to action because it’s our job to make (Madison) safe and inviting.” 

Mjelde and Wilcox gathered questions for the book club from several locations online. They looked at the instructor’s guide as well as the reading guide for “Just Mercy.”

Along the way, as all good discussions do, unplanned questions pop up that the group talks about. Listening to other people’s points of view on a serious topic is very eye-opening, because not everyone had the same background as you.

For more information about Justified Anger, visit