Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is "Equality" Day

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"Equality: What Do You Think About When You Think of Equality" Book of Essays Debuts Monday, January 16th. Paul Alan Fahey and twenty-four fellow award-winning authors contribute vivid, haunting insights and experiences.

“We really have no choice but to find a way to listen and speak to one another with respect, if we’re going to make equality a reality.”

Equality is one of today’s hottest topics in this contentious post-election climate, days before the presidential inauguration. Twenty-five award-winning and best-selling writers tackle the theme and run with it in surprising directions. In the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "Stride Toward Freedom" and Malala Yousafzai’s "I Am Malala", these thought-provoking, funny, and compelling essays probe a concept professed to be the very foundation of our democracy—a concept that may be even more vital today than in the past.

Paul Alan Fahey had a vision: that he could enroll major national and international authors in writing essays on the subject of "equality"; that he would find a publisher for the book; that the essays would be inspiring; that the book would inspire readers toward dialogue and understanding in a contentious world.

"I'm stunned and grateful that so far every part of my vision has come true. Now we want to reach out and let our book do some good," editor and author Fahey remarked from his home on California's Central Coast. “We really have no choice but to find a way to listen and speak to one another with respect if we’re going to make equality a reality,” he added.

Fahey, a seven-time winner of the Lillian Dean First Page competition, and two-time winner of the Rainbow Award, chose a particular question that he asked each potential author: "What do you think about when you think of equality? Do you think of equality across a spectrum: racial, social, political, religious, marital, and gender?" Simple questions on their face, these proved to be challenging for the authors. Indeed, these award-winning and best-selling writers tackle equality across multiple spectrums--racial, social, political, religious, marital, gender--and run with it in surprising directions. Some examples prove how many different ways even the word "equality" can be interpreted.

International best-selling novelist Anne Perry asserts "we must look within ourselves to our emotions, experiences, and beliefs before we attempt an honest and truthful answer."

Psychotherapist and author Dennis Palumbo explains "diagnostic labels used in treating mental illness often stigmatize and dehumanize the patient, causing clinicians to view their patients in terms of their diagnosis rather than as people."

Barbara Abercrombie, writer and distinguished university professor, tackles ageism, showing it "as yet another form of stereotyping and discrimination in the language we use to describe older adults."

Award-winning novelist and performer Mara Purl revealed that "equality is something I've taken for granted on the surface. But when Paul asked me this question, I was amazed at the depth of sentiments that rose to the surface, recalling experiences of both racial and gender prejudice."

Victoria Zackheim, essayist, playwright and novelist, commented on equality that, "In the story of our country, it should have star billing. Instead, it’s been given minor parts, sometimes hardly more than a walk-on, too often forced to stand behind the cameras, silent, waiting. Like everything in life, there is a back story, and Equality is no exception.”

The authors of this timely anthology explore these questions and many others. Contributors include Barbara Abercrombie, Anne R. Allen, Christopher Bram, ‘Nathan Burgoine, Rob Byrnes, David Congalton, Larry Duplechan, Eldonna Edwards, Jewelle Gomez, Lisa Horan, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Barbara Jacksha, Michael McMahon, Jeff Mann, Michael Nava, Dennis Palumbo, Anne Perry, Felice Picano, Mara Purl, Susan Reynolds, Jeffrey Ricker, Michael Rupured, Baxter Clare Trautman, and Victoria Zackheim.

Paul Alan Fahey earned his Masters in Learning Disabilities at DePaul University, and his Doctorate from the University of San Francisco. As a professor at Alan Hancock College in Santa Maria, he established a learning disabilities curriculum that included creating of the publication Mindprints. He's a long-time member of the Central Coast writing community, frequent faculty member of the Central Coast Writers Conference, and contributing member of SLO Nightwriters. He writes a weekly blog for GoodReads and feels mentoring and helping other writers is the natural outcome of his forty years of teaching.

The new book can be ordered at any bookseller or online. For more information about the book, visit the publisher's website at http://www.vineleavespress.com/equality-by-paul-alan-fahey.html.

Praise & Endorsements

“... forces us to take a close look at our beliefs, our fears—and yes—even those prejudices we would rather not acknowledge.” Caroline Leavitt, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

“[After reading] you’ll be compelled to test your own acceptance of others, right down to the guy who cut you off on the freeway this morning.” Diane Broyles, author of Out of Time on Santorini

“Oh, how I love this book, this collection—thank you, a million times ... Equality, has come at the perfect time. The world is in need of this book; I would go so far as calling it a Bible. Written by 25 amazing writers, authors, activists, it would stand as a vital read, but as a collection should be on everyone’s shelf, or better yet, night table. It is a reminder of how far we have come, and how much further we must travel, and how, when we stand up—either alone or collectively—we become the occasion that we are rising to.” Amy Ferris, editor, screenwriter and author of Marrying George Clooney: Confessions From A Midlife CrisisINTERIOR

"These essays---so honest, so thoughtful, so compassionate---will echo in your heart for days if not years. Just what we needed to more forward into a more soul-listening era."
-- Jane Kirkpatrick, New York Times Award-winning author of This Road We Traveled

"I am not only impressed, I am proud of the authors' efforts to mend our 'system of life' not only through articulating life's essential meaning but life's potential 'magic' as well."
-- Rashid Silvera, Educator, Super-Model, Actor

“... a carnival of intellectual provocation. Moving and inspiring, these are essays that move us forward to imagine endless possibilities.”

-- Michael Bronski, author of A Queer History of the United States, and Professor of the Practice in Activism and Media Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality Harvard University.
“Some sombre, some bright, these beautifully crafted essays on equality lay out the amazing breadth of a struggle that’s achieved so much and still has so far to go.”
-- Richard Stevenson, author of the Don Strachey private eye novels

“... the perfect antidote to current politics in America. Instead of pontificating and posing, each writer takes on the subject matter with a sense of both urgency and introspection, and by the end of the book you feel edified, as well as quite a bit saner.”
-- Keith Banner, author of Next to Nothing and The Smallest People Alive

“A marvellous collection of multifaceted essays—heartfelt, insightful, humorous, passionate, compelling—on a subject vital to us all.”
-- Marshall Thornton, author The Boystown Mysteries

“Some concepts seem so basic, we tend to assume they mean the same thing to all of us. In this compelling anthology, a diverse group of writers demonstrate that all views are not equal—even when the concept in question is equality itself. Ranging from the historical and political to the deeply personal, these essays examine what equality—or, more pointedly, inequality—means in the lives of real people. Encompassing race, sex, age, sexual orientation, and other prisms of experience, Equality is a fascinating and enlightening read. Each author provides a glimpse into the delicate balance between equality of personhood and respect for the diverse aspects of human identity. Together, these essays paint a moving, even occasionally comic, portrait of the varied paths we all take to proclaim our rights while respecting and holding onto the specific things that make us who we are. The particular subjects and perspectives of each author create a quilt of experience, suggesting that our very difference as individuals is key to our equality, perhaps the one thing we have most in common.”
-- Lewis DeSimone, author of Channeling Morgan and The Heart’s History

“Equality taps into the talent of many to explore the depth and breadth of this sensitive topic in ways that will enlighten your mind and feed your soul.”
-- Anna Unkovich, co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul in the Classroom, and Caring To Teach, Teaching To Care.

“Equality is actually about living the truth. This brave new collection ... bring[s] a queer-focused human voice to the idea and necessity of it.”
-- Perry Brass, author of IPPY Award winning The Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love.

“The stories in this collection will settle gently and deeply into the reader’s thoughts and will, most likely, spur a steady desire to attend to equality of every kind.”
-- Leeza Carlone Steindorf, speaker, trainer, mediator, coach, award-winning author of
Connected Parent, Empowered Child: Five Keys to Raising Happy, Confident, Responsible Kids—A CORE Success® Guide

“Rich, Meaningful, Enlightening … and a tapestry of thoughts, perceptions and experiences of individuals that I would personally love to share a meal with and know are revealed in Equality. Paul Fahey has created a gift, reminding me why I so love the diversity of what we have … a reminder of the very fabric of why people do and think the way they do and a celebration of the individual gifts that each of us have. Are we all equal? Yes, in our own uniqueness—honour and grow with it. What better message could we all have? Highly recommended.”
-- Judith Briles, author of How to Avoid 101 Book Publishing Blunders, Bloopers & Boo-Boos, and six-time national book award winner

“From a toddler’s shock at realizing her new baby brother had a full right to play with her toys, to a gay man’s effervescent relief when doctors and nurses honour a spousal relationship, this heartfelt and often funny anthology will remind readers of what is arguably our most important moral obligation: not to love or admire one another, but simply to respect each other’s humanity.”
-- Glen Retief, author of the Lambda Award-winning The Jack Bank: A Memoir of a South African Childhood

“This is the fabulous gift that these fine, brave, risk-taking authors have given to me: a chance to be other than I am, if only during a few moments of quiet reading time, in order to understand the shallows or depths of my own humanity.”
-- Laurie Jameson, Willa Cather Award finalist, author of When I Came West, and Side Canyons

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