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History and Journalism
1) Conversations in Black: On Politics, Power and Leadership, Ed Gordon (2020)
Journalist Ed Gordon brings together prominent voices in black America to discuss the future of black leadership. “This book is a great opportunity to be a fly on the wall in a conversation amongst over 40 different leaders, entertainers and entrepreneurs,” says Ramunda Young. “People can get a real holistic sense of the topics we engage with all the time.”
2) 55, Underemployed and Faking Normal: Your Guide to a Better Retirement Life, Elizabeth White (2019)
Elizabeth White’s 2019 book is a deeply researched resource providing practical solutions with a focus on retirement and maximizing savings. “This takes a look at a lot of the things that come to black people financially, and COVID-19 has kind of peeled back that really dire state that we are in,” Ramunda Young says. “It’s a really personal story, and it’s one not just black people can relate to.”
3) An African American and Latinx History of the United States, Paul Ortiz (2018)
Paul Ortiz offers an intersectional history of the shared struggle for African American and Latinx civil rights, spanning two centuries. “This moment is not just about reading books on antiracism, it’s about reading books about our history,” says Derrick Young. “This book is incredible because essentially Ortiz is sending everyone back to high school history, and explaining history from the perspective not of the conquerors, but the people who were the victims of brutality, slavery and annexations, and how they fought back.”
4) Chokehold: Policing Black Men, Paul Butler (2017)
Former prosecutor Paul Butler examines modern American policing and how criminal justice laws and practices impact black men. “His book is really the best book I’ve read in the last 10 years about race relations in the U.S.,” James Fugate says. In it, Butler describes his own encounters with the police.
1) What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Blacker: A Memoir in Essays, Damon Young (2019)
This memoir-in-essays offers a look at what it means to be black and male in America, by the co-founder of the news and culture website VerySmartBrothas.com. “This book breaks down some of the stereotypes about black men, where the author talks about all of his vulnerabilities, self-esteem issues and how he deals with confronting what the world has told him he is,” Derrick Young says. “Black men are dealing with this mask that has been forced on us, and that’s not who we are.”
2) Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)
James Fugate recommends Between the World and Me, written in the form of a letter from Ta-Nehisi Coates to his teenage son. It chronicles Coates’ life growing up as a young man in Baltimore and his journey to becoming a writer. In 2014, Coates’ article for the Atlantic, ‘The Case for Reparations,’ gained widespread attention and in 2019, he testified in a U.S. House of Representatives hearing on the topic.
1) Rainbow Milk, Paul Mendez (2020)
Lovegrove recommends Mendez’s debut novel, published by her imprint Dialogue Books. The book follows 19-year-old Jesse McCarthy, a young black man in Britain as he grapples with his racial and sexual identities. “It takes really big concepts — a black, gay Jehovah’s Witness boy leaves his family and becomes a sex worker in London — and it’s written with such humility and such beauty that it’s really engaging for the reader,” Lovegrove says.
2) The Water Dancer, Ta-Nehisi Coates (2019)
The Water Dancer is Coates’ debut novel, set in a surrealist version of the 19th-century Deep South and features a protagonist with superpowers. “It has a lot of magical realism to it, and I just loved that,” says Fugate.
Children’s and Young Adult
Recommended by Aimée Felone.
1) This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work by Tiffany Jewell (2020)
“I felt completely powerless when I was young. I was able to identify racism and injustice, but did not have the language to talk about it and definitely did not know how to stand-up, especially against racist adults,” antiracism educator Tiffany Jewell said in an interview for World Book Day. Her debut book is designed to do just that: equip young people with the tools they need to be actively antiracist.
2) Anti-Racist Baby, Ibram X. Kendi (2020)
This upcoming picture book from the best-selling author of the moment, Kendi, shows kids nine steps to building a more equitable and antiracist world. It will be published June 16.
3) Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi (2020)
An adaptation of Kendi’s Stamped From the Beginning targeted at young adults, this collaboration between the original author and celebrated children’s writer Jason Reynolds seeks to explain why young people are growing up in a world of racism, and what they can do about it.
4) Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson (2014)
National Book Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson tells the story of her childhood through poetry, detailing her experiences as a black girl growing up in 1960s South Carolina and New York.
5) A is for Activist, Innosanto Nagara (2013)
Innosanto Nagara initially wrote, illustrated and self-published this board book for his own children out of a desire to see a progressive book about the alphabet for younger children. It has since become a bestseller, with over 125,000 copies in print.
(courtesy of TIME magazine)
1) All My Relations
Before and during the enslavement and exploitation of Black Americans, there was the genocide of Native Americans. We were forced to work stolen land, and it's important that racial justice conversations begin with that lens. If America cared about indigenous lives, Officer Chauvin—one of six officers who killed Wayne Reyes, a Native American man, in 2006—would’ve never been in a position to kill George Floyd almost 14 years later.
2) New York Times' 1619
The past is never the past, and we can never forget this country’s foundation of subjugating Black people and people of color. This podcast is part of an extensive New York Times project offering insight into the four centuries since American slavery began and the legacy that continues to plague Black Americans.
3) EJI's Lynching in America
Legacy matters. It's important for us to see police and white supremacist violence as part of the legacy of lynching and slavery. Then, we’ll realize racism never went away—it evolved. Bryan Stevenson and the EJI team explain the historical context behind these moments to reveal just how deeply rooted the problem is.
4) Intersectionality Matters with Kimberlé Crenshaw
Intersectionality has become a mainstream buzzword in recent years, but for many, it’s used out of context. Learn from the Black scholar and activist who coined the term about what intersectionality looks like in practice and how to continue the fight for justice for Black women.
5) The #GroundingsPodcast
Historical context is essential when joining social justice work. We are all adding bricks to an existing foundation, and knowing what that foundation is—and the lessons already learned—prevents us from repeating mistakes. The Groundingspodcast provides well-researched episodes exploring moments in social justice history from a decolonial lens.
6) NPR's Code Switch
Racism is omnipresent in American society, and until we name it we can’t address it. Code Switch shines a light on the pervasive nature of racism, from language and workplace culture to social norms. First we identify the problems, then we work to dismantle them.
7) The Appeal’s Justice in America
A core component of institutionalized racism is the way Black people are criminalized and incarcerated on a mass scale. Hear from experts on the frontlines of criminal justice reform about how to embrace alternatives to policing and incarceration.
8) Beyond Prisons
Now more than ever, Americans are considering prison abolition as the only meaningful systemic change when it comes to our racist criminal justice system. But for those unfamiliar with the theory, it feels like anarchy. This podcast explores the possibilities in divesting from policing and prisons as we know them and reinvesting those resources in other spheres.
9) Ear Hustle
Incarcerated people are people first, and it’s important we never lose sight of their humanity. This podcast provides insight into the lived reality of incarceration and what redemption and restorative justice could look like—straight from those directly impacted.
10) Angela Glover Blackwell’s Radical Imagination
I wouldn’t be an activist if I didn’t offer you solutions to reflect on. So much of the problems we face in American society stem from a fear of starting over. But dismantling systems of oppression altogether, and replacing them with radical imagination, is precisely what we need to disrupt the centuries-old cycle.
(list courtesy of ELLE Magazine)
Founded in 2017, the Minnesota-based Black Visions Collective is committed to dismantling systems of oppression and violence. The organization’s work is centered in healing and transformative justice principles, and nurturing the state’s emerging Black leadership to lead powerful campaigns.
Initially focused on keeping trans people out of NYC jail, the fund has expanded its mission during COVID-19 to include anyone in the LGBTQIA+ community.
A national organization, the LGBTQ Freedom Fund posts bail to secure the release of tens of thousands of LGBTQ people held in jails. Additionally, the organization raises awareness of the disproportionate harm of mass incarceration on the queer community.
The NAACP works to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race. This is enacted via the targeting of racial discrimination through democratic processes, the enforcement of civil rights at all levels, and communication with the public about the adverse effects of racial discrimination, among other objectives.
You can also donate to NAACP’s Legal Defense and Educational Fund, seeking structural changes to expand democracy, eliminate disparities, and achieve racial justice.
As donations poured in to help protesters post bail, many resources found themselves overwhelmed by the generosity. For a comprehensive guide to bail funds across the country, as well as those which have kindly requested you send your money elsewhere, check the NBFN, which is updated regularly.
A project of the National Lawyers Guild, the NPAP has been operating as a nonprofit since 1999. The organization’s central mission is to promote the accountability of law enforcement officers and their employers for violations of the law, and to protect the human and civil rights of individuals in their encounters with law enforcement.
(list courtesy of PLAYBILL)