ABCD Institute > Resources > ABCD Faculty Book Recommendations
Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow: An Organizing GuideDaniel HunterRecommended by Jess WyattBook Description:Expanding on the call to action in Michelle Alexander's acclaimed best-seller, The New Jim Crow, this accessible organizing guide puts tools in your hands to help you and your group understand how to make meaningful, effective change. Learn about your role in movement-building and how to pick and build campaigns that contribute towards a bigger mass movement against the largest penal system in the world. This important new resource offers examples from this and other movements, time-tested organizing techniques, and vision to inspire, challenge, and motivate.
Charged Emily Bazelon Recommended by Bob FrancisBook Description: Charged follows the story of two young people caught up in the criminal justice system: Kevin, a twenty-year-old in Brooklyn who picked up his friend's gun as the cops burst in and was charged with a serious violent felony, and Noura, a teenage girl in Memphis indicted for the murder of her mother. Bazelon tracks both cases—from arrest and charging to trial and sentencing—and, with her trademark blend of deeply reported narrative, legal analysis, and investigative journalism, illustrates just how criminal prosecutions can go wrong and, more important, why they don't have to. Bazelon also details the second chances prosecutors can extend, if they choose, to Kevin and Noura and so many others. She follows a wave of reform-minded D.A.s who have been elected in some of our biggest cities, as well as in rural areas in every region of the country, put in office to do nothing less than reinvent how their job is done. If they succeed, they can point the country toward a different and profoundly better future.
Community-The Structure of Belonging Peter Block Recommended by Ron Dwyer-VossBook Description: As a response to the increasing violence in our culture, the widening ideological divides, and the growing gap in economic well-being, there is greater awareness that a deeper sense of community is desperately needed. But even as we acknowledge the need to build community, the dominant on-the-ground practices about how to engage people, civically and organizationally, remain essentially unchanged. We still believe community is built with better messaging, more persuasion, and social events for people to get to know each other better. All of which is naïve.
Emergent Strategy Adrienne Maree Brown Recommended by Jess WyattBook Description: Inspired by Octavia Butler's explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book invites us to feel, map, assess, and learn from the swirling patterns around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen. This is a resolutely materialist “spirituality" based equally on science and science fiction, a visionary incantation to transform that which ultimately transforms us.
Grace Will Lead Us Home Jennifer Berry-Hayes Recommended by Bob FrancisBook Description: In Grace Will Lead Us Home, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jennifer Berry Hawes provides a definitive account of the tragedy's aftermath. With unprecedented access to the grieving families and other key figures, Hawes offers a nuanced and moving portrait of the events and emotions that emerged in the massacre's wake. The two adult survivors of the shooting begin to make sense of their lives again. Rifts form between some of the victims' families and the church. A group of relatives fights to end gun violence, capturing the attention of President Obama. And a city in the Deep South must confront its racist past. This is the story of how, beyond the headlines, a community of people begins to heal.
Having Nothing Possessing Everything Michael Mather & Fr. Gergory Boyle Recommended by Bob FrancisBook Description: Pastor Mike Mather arrived in Indianapolis thinking that he was going to serve the poor. But after his church's community lost nine young men to violence in a few short months, Mather came to see that the poor didn't need his help—he needed theirs. This is the story of how one church found abundance in a com-munity of material poverty. Viewing people—not programs, finances, or service models—as their most valuable resource moved church members beyond their own walls and out into the streets, where they discovered folks rich in strength, talents, determination, and love.
How to be an Antiracist Ibram X. Kendi Recommended by George TerrellBook Description: Antiracism is a transformative concept that reorients and reenergizes the conversation about racism—and, even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. At it's core, racism is a powerful system that creates false hierarchies of human value; its warped logic extends beyond race, from the way we regard people of different ethnicities or skin colors to the way we treat people of different sexes, gender identities, and body types. Racism intersects with class and culture and geography and even changes the way we see and value ourselves. In How to Be an Antiracist, Kendi takes readers through a widening circle of antiracist ideas—from the most basic concepts to visionary possibilites—that will help readers see all forms of racism clearly, understand their posionous consequences, and work to oppose them in our systems and in ourselves. Kendi weaves an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science with his own personal story of awakening to antiracism. This is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond the awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a just and equitable society.
Pleasure Activism Adrienne Maree Brown Recommended by Jess WyattBook Description: How do we make social justice the most pleasurable human experience? How can we awaken within ourselves desires that make it impossible to settle for anything less than a fulfilling life? Author and editor adrienne maree brown finds the answer in something she calls “pleasure activism," a politics of healing and happiness that explodes the dour myth that changing the world is just another form of work. Drawing on the black feminist tradition, she challenges us to rethink the ground rules of activism. Her mindset-altering essays are interwoven with conversations and insights from other feminist thinkers, including Audre Lorde, Joan Morgan, Cara Page, Sonya Renee Taylor, and Alexis Pauline Gumbs. Together they cover a wide array of subjects—from sex work to climate change, from race and gender to sex and drugs—building new narratives about how politics can feel good and how what feels good always has a complex politics of its own.
Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development Vandana Shiva Recommended by Cormac RussellBook Description: Shiva relates the journey of the Chipko Movement (also known as Chipko Andolan), which started in 1973 as a nonviolent effort to resist deforestation, first by private companies and later by the Indian government. While the movement started in India, in Reni village of Chamoli district, Uttarakhand, it gave birth to a powerful form of ecofemism (since women were its mainstay) with global echoes and local expressions evident around the world to this day.
The New Jim Crow Michelle Alexander Recommended by Bob FrancisBook Description: this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a "call to action."
The Starfish and The Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations Ori Brafman & Rod A. Beckstrom Recommended by Ron Dwyer-VossBook Description: If you cut off a spider's head, it dies; if you cut off a starfish's leg it grows a new one, and that leg can grow into an entirely new starfish. Traditional top-down organizations are like spiders, but now starfish organizations are changing the face of business and the world. What's the hidden power behind the success of Wikipedia, craigslist, and Skype? What do eBay and General Electric have in common with the abolitionist and women's rights movements? What fundamental choice put General Motors and Toyota on vastly different paths? Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom have discovered some unexpected answers, gripping stories, and a tapestry of unlikely connections. The Starfish and the Spider explores what happens when starfish take on spiders and reveals how established companies and institutions, from IBM to Intuit to the U.S. government, are also learning how to incorporate starfish principles to achieve success.
Additional Resources: https://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement?utm_campaign=tedspread&utm_medium=referral&utm_source=tedcomshare
The Violence of the Green Revolution: Third World Agriculture, Ecology, and Politics Vandana Shiva Recommended by Cormac RussellBook Description: Shiva illustrates in the starkest terms what happens when FESWAW is damaged, as she reflects on the devastation the so-called Green Revolution wreaked around the globe. The Green Revolution (GR) is the name given to a science-based effort at transforming Global South agriculture. In the end, the Indian Punjab was to be the most negatively impacted. Today one quarter of the land mass used during the GR is desert; it literally has turned to salt (Patel, 2012).
White Fragility, Why It's So Hard For White People To Talk About Racism Robin Diangelo & Michael Eric Dyson Recommended by Cormac RussellBook Description: In this “vital, necessary, and beautiful book" (Michael Eric Dyson), antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo deftly illuminates the phenomenon of white fragility and “allows us to understand racism as a practice not restricted to 'bad people' (Claudia Rankine). Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue. In this in-depth exploration, DiAngelo examines how white fragility develops, how it protects racial inequality, and what we can do to engage more constructively.