I’m not gonna lie. I cried myself to sleep on Election Day. And when I finally opened my eyes the next morning, I lay there, hovering in a space of unreality and dread. I rolled over to check my phone, which only confirmed that I had not tossed and turned my way through a nightmare. This was real. People had voted for hate instead of love.
Since joining the Book Riot team, my TBR pile has ballooned to include so many voices that are different than my own. These voices have provided me with new perspectives. They have taught me empathy and understanding and love. They have given me hope that, even in the midst of great horrors, the voices of minorities are getting louder. It seemed to me that with this growing, glorious sound, things could only get better.
This seems like a natural enough time to want to give up. To pull the covers over our heads and hit the snooze alarm and refuse to step into this new future. To flee.
Just one day before the election, Rebecca Solnit wrote in The Guardian that “… it matters who is president, but what a president does has everything to do with what the people demand or refuse or do themselves…” Other people have since tweeted similar sentiments… similar calls to action. It’s an important reminder. But I also know that many of us feel powerless. That we don’t know what to do.
Some books I hope can help:
Kate Schatz and Miriam Klein Stahl’s Rad American Women A-Z, a collection of radical women throughout history that includes resources for how you, yourself, can take action.
bell hooks’s Teaching to Transgress, a meditation on how we can teach our young people to embody the principles of the world we ourselves wish for.
Greg Jobin-Leeds and Agit-Arte’s When We Fight, We Win, a look at social movements and activists who are changing the world, and how we can use their successes as a blueprint in our own lives.
Rinku Sen’s Stir It Up, a how-to manual on community activism and organizing.
Mark and Paul Engler’s This Is an Uprising, a look at various forms of nonviolent revolt and the impact they can have.
Sarah Jaffe’s Necessary Trouble, another look at the movements that have made average Americans into activists.
Angela Y. Davis’s Freedom Is a Constant Struggle, a collection of essays, interviews, and speeches that highlight struggles against oppression throughout history.
Innosanto Nagara’s A Is for Activist, a board book I just added to my 2-year-old’s TBR list.
Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards’s Grassroots, a book that taught me a lot about feminist activism back when I was just starting to claim that word for myself.
Paul Loeb’s The Impossible Will Take a Little While, which… no kidding. This book is a book of hope from voices who know.
And of course, please continue to keep reading the books my fellow Book Rioters continue to champion… the kinds of books that blast open minds and create allies of us all. You can start with Rachel Manwill’s post on advanced citizenship but, really, every post on this site will do you right.