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Books to Build Movements: A Charis Trump Resistance Reading List

As President Trump seeks to dismantle most of the hard won protections and rights so many of us have dedicated our lives to fighting for, we are thinking about how Charis can best be of service in this time of crisis. We know that many of you who call Charis home have long been in movement work. You are the organizers, the activists, the healers, the teachers, the donors, the parents, the clergy, and the artists who have helped secure so many of the gains that Trump and his team will dismantle.  You have also been on the front lines documenting, witnessing, and speaking truth to power about all of the painful and deeply entrenched inequalities that have not simply "gotten better" in the last eight years of Obama's presidency. For some, the election of Donald Trump was a wake up call, for others it was another, not so surprising, day in America. This is a bleak time for any of us who love and fight for this world, but you are not alone in your sadness or in this fight. Millions of people around the country who have not previously considered themselves "political" are coming to understand that the personal is indeed very, very political and we can't afford for anyone to sit this fight out. 

Our challenge as we move forward together is to harness the great potential of these new hearts and channel each person's unique gifts and energy into an organization or into movement communities who are already engaged in this work. One of the ways we can meet each other on the most fertile ground, is to surround ourselves with the books and voices that feed us where we are today. This list is designed to meet those of you who are veterans in this work with books that honor where you have been and how exhausted you may already be. It is also designed to meet those of you who are new to this work with concrete places to get started and important histories to help ground you in the context of this moment.

As James Baldwin wrote: “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” We need to be tender with one another's heartbreak as we fight for a world worth living in. If you have been an educator, may you find a way to pause and find peace before the next fight. If you are coming into your identity as a student, may you be comforted by all the people who came before you, who made a path so that you have a place to walk safely. Now is the time to read and honor their stories so that you can better know your own.

If you are looking for additional books for white people about dismantling white supremacy, please check out these lists for adults and kids.

If you are looking for additional books about intersectional feminism, please check out this list

If you are looking for additional books about resisting police violence and anti-black racism, please check out this list which we made after George Zimmerman was not indicted, which is as timely as ever. 

Books about multiracial families for children.

Books about gender diversity for children.

We love you. We're here for you. You got this. 

Why War Is Never a Good Idea Cover Image
By Alice Walker, Stefano Vitale (Illustrator)
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ISBN: 9780060753856
Published: HarperCollins - September 18th, 2007

Because, as this elegantly simple picture book reminds us,"Though War is Old/ It has not/ Become wise."

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781616205867
Published: Algonquin Young Readers - January 24th, 2017

Because what 13-17 year old wouldn't like 44 feminist artists, writers, and activists inviting them into the movement?

Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities Cover Image
ISBN: 9781608465767
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Haymarket Books - March 15th, 2016

Because this book by the author of Men Explain Things to Me, reminds us that hope is perhaps the most radical act.

The Trump Survival Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Living Through What You Hoped Would Never Happen Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062686480
Published: Dey Street Books - January 10th, 2017

Because you need someone to walk you through the issues, point by point, and give you some direct action steps.

If They Come in the Morning...: Voices of Resistance (Radical Thinkers) Cover Image
By Angela Y. Davis (Editor)
ISBN: 9781784787691
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Published: Verso - November 8th, 2016

Because this reissued classic is still one of the most scathing indictments of the American prison system and its effects on black people's lives that has ever been written.

WHAT WE DO NOW: Standing Up for Your Values in Trump's America Cover Image
By Dennis Johnson (Editor), Valerie Merians (Editor)
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ISBN: 9781612196596
Published: Melville House - January 3rd, 2017

Because this collection of manifestos from leftists across the spectrum offers many blueprints for how to reclaim the values conversation in an era of unprecedented danger and lies.

Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings on Cultivating Fearlessness and Compassion Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781590300787
Published: Shambhala - December 30th, 2003

Because these are uncertain times but Pema Chodron always has our backs.

The Crunk Feminist Collection Cover Image
By Brittney C. Cooper (Editor), Susana M. Morris (Editor), Robin M. Boylorn (Editor)
ISBN: 9781558619432
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Published: Feminist Press - January 10th, 2017

Because this collection is like sitting down with a group of your most trusted friends who have your back and want you to be your best self. Also because if our feminisms aren't intersectional in this moment, they aren't feminist.

Of Poetry and Protest: From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin Cover Image
By Phil Cushway (Compiled by), Victoria Smith (Photographs by), Michael Warr (Editor)
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ISBN: 9780393352733
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 21st, 2016

Because, as Audre Lorde says, "Poetry is not a luxury," this collection reminds us that the great American poetic tradition is dissent. 

Becoming a Citizen Activist: Stories, Strategies & Advice for Changing Our World Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781632170446
Published: Sasquatch Books - January 5th, 2016

Because small actions add up and it's best to start where you are. 

Beyond the Pale: White Women, Racism, and History (Feminist Classics) Cover Image
By Vron Ware, Mikki Kendall (Foreword by)
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ISBN: 9781784780128
Published: Verso - June 9th, 2015

Because white womens' role in maintaining white supremacy must be fully examined if we are to build a truly intersectional feminist movement in the 21st century.

Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism Cover Image
ISBN: 9781784786755
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Published: Verso - September 13th, 2016

Because you have to know how a thing works before you can dismantle it. 

A Disability History of the United States (REVISIONING HISTORY #2) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780807022047
Published: Beacon Press - October 1st, 2013

Because as the Trump administration takes its war to the front lines of healthcare, "there can be nothing about us, without us."

The Solidarity Struggle: How People of Color Succeed and Fail At Showing Up For Each Other In the Fight For Freedom Cover Image
By Mia McKenzie (Editor), Cece McDonald (Foreword by), Patrisse Cullors (Contribution by)
ISBN: 9780988628656
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Published: Bgd Press, Inc. - July 27th, 2016

Because solidarity is a practice and so is love.

The Fifth Sacred Thing (Maya Greenwood #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553373806
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Published: Bantam - June 1st, 1994

Because stories about people fighting for water rights have never been more relevant. 

Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781784784713
Published: Verso - October 11th, 2016

Because if we are going to survive, we must build bridges, not walls.

Parable of the Sower Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780446675505
Published: Grand Central Publishing - January 1st, 2000

Because Octavia warned us.