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 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.
Because, as this elegantly simple picture book reminds us,"Though War is Old/ It has not/ Become wise."
Because what 13-17 year old wouldn't like 44 feminist artists, writers, and activists inviting them into the movement?
Because this book by the author of Men Explain Things to Me, reminds us that hope is perhaps the most radical act.
Because you need someone to walk you through the issues, point by point, and give you some direct action steps.
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.
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.
Because these are uncertain times but Pema Chodron always has our backs.
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.
Because, as Audre Lorde says, "Poetry is not a luxury," this collection reminds us that the great American poetic tradition is dissent.
Because small actions add up and it's best to start where you are.
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.
Because you have to know how a thing works before you can dismantle it.
Because as the Trump administration takes its war to the front lines of healthcare, "there can be nothing about us, without us."
Because solidarity is a practice and so is love.
Because stories about people fighting for water rights have never been more relevant.
Because if we are going to survive, we must build bridges, not walls.
Because Octavia warned us.