Updated: Dec 10, 2020
We had a wonderful turnout for our first webinar, "Valuing Diversity and Mobilizing Allyship." The webinar was designed to help individuals, businesses, and organizations find the "next steps" and be a part of a more equitable future. We shared valuable resources and action items on how to move forward in a more conscious and sustainable way. You can access the full recording here.
Also, we pledged to sharing some educational resources in support of this topic. The Seattle Times curated a valuable reading list that we included below. We also referenced Mireille Cassandra Harper's, "10 Steps To Non-Optical Allyship," in our webinar and wanted to re-post on our blog. For all of those who joined us this week, we are so grateful, and we hope to see everyone at our next free webinar on Thursday, June 25th (11:30p PT/1:30p CT). We will be posting the link soon, so stay updated with our Instagram and Facebook pages!
Check out more than 20 must-read books to learn more about Black history, racism and social justice
Seattle Times staff writers
Over the past few weeks, the killing of George Floyd by police sparked nationwide protests against state violence toward Black people. With the demonstrations on countless streets and the conversations taking place in countless homes, bookstores are now experiencing a surge of interest in books about Black history, racism and social justice.
Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility,” Ibram X. Kendi’s “How To Be an Antiracist” and Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow” all turned up on The New York Times nonfiction bestseller list this week. Locally, Third Place Books reported online traffic at 10 times the usual volume, with every title on its bestseller list — headed by Seattle author Ijeoma Oluo’s “So You Want To Talk About Race” — having to do with race and injustice. It’s cause for hope, among those who believe that reading can make us better and stronger.
“My People are Rising: Memoir of a Black Panther Party Captain” by Aaron Dixon
Dixon, who led the Seattle Black Panther Party starting in 1968 through the late 1970s, wrote his memoir to chronicle his years leading the Seattle chapter during the height of the Black Power movement in the U.S. The book is a good reminder for Seattleites that racial injustice is not a problem just in other places, but that it has long been part of our social and political fabric — then and now. Former King County Councilmember Larry Gossett writes in praise at the front of the book, Dixon “presents a visual picture of the courage, commitment, and sometimes shocking brutality of life as a Panther activist.”
“Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America” by Ibram X. Kendi
Kendi might be best known for “How To Be an Antiracist,” but before he wrote that bestselling book, he wrote “Stamped From the Beginning,” which takes readers through the history of racist ideas through five “tour guides,” including W.E.B. Du Bois and William Lloyd Garrison. He writes, “Antiracists have long argued that racial discrimination was stamped from the beginning of America, which explains why racial disparities have existed and persisted.”
“When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir” by Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Asha Bandele
In this book, Khan-Cullors writes of growing up in Los Angeles and experiencing the persecution of Black people by law enforcement, and particularly her brother’s experience in jail. After Trayvon Martin’s killer went free in 2013, these experiences led Khan-Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi to co-found Black Lives Matter to fight for accountability for injustices against Black people. There was plenty of pushback, with a 2016 petition to label the movement a “terrorist organization” getting more than 140,000 signatures. Alexander, author of “The New Jim Crow,” said the book “reveals what inspired Patrisse’s visionary and courageous activism and forces us to face the consequence of the choices our nation made when we criminalized a generation.”
“The Forging of a Black Community: Seattle’s Central District from 1870 Through the Civil Rights Era” by Quintard Taylor
Published in 1994, this book by Taylor, a University of Washington history professor emeritus and founder of BlackPast.org, remains a must-read for those who want to understand Seattle’s history. Taylor documents the evolution of Seattle’s Black community in the Central District from the 1870s to the early 1990s, examining the impacts of migration, redlining, white flight, racial covenants and the movement for racial justice.
“The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks About Race,” edited by Jesmyn Ward
National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward compiled this collection of essays and poems about race by contemporary writers including Carol Anderson, Jericho Brown, Edwidge Danticat, Kevin Young, Claudia Rankine and Honoree Jeffers. “The Fire This Time” was conceived as a modern response to James Baldwin’s powerful 1963 essay collection “The Fire Next Time” (in our list below of must-read books on racial justice) and explores the “untidiness” of race in the U.S.
And here are 15 more suggestions you probably have already heard of; many of them current bestsellers, all of them powerful and relevant to this moment.
“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander
“The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin
“Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates
“Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower” by Brittney Cooper
“White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard for White People To Talk About Racism” by Robin DiAngelo