Deck Your Bookshelves with BIPOC Brilliance! (2021 Holiday Buys)





This holiday season, give yourself, your loved ones, friends, neighbors, and coworkers the gift of self-reflection, inspiration, and recipes for liberatory action with these incredible books, each packed with brilliance, wisdom, experiences, and insights of Black, Indigenous, and authors of color. Better yet, buy them from your local bookstores whenever possible!



The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story created by Nikole Hannah-Jones


In late August 1619, a ship arrived in the British colony of Virginia bearing a cargo of twenty to thirty enslaved people from Africa. Their arrival led to the barbaric and unprecedented system of American chattel slavery that would last for the next 250 years. This is sometimes referred to as the country’s original sin, but it is more than that: It is the source of so much that still defines the United States.

The New York Times Magazine’s award-winning “1619 Project” issue reframed our understanding of American history by placing slavery and its continuing legacy at the center of our national narrative. This new book substantially expands on that work, weaving together eighteen essays that explore the legacy of slavery in present-day America with thirty-six poems and works of fiction that illuminate key moments of oppression, struggle, and resistance. The essays show how the inheritance of 1619 reaches into every part of contemporary American society, from politics, music, diet, traffic, and citizenship to capitalism, religion, and our democracy itself. This is a book that speaks directly to our current moment, contextualizing the systems of race and caste within which we operate today. It reveals long-glossed-over truths around our nation’s founding and construction—and the way that the legacy of slavery did not end with emancipation, but continues to shape contemporary American life. Featuring contributions from: Leslie Alexander • Michelle Alexander • Carol Anderson • Joshua Bennett • Reginald Dwayne Betts • Jamelle Bouie • Anthea Butler • Matthew Desmond • Rita Dove • Camille T. Dungy • Cornelius Eady • Eve L. Ewing • Nikky Finney • Vievee Francis • Yaa Gyasi • Forrest Hamer • Terrance Hayes • Kimberly Annece Henderson • Jeneen Interlandi • Honorée Fanonne Jeffers • Barry Jenkins • Tyehimba Jess • Martha S. Jones • Robert Jones, Jr. • A. Van Jordan • Ibram X. Kendi • Eddie Kendricks • Yusef Komunyakaa • Kevin M. Kruse • Kiese Laymon • Trymaine Lee • Jasmine Mans • Terry McMillan • Tiya Miles • Wesley Morris • Khalil Gibran Muhammad • Lynn Nottage • ZZ Packer • Gregory Pardlo • Darryl Pinckney • Claudia Rankine • Jason Reynolds • Dorothy Roberts • Sonia Sanchez • Tim Seibles • Evie Shockley • Clint Smith • Danez Smith • Patricia Smith • Tracy K. Smith • Bryan Stevenson • Nafissa Thompson-Spires • Natasha Trethewey • Linda Villarosa • Jesmyn Ward






Be Anti-Racist: A Journal for Awareness, Reflection, and Action by Ibram X. Kendi


Antiracism is not a destination but a journey--one that takes deliberate, consistent work. Ibram X. Kendi's concept of antiracism has reenergized and reshaped the conversation about racial justice in America and pointed us toward new ways of thinking about ourselves and our society. Whether or not you've read How to Be an Antiracist, this stunning paperback journal offers the opportunity to reflect on your personal commitment to antiracism. Be Antiracist is both a confessional and a log of your journey toward a more equitable and just society. Be Antiracist helps you reflect on topics such as body, power, class, gender, and policy, as well as specific questions like, "Who or what scares you the most when you think about race?" and "How can we go about disconnecting Blackness from criminality?" and "What constitutes an American to you?" Kendi's multipronged approach to self-reflection will challenge you to make change in yourself and your community, and contribute to an antiracist future.





The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together

by Heather McGhee


Heather McGhee’s specialty is the American economy—and the mystery of why it so often fails the American public. From the financial crisis of 2008 to rising student debt to collapsing public infrastructure, she found a root problem: racism in our politics and policymaking. But not just in the most obvious indignities for people of color. Racism has costs for white people, too. It is the common denominator of our most vexing public problems, the core dysfunction of our democracy and constitutive of the spiritual and moral crises that grip us all. But how did this happen? And is there a way out? McGhee embarks on a deeply personal journey across the country from Maine to Mississippi to California, tallying what we lose when we buy into the zero-sum paradigm—the idea that progress for some of us must come at the expense of others. Along the way, she meets white people who confide in her about losing their homes, their dreams, and their shot at better jobs to the toxic mix of American racism and greed. This is the story of how public goods in this country—from parks and pools to functioning schools—have become private luxuries; of how unions collapsed, wages stagnated, and inequality increased; and of how this country, unique among the world’s advanced economies, has thwarted universal healthcare. But in unlikely places of worship and work, McGhee finds proof of what she calls the Solidarity Dividend: the benefits we gain when people come together across race to accomplish what we simply can’t do on our own. The Sum of Us is not only a brilliant analysis of how we arrived here but also a heartfelt message, delivered with startling empathy, from a black woman to a multiracial America. It leaves us with a new vision for a future in which we finally realize that life can be more than a zero-sum game.





Love and Rage: The Path of Liberation Through Anger by Lama Rod Owens


In the face of systemic racism and state-sanctioned violence, how can we metabolize our anger into a force for liberation?

White supremacy in the United States has long necessitated that Black rage be suppressed, repressed, or denied, often as a means of survival, a literal matter of life and death. In Love and Rage, Lama Rod Owens, coauthor of Radical Dharma, shows how this unmetabolized anger--and the grief, hurt, and transhistorical trauma beneath it--needs to be explored, respected, and fully embodied to heal from heartbreak and walk the path of liberation. This is not a book about bypassing anger to focus on happiness, or a road map for using spirituality to transform the nature of rage into something else. Instead, it is one that offers a potent vision of anger that acknowledges and honors its power as a vehicle for radical social change and enduring spiritual transformation. Love and Rage weaves the inimitable wisdom and lived experience of Lama Rod Owens with Buddhist philosophy, practical meditation exercises, mindfulness, tantra, pranayama, ancestor practices, energy work, and classical yoga. The result is a book that serves as both a balm and a blueprint for those seeking justice who can feel overwhelmed with anger--and yet who refuse to relent. It is a necessary text for these times.





Holding Change: The Way of Emergent Strategy Facilitation and Mediation

by adrienne maree brown


In our complex world, facilitation and mediation skills are as important for individuals as they are for organizations. How do we practice them in ways that align with nature, with pleasure, with our best imagining of our future? How do we attend to generating the ease necessary to help us move through the inevitable struggles of life? How do we practice the art of holding others without losing ourselves? Black feminists have answers to those questions that can serve anyone working to create changes in our world, changes great and small; individually, interpersonally, and within our organizations.


Holding Change is about attending to coordination, to conflict, to being humans in right relationship with each other, not as a constant ongoing state, but rather as a magnificent, mysterious, ever-evolving dynamic in which we must involve ourselves, shape ourselves and each other. The majority of the book is sourced from brown’s twenty-plus years of facilitation and mediation work with movement groups.


Includes contributions by Autumn Brown, Sage Crump, Malkia Devich-Cyril, Ejeris Dixon, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Prentis Hemphill, Micky ScottBey Jones, N’Tanya Lee, and Makani Themba








Confessions from Your Token Black Colleague: True Stories and Candid Conversations About Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace

by Talisa “Tali” Lavarry


In the aftermath of the George Floyd killing in 2020, as U.S. society takes a deep look at its racist underpinnings, corporations are among the institutions being called on to revamp their treatment of black people. Confessions from Your Token Black Colleague: True Stories and Candid Conversations About Equity and Inclusion in the Workplace, provides a first-hand account of the discrimination endured by Author Tali Lavarry while working for corporations that failed to rise to the occasion when it came to creating and fostering a sustainable work environment for diverse hires. Revealing the injustices and hypocrisy that prevails, she makes a case for business leaders to examine their own unacknowledged biases and take action to address systemic racism. Through conversations with progressive white business leaders and professionals in the fields of human resources and diversity and inclusion, with their help she demonstrates what has to be done to create real solutions that protect and fortify people of color and other marginalized groups.


Part memoir and part blueprint for change, this book lays bare the mechanisms of workplace racism, from microaggressions to false accusations. Relentless oppression, at a series of corporate jobs, led to her nervous breakdown and confinement to a psych ward. This experience served as the catalyst for a period of soul-searching that resulted in the biggest revelation of her life and the formation of her own diversity, equity and inclusion consultancy. In this book she articulates the attitudes and behaviors of corporate staff that need changing if equity is to be achieved. Through a series of "Proposals for Atonement and Reconciliation," she introduces a strategy that opens the door to the possibility of intrinsic change.





Mediocre: The Dangerous Legacy of White Male American by Ijeoma Oluo


What happens to a country that tells generation after generation of white men that they deserve power? What happens when success is defined by status over women and people of color, instead of by actual accomplishments? Through the last 150 years of American history -- from the post-reconstruction South and the mythic stories of cowboys in the West, to the present-day controversy over NFL protests and the backlash against the rise of women in politics -- Ijeoma Oluo exposes the devastating consequences of white male supremacy on women, people of color, and white men themselves. Mediocre investigates the real costs of this phenomenon in order to imagine a new white male identity, one free from racism and sexism. As provocative as it is essential, this book will upend everything you thought you knew about American identity and offers a bold new vision of American greatness.






Trust the Process: Reflection of a Non-Profit Race Equity Movement

by Dr. Michelle Majors


More than 100 years have passed since W. E. B. Du Bois coined the phrase, “color line” to describe the problems of the 20th century. How does one write about lawyers who fight against the injustices of the most vulnerable while grappling with their own privilege and attitudes that perpetuate the very system they claim to oppose? Not only does Michelle Majors celebrate the applauded efforts of one law firm’s work to create workplace equity, she also includes steps for organizations who choose to take on the necessary task of creating a workplace culture of belonging, inclusion, and equity.The element that makes equity so difficult for organizations is perception. Perception is where the hardest work is done because perception is not a view of the workplace, it is a view of the self. Shifted perception and the resulting equity (preceded by belonging and inclusion) allows for the seemingly impossible to become possible.The brave thing about this text is the author's skillful discussion about both white fragility and the quick to draw race card on the part of people of color. This text is a balanced examination that ultimately leads to workplace equity.






Sacred Instructions: Indigenous Wisdom for Living Spirit-Based Change

by Sherri Mitchell, Weh’na Ha’mu’ Kwasset (She Who Brings the Light)


A narrative of Indigenous wisdom that provides a road map for the spirit and a compass of compassion for humanity

Drawing from ancestral knowledge, as well as her experience as an attorney and activist, Sherri Mitchell addresses some of the most crucial issues of our day, such as environmental protection and human rights. Sharing the gifts she has received from elders around the world, Mitchell urges us to decolonize our language and our stories. For those seeking change, this book offers a set of cultural values that will preserve our collective survival for future generations.


















I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes from the End of the World

by Kai Cheng Thom


Winner, Publishing Triangle Award for Trans and Gender Variant Literature; American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book


What can we hope for at the end of the world? What can we trust in when community has broken our hearts? What would it mean to pursue justice without violence? How can we love in the absence of faith?


In a heartbreaking yet hopeful collection of personal essays and prose poems, blending the confessional, political, and literary, Kai Cheng Thom dives deep into the questions that haunt social movements today. With the author's characteristic eloquence and honesty, I Hope We Choose Love proposes heartfelt solutions on the topics of violence, complicity, family, vengeance, and forgiveness. Taking its cues from contemporary thought leaders in the transformative justice movement such as adrienne maree brown and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, this provocative book is a call for nuance in a time of political polarization, for healing in a time of justice, and for love in an apocalypse.


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