Social Justice / Activism / Democratic Engagement

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Tightrope: Americans Reaching for Hope
by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn
Accounts, punctuated by searing images from photojournalist Lynsey Addario, that provide a picture of working-class American families needlessly but profoundly damaged as a result of decades of policy mistakes. Alongside these accounts, Kristof and WuDunn examine tangible solutions to mend over a half-century of governmental failure.

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion
by Father Gregory Boyle
Tattoos on the Heart is a series of parables about kinship and redemption. A motivating look at how to stay faithful in spite of failure, how to meet the world with a loving heart, and how to conquer shame with boundless, restorative love.

Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship
by Father Gregory Boyle
An invitation to find radical kinship with one another, a snapshot into the challenges and joys of life on the margins, and a glimpse at a world defined by more compassion and fewer barriers.

Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us
by Claude M. Steele
Through dramatic personal stories, Claude Steele shares the experiments and studies that show, again and again, that exposing subjects to stereotypes impairs their performance in the area affected by the stereotype. This book provides insight into how we form our senses of identity and ultimately lays out a plan for mitigating the negative effects of “stereotype threat” and reshaping American identities.

Activist: Portraits of Courage
by KK Ottesen
Activism begins in small ways and in unexpected places. In this inspiring book, over forty activists recount the experiences that sparked their journeys and share the beliefs that keep them going.

Martin Luther King and The Montgomery Story
by the Fellowship of Reconciliation
A 16-page comic book originally published in 1957 as an account of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. Used as a training pamphlet in nonviolent action and was personally endorsed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

American Activism Is Best Hope To Save U.S. Democracy From Trump
interview with Historian Timothy Snyder
Short interview with Yale History professor and author of On Tyranny (a guide for surviving and resisting America’s turn towards authoritarianism).

Suppressed 2020: The Fight To Vote
by Robert Greenwald
A short, powerful documentary about the growing threat of voter suppression to our 2020 election.

The U.S. Constitution and The Bill of Rights
by Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, George Washington, et al.
Theses are brilliant and unprecedented documents written by a group of imperfect men. Each of these authors and signatories is full of contradictions between their personal and public actions. Yet the penning of the phrase “all men are created equal” unleashed a force more powerful and long-reaching than any of them could have anticipated or understood at the time. Their audacity to dream and write new forms of government into existence can be seen as nothing less than radical activism. Understanding the foundation they laid is essential for us to continue that work and build an even “more perfect union.”

Crip Camp
directed by James Lebrecht and Nicole Newnham
Documentary film that looks at how a summer camp in upstate NY for teenagers with disabilities sparked the flames of a movement that would eventually lead to the passage of one of the most comprehensive pieces of civil rights legislation in America – the ADA – ensuring the rights of Disabled Americans for generations.