Each year, the Foundation’s Member Engagement Committee selects a book for all members to read. This year, in alignment with our new grantmaking criteria of increasing equity and reducing disparities, they invite you to read So You Want to Talk About Race by local Seattle author Ijeoma Oluo. In this New York Times bestseller, Oluo explores the complex reality of today’s racial landscape – from white privilege and police brutality to systemic discrimination and the Black Lives Matter movement – offering straightforward clarity that readers need to contribute to the dismantling of the racial divide.
As part of the selection process for the Spring Book Discussion, the Member Engagement Committee reads a short list of book titles related to the year’s theme and shares their thoughts. We asked the Member Engagement Committee to share their thoughts on the books they read which were not selected for this spring’s Book Discussion:
$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America, Kathryn J. Edin and H. Luke Shaefer
“$2.00 A Day by Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer is a compelling and important discussion of extreme poverty in America. The book uses interviews with families in 4 settings, from the Mississippi Delta to South Chicago, Cleveland, and Johnson City, Tennessee, to profile how the most impoverished families are surviving. The book raises important questions about income disparity and welfare policy, how did this happen, and what policies can we consider changing. It’s an excellent read.” – Amy Corey
“[This book is] a conscience-stinging book to question our public policy towards extreme poverty and income inequality in America.” – Anne Repass
Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond, Marc Lamont Hill
“Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, from Ferguson to Flint and Beyond by Marc Lamont Hill is a comprehensive telling of racial injustices, whether it be the high-profile deaths of citizens such as Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, and many more, or the tremendous biases in the housing system, legal system, prison system, and even the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. This book was extremely compelling and insightful. It is heart-wrenching, and we clearly have so far to go to overcome racism.” – Denise Allan
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele
“I didn’t appreciate until reading this memoir how important the focus is on healing and supporting those who are impacted by trauma – black and especially LGBTQ people of color – is to [the Black Lives Matter] mission. I would highly recommend [the book] to anyone.” – Sharon Hammel
“This book is a thought-provoking memoir by one of the women who co-founded the #blacklivesmatter movement. It tells the story of her life, growing up in Van Nuys, California, and working in community organizing; giving the reader a glimpse into her experiences. It discusses poverty, race, sexual identity, the judicial system, mental health, and more.” – Melinda Herrin
Citizen: An American Lyric, Claudia Rankine
“The takeaway (for me, anyway) is that Rankine cautions us no matter our heritage, no matter how educated, well-intentioned and open-minded we may feel ourselves to be – particularly no matter how ‘”evolved” our laws become – we should not allow ourselves to be beguiled into imagining we will get ‘past’ race or racial injustice… Whatever one’s response to “Citizen,” this is a beautifully written, thought-provoking read. Especially for those who appreciate prose poetry that seeks to explode myth and provide new insight.” – Julia Gibson
“Beautiful writing and art work. Powerful stories and “scripts for situation videos”… I learned about the Jena Six. Reminds me of reading Between the World and Me with the emphasis on black bodies as being unseen or seen only as ‘objects.'” – Sharon Hammel
Please stay tuned for the date and registration information for the book discussion in the new year. Remember you can support WA Women’s Foundation by purchasing a copy of So You Want to Talk About Race or any of the shortlisted books at smile.amazon.com.