Be the Change: Race and Social Justice

Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. – James Baldwin

Recently on a streaming service, I watched a documentary on White Privilege.  At the beginning of the documentary, which was hosted by a white women, there was a room full of people of color and she asked what can we do to help?  The response was don’t put the work on us to teach you how to change.  This is something I have struggled with on my journey to become more educated on Race and Social Justice.  I have wanted to learn and change but didn’t know how to do it without learning from people of color.

I have always read books involving social injustice and if you are looking for a great book list a place to start is here.  Ultimately though three things have really brought me to where I am today which is my never ending journey.  They are a documentary on white privilege by Tim Wise, a library program that is available by podcast, and the most recent book I read by Crystal M Fleming.

Before “white privilege” become part of our vernacular, Tim Wise was teaching about it.  He would do the college lecture circuit. You can watch Tim Wise: On White Privilege.  Mr. Wise does a great job of breaking down what white privilege is and how it negatively affects society at large. Continue reading “Be the Change: Race and Social Justice”

Social Justice and Activism for Young Adults

From #MeToo to Black Lives Matter to March for Our Lives, the voices of activists are ringing loud and clear across this country right now.  Many of these voices are those of young people, and teens today are more empowered than ever before to create change and make their voices heard.  As a result, there has been a remarkable increase in books for, by, and about teens that explore the topics that so profoundly affect them and show how powerful their voices can be.  Here are just a few recent titles:

Glimmer of Hope: How Tragedy Sparked a Movement by the founders of March for Our Lives
It’s been less than a year since the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, but the students who survived the tragedy swiftly moved into action. Within weeks after the shooting, the survivors organized a student-led demonstration in Washington, DC to campaign for stricter gun control laws.  This collection of writings from those students shows how powerful youth voice can be. Continue reading “Social Justice and Activism for Young Adults”

ACT’s Until the Flood: Beyond the Theatre

policACT (A Contemporary Theatre) presents UNTIL THE FLOOD by Dael Orlandersmith from June 8 to July 8, 2018. UNTIL THE FLOOD focuses on the social unrest following the fatal police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books and films to enhance your experience of the show: ACT’s UNTIL THE FLOOD: Beyond the Theatre  

The names and places, unfortunately, are tragically familiar: Ferguson, Trayvon, Baltimore, Philando, Tamir, Baton Rouge, and Charles Kinseythe list goes on. How can we take it in? What does it mean? How can we comprehend?

Obie Award winning and Pulitzer Prize finalist playwright Dael Orlandersmith is bringing her work, UNTIL THE FLOOD, to ACT, with her quest of understanding how we got here and what it signifies. Focusing on Ferguson, Missouri, and the death of unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown, the one-act drama uses eight composite characters from the area to explore issues of race, social unrest, and political power. The characters all are working to find their standpoint with racial matters in our society, but from a personal level, ranging from teenagers to seniors, and from anger to reflection. Continue reading “ACT’s Until the Flood: Beyond the Theatre”

City Council Reads – Rob Johnson, District 4

This past November, Seattle swore in a new Mayor and City Councilmember, and we here at ShelfTalk thought this would be a great opportunity to continue our series of posts in which we invited your representatives to share books that have meant a lot to them. This time, we asked them “What book was most influential in your life or career and why?” This week, Councilmember Rob Johnson, representing District 4, Northeast Seattle.

“What book was most influential in your life or career and why?”

The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein made a huge impact on me, and continues to shape my work as I serve as the chair of the Seattle City Council’s Planning, Land Use & Zoning committee. This book represents a powerful examination of the way 20th century land use and zoning policy in America deepened the harmful divide of segregation, Continue reading “City Council Reads – Rob Johnson, District 4”

20 Essential Seattle Books, Part 2: Diversity

Here at the library, we’re often asked by both locals and newcomers, “What books are must reads for Seattleites?” While we’re not much for ‘must’ or ‘should,’ we thought we’d list twenty titles that capture essential aspects of the history and culture of this place. Not a definitive list: a jumping off place. Our first post looked at Seattle’s history, and in today’s post we revisit that history through the lens of diversity.

no-no-boyThere are many excellent books about the Internment of Japanese Americans during the second World War, but one of the earliest – and one that holds special significance for Seattleites – is John Okada’s 1957 novel No-No Boy. After two years in an internment camp and two years in federal prison for declining military service and a loyalty oath, Ichiro Yamada returns home to Seattle to find himself alienated on all sides. For another view of experiences of Seattle’s Japanese Americans before and during the War, check out Monica Sone’s 1953 memoir Nisei Daughter
Continue reading “20 Essential Seattle Books, Part 2: Diversity”