The purpose of power : how we come together when we fall apart

by Garza, Alicia, 1981-

Format: Print Book 2020
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An essential guide to building transformative movements to address the challenges of our time, from one of the country's leading organizers and a co-creator of Black Lives Matter

"Excellent and provocative . . . a gateway to . . . urgent debates." --Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR BY Time * Marie Claire * Kirkus Reviews

In 2013, Alicia Garza wrote what she called "a love letter to Black people" on Facebook, in the aftermath of the acquittal of the man who murdered seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin. Garza wrote:

Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter.

With the speed and networking capacities of social media, #BlackLivesMatter became the hashtag heard 'round the world. But Garza knew even then that hashtags don't start movements--people do.

Long before #BlackLivesMatter became a rallying cry for this generation, Garza had spent the better part of two decades learning and unlearning some hard lessons about organizing. The lessons she offers are different from the "rules for radicals" that animated earlier generations of activists, and diverge from the charismatic, patriarchal model of the American civil rights movement. She reflects instead on how making room amongst the woke for those who are still awakening can inspire and activate more people to fight for the world we all deserve.

This is the story of one woman's lessons through years of bringing people together to create change. Most of all, it is a new paradigm for change for a new generation of changemakers, from the mind and heart behind one of the most important movements of our time.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Garza, one of the three founders of Black Lives Matter, offers a moving and impassioned account of her in-the-trenches experience as a social justice warrior. From her childhood during the repressive Reagan era to her high-school years witnessing the War on Drugs and the intersectional assault on Anita Hill, Garza quickly developed a keen awareness of how the political process and traditional civil rights organizing fails Black people. Her despair and outrage over the murders of Kenneth Harding, Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin, and Michael Brown provoked her rejection of "respectability" politics and formation of the framework for Black Lives Matter. Garza outlines the basics of movement work, emphasizing that the key to organizing is building relationships over time, and she has plenty to say about the failures of white-led efforts with inauthentic relationships with the communities they claimed to "help." While most of her examples are drawn from her work with BLM, Garza's advice is broadly relevant: build true solidarity by centering others' issues, not just your own; use an intersectional analysis that doesn't sideline LGBTQ folks or those with disablities as "outsiders"; and build strong, decentralized "leader-ful, not leaderless" organizations by distributing and sharing power. A book that could not be more timely."
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Black Lives Matter cofounder Garcia debuts with an informative and inspirational history of the movement and her own evolution as an activist. Raised by her African-American mother and Jewish stepfather, Garza was one of only 10 Black students in her Tiburon, Calif., middle school in the 1990s, where her wealthy, white peers "emulated what they believed was the stylishly nihilistic lifestyle of impoverished Black people." She draws on her decade spent organizing in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco to share lessons on "the messy work of bringing people together," and describes the trajectory of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter from a 2013 Facebook post decrying the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer to the group behind the 2015 Freedom Ride to Ferguson, Mo., in the aftermath of Michael Brown's killing by a white police officer. Garza also details her recent efforts "to make Black people more powerful in politics" following the 2016 election, and critically assesses the elevation of "charismatic male figures" to positions of Black leadership. Drawing on feminist theory, political and economic history, and the principles of organizing, Garza makes a spirited and persuasive case for rethinking community activism in the era of social media. Progressive policy makers, activists, and voters will be galvanized. (Oct.)"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Social movements.
Political participation.
Publisher New York :2020
Edition First edition.
Language English
Notes Includes index.
Description xv, 312 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN 9780525509684
Other Classic View