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USE THE POWER YOU HAVE

A BROWN WOMAN'S GUIDE TO POLITICS AND POLITICAL CHANGE

A passionately articulate memoir and political manifesto.

The first Indian American woman elected to the House of Representatives chronicles the path that led her to commit to fight for a more inclusive society.

In 1982, Jayapal came to the U.S. to begin her studies at Georgetown. After graduating, she decided to “fulfill my promise to my father by parlaying my liberal arts degree…to the top investment banks in New York City as the foundation of other success.” Realizing investment banking was not right for her, she “did the next most expected thing” and went to business school. Jayapal also tutored poor children on Chicago’s South Side, where she discovered that her true calling was to help the underserved. An internship with a nonprofit organization serving refugees in Thailand and a fellowship to study villages in India followed. Her political activism emerged in the wake of 9/11, when she became the force behind the campaign to make Seattle and Washington state at large “Hate Free Zones.” Jayapal quickly learned “how to build movements and apply political pressure,” even if that meant going to jail. Within a decade, she became a vocal advocate for Seattle’s Sanctuary Cities ordinances and the Fight for $15 movement. In 2014, she was elected to the Washington Senate on a progressive platform. She caught the attention of Bernie Sanders, who helped her fundraise for a successful 2016 House run. Now a tireless fighter for everything from immigration and Medicare reform to livable incomes for all, Jayapal sets forth a vision to create “an America more just…than the one we were handed.” At the end, she offers a list of political lessons for all, but especially for female change-makers of color. Passionate and unapologetically leftist, this hopeful book not only chronicles an immigrant’s political successes, but, more significantly, the enduring faith in American democracy that inspired them.

A passionately articulate memoir and political manifesto.

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62097-143-7

Page Count: 240

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

From the Pocket Change Collective series

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change.

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Artist and activist Vaid-Menon demonstrates how the normativity of the gender binary represses creativity and inflicts physical and emotional violence.

The author, whose parents emigrated from India, writes about how enforcement of the gender binary begins before birth and affects people in all stages of life, with people of color being especially vulnerable due to Western conceptions of gender as binary. Gender assignments create a narrative for how a person should behave, what they are allowed to like or wear, and how they express themself. Punishment of nonconformity leads to an inseparable link between gender and shame. Vaid-Menon challenges familiar arguments against gender nonconformity, breaking them down into four categories—dismissal, inconvenience, biology, and the slippery slope (fear of the consequences of acceptance). Headers in bold font create an accessible navigation experience from one analysis to the next. The prose maintains a conversational tone that feels as intimate and vulnerable as talking with a best friend. At the same time, the author's turns of phrase in moments of deep insight ring with precision and poetry. In one reflection, they write, “the most lethal part of the human body is not the fist; it is the eye. What people see and how people see it has everything to do with power.” While this short essay speaks honestly of pain and injustice, it concludes with encouragement and an invitation into a future that celebrates transformation.

A fierce, penetrating, and empowering call for change. (writing prompt) (Nonfiction. 14-adult)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-09465-5

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

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THE AGE OF GRIEVANCE

A welcome call to grow up and cut out the whining.

The New York Times columnist serves up a cogent argument for shelving the grudge and sucking it up.

In 1976, Tom Wolfe described the “me decade” as a pit of mindless narcissism. A half century later, Bruni, author of Born Round and other bestselling books, calls for a renaming: “‘Me Turning Point’ would have been more accurate, because the period of time since has been a nonstop me jamboree.” Our present cultural situation, he notes, is marked by constant grievance and endless grasping. The ensuing blame game has its pros. Donald Trump, he notes, “became a victor by playing the victim, and his most impassioned oratory, such as it was, focused not on the good that he could do for others but on the bad supposedly done to him.” Bruni is an unabashed liberal, and while he places most of the worst behavior on the right—he opens with Sean Hannity’s bleating lie that the Biden administration was diverting scarce baby formula from needy Americans to illegal immigrants—he also allows that the left side of the aisle has committed its share of whining. A case in point: the silencing of a professor for showing an image of Mohammed to art students, neither religiously proscribed nor done without ample warning, but complained about by self-appointed student censors. Still, “not all grievances are created equal,” he writes. “There is January 6, 2021, and there is everything else. Attempts by leaders on the right to minimize what happened that day and lump it together with protests on the left are as ludicrous as they are dangerous.” Whether from left or right, Bruni calls for a dose of humility on the part of all: “an amalgam of kindness, openness, and silliness might be an effective solvent for grievance.”

A welcome call to grow up and cut out the whining.

Pub Date: April 30, 2024

ISBN: 9781668016435

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Avid Reader Press

Review Posted Online: Feb. 24, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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