Ijeoma Oluo Teaches Us How to Be a Revolution

Book cover of Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World--And How You Can, Too by Ijeoma Oluo

Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World—And How You Can, Too by Ijeoma Oluo

The level of oppression and injustice that people of color face in the United States is overwhelming. It can be difficult to know where and how to stand up, fight, and add your voice to the call for justice, equality, and safety. Many of the books I’ve read on social justice are prescriptive — that is, they offer some ideas of steps that can be taken by readers to help society move forward. This book is similar but comes at it from a different angle.

Be a Revolution is a series of conversations between Ijeoma Oluo and a variety of activists. While all injustices are connected, these conversations dive into the specific thing that each activist or activist group is combatting and how. Oluo makes the connections between the particular fight and antiracism as a whole while also exploring how even small groups of activists and communities can make positive change. Each chapter makes it very clear that there is no one right way to be an activist. It is also clear that each of these activists works in community, and not only is that preferred, but it is absolutely necessary for progress.

The chapter titled, “Punishment, Accountability, and Abolition” made something click in my brain and offered me a fundamental shift in understanding of the subject that I hadn’t yet grasped. This book also dives into gender justice and bodily autonomy, labor and unions, environmentalism, education, and arts. This is the first time I really took a look at art and the art world through a social justice lens, and again, my mind has been expanded.

While this is not a light read, it is a necessary one.

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