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By DeRay Mckesson. Read about it on Amazon.
I really enjoyed this book, and I’d love to hear what other committee members think of it. It’s from an activist who marched with protesters in Ferguson, and was involved in the Movement for Black Lives. There is some explanatory stuff about white supremacy, structural racism, etc. that is a great entry point for ppl who are new to the conversation, and which also provides a way in for those who have read a bit more. There is a stand-out chapter about working with a CS practitioner to create a data set on police killings. Previously, there was no national data, and even when data started being reported in 2014 it was self-reported (Florida reported no killings that year). The data was compiled by incorporating news reports, and enabled its readers to analyze by race (also new)
I think this will be a great book for our program. When I nominated it, I had not yet read it, but I had listened the the author’s podcast and felt we could benefit from his voice and story. Though the book did not have a contiguous narrative arc, I found it an easy read; it’s relatively short and deeply personal. In addition to telling us about his life, DeRay offers his experiences with and insights into the protests in Ferguson, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the projects he’s become involved with since. In the course of these stories, he writes about the difficulties inherent in imagining a future different from something that has ever happened before (Chapter 6), working with people to reform and at the same time dismantle the institutions that harm black people in this country (Chapter 7), the power of social media and of the individual (Chapter 9), and not being quiet about intersectionality (Chapter 10). Chapter 3 is about data and databases, which may be a good connection for the computer science and math departments. What I like best about the book is that DeRay speaks to us on so many different levels. In some ways, the book is an introduction to what happened in Ferguson and the BLM movement, but it is also a book that works to raise up and empower activists and organizers who are already in the know.
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