Black History Month
Grieving While Black
An exploration of grief and racial trauma through the eyes of a Black end-of-life caregiver.
Most of us understand grief as sorrow experienced after a loss—the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or a change in life circumstance. Breeshia Wade approaches grief as something that is bigger than what’s already happened to us—as something that is connected to what we fear, what we love, and what we aspire toward. Drawing on stories from her own life as a Black woman and from the people she has midwifed through the end of life, she connects sorrow not only to specific incidents but also to the ongoing trauma that is part and parcel of systemic oppression.
Wade reimagines our relationship to power, accountability, and boundaries and points to the long-term work we must all do in order to address systemic trauma perpetuated within our interpersonal relationships. Each of us has a moral obligation to attend to our own grief so that we can responsibly engage with others. Wade elucidates grief in every aspect of our lives, providing a map back to ourselves and allowing the reader to heal their innate wholeness.
“With Deep Liberation, our sacred calling is made accessible to all who are willing to listen for it within themselves.”
—adrienne maree brown, author of Pleasure Activism
To create a world free from oppression, we each have to face the ways that we maintain toxic social systems within ourselves. In Indigenous cultures throughout the world, it’s understood that true transformation starts in the body with a change of heart.
Shamanic healer Langston Kahn offers the Deep Liberation Process, a body-based approach that allows us to radically transform the range of fear-based stories we each hold in ourselves: from traumatic experiences, internalized oppression, and habitual emotional patterns to the outmoded beliefs that hold us back from healing, transforming, and freeing our authenticity and unique genius. Bridging the shamanic wisdom of ancient spirituality with the needs and demands of modern-day life, Kahn offers concrete skills to cultivate deep grounding, skillful boundaries, and a healthy energy body; methods for authentic shadow work and healing our triggers; and tools for effectively tending personal and collective well-being in community.
Sacred Dance Meditations
Achieve balance, connect to Spirit, and tap into the sacred power of dance with 365 daily movement meditations.
Throughout human history, people all over the world have recognized dance as an age-old yet timeless connection to Spirit. In celebration, to mark moments of change, and in times of despair, dance has been used to seek the Divine, connect with the Earth, and call into being the sacred energy we each possess within ourselves.
In Sacred Dance Meditations, Carla Walter, PhD, offers readers 365 dances–one for every day–rooted in traditions from around the globe. From Polynesia to Peru, each dance is different in origin and technique but connected in common purpose: as sacred conduits for hope, love, connection, community, and spirituality. Walter provides a theme each new day, drawn from mystical and spiritual principles that originate from pre-colonial religious traditions. Descriptions, video links, accessibility modifications, and invitations for deeper reflection allow the reader to engage their Spirit fully with the sacred power of dance, carrying it in their heart as they move throughout each day.
Readers who want a more active style of meditative practice will discover powerful regenerative healing and a new way to awaken. Broken up day by day and month by month, Sacred Dance Meditations makes it simple and gratifying to practice each day’s dance and fulfill its intended theme. Readers can begin at any “point of entry” section, and work their way throughout the year with a time commitment of just ten to twenty minutes a day. Importantly, each dance is designed to supplement any existing (or non-existent) religious or spiritual practice, allowing all to tap into the Divine through the spirit of dance.
Fat Girls in Black Bodies
Combatting fatphobia and racism to reclaim a space for womxn at the intersection of fat and Black.
To be a womxn living in a body at the intersection of fat and Black is to be on the margins. From concern-trolling–“I just want you to be healthy“–to outright attacks, fat Black bodies that fall outside dominant constructs of beauty and wellness are subjected to healthism, racism, and misogynoir. The spaces carved out by third-wave feminism and the fat liberation movement fail at true inclusivity and intersectionality; fat Black womxn need to create their own safe spaces and community, instead of tirelessly laboring to educate and push back against dominant groups.
Structured into three sections–“belonging,” “resistance,” and “acceptance”–and informed by personal history, community stories, and deep research, Fat Girls in Black Bodies breaks down the myths, stereotypes, tropes, and outright lies we’ve been sold about race, body size, belonging, and health. Dr. Joy Cox’s razor-sharp cultural commentary exposes the racist roots of diet culture, healthism, and the ways we erroneously conflate body size with personal responsibility. She explores how to reclaim space and create belonging in a hostile world, pushing back against tired pressures of “going along just to get along,” and dismantles the institutionally ingrained myths about race, size, gender, and worth that deny fat Black womxn their selfhood.
Love and Rage
In the face of systemic racism and state-sanctioned violence, how can we metabolize our anger into a force for liberation?
White supremacy in the United States has long necessitated that Black rage be suppressed, repressed, or denied, often as a means of survival, a literal matter of life and death. In Love and Rage, Lama Rod Owens, coauthor of Radical Dharma, shows how this unmetabolized anger–and the grief, hurt, and transhistorical trauma beneath it–needs to be explored, respected, and fully embodied to heal from heartbreak and walk the path of liberation. This is not a book about bypassing anger to focus on happiness, or a road map for using spirituality to transform the nature of rage into something else. Instead, it is one that offers a potent vision of anger that acknowledges and honors its power as a vehicle for radical social change and enduring spiritual transformation.
Love and Rage weaves the inimitable wisdom and lived experience of Lama Rod Owens with Buddhist philosophy, practical meditation exercises, mindfulness, tantra, pranayama, ancestor practices, energy work, and classical yoga. The result is a book that serves as both a balm and a blueprint for those seeking justice who can feel overwhelmed with anger–and yet who refuse to relent. It is a necessary text for these times.
We've Been Too Patient
25 unflinching stories and essays from the front lines of the radical mental health movement.
Overmedication, police brutality, electroconvulsive therapy, involuntary hospitalization, traumas that lead to intense altered states and suicidal thoughts: these are the struggles of those labeled “mentally ill.” While much has been written about the systemic problems of our mental-health care system, this book gives voice to those with personal experience of psychiatric miscare often excluded from the discussion, like people of color and LGBTQ+ communities. It is dedicated to finding working alternatives to the “Mental Health Industrial Complex” and shifting the conversation from mental illness to mental health.
These Wilds Beyond Our Fences
Tackling some of the world’s most profound questions through the intimate lens of fatherhood, Bayo Akomolafe embarks on a journey of discovery as he maps the contours of the spaces between himself and his three-year-old daughter, Alethea.
In a narrative that manages to be both intricate and unguarded, he discovers that something as commonplace as becoming a father is a cosmic event of unprecedented proportions. Using this realization as a touchstone, he is led to consider the strangeness of his own soul, contemplate the myths and rituals of modernity, ask questions about food and justice, ponder what it means to be human, evaluate what we can do about climate change, and wonder what our collective yearnings for a better world tell us about ourselves. These Wilds Beyond Our Fences is a passionate attempt to make sense of our disconnection in a world where it is easy to feel untethered and lost. It is a father’s search for meaning, for a place of belonging, and for reassurance that the world will embrace and support our children once we are gone.
The Haumana Hula Handbook for Students of Hawaiian Dance
A great resource for students of traditional Hawaiian dance, this beautiful handbook filled with archival photographs covers the origins, language, etiquette, ceremonies, and the spiritual culture of hula.
Hula, the Indigenous dance of Hawai’i, preserves significant aspects of Native Hawaiian culture with strong ties to health and spirituality. Kumu Hula, persons who are culturally recognized hula experts and educators, maintain and share this cultural tradition, conveying Hawaiian history and spiritual beliefs in this unique form of cultural and creative expression, comprising specific controlled rhythmic movements that enhance the meaning and poetry of the accompanying songs.
Emphasizing the importance of cultural literacy, the Handbook begins with an overview of the origins of hula, its history in Hawai’i, and the primacy of the spiritual focus of the dance. The book goes on to introduce halau etiquette and practices, and explains the format of a traditional hula presentation, together with the genres of hula and the regalia worn by the dancers. Practical components include sections on Hawaiian language and chant and a glossary of hula commands and footwork.
Author Mahealani Uchiyama trained in Hawaii in the hula lineage of Joseph Kamoha’i Kaha’ulelio and is currently the Kumu Hula at the Halau Ku Ua Tuahine in Berkeley, California. As the founder and artistic director of the Center for International Dance and board member of Dance Arts West, the producers of San Francisco’s annual Ethnic Dance Festival, Uchiyama’s approach to hula is deeply holistic and reflects her background in Indigenous wisdom traditions and cultural exchange and interaction.
Igniting a long-overdue dialogue about how the legacy of racial injustice and white supremacy plays out in society at large and Buddhist communities in particular, this urgent call to action outlines a new dharma that takes into account the ways that racism and privilege prevent our collective awakening.
The authors traveled around the country to spark an open conversation that brings together the Black prophetic tradition and the wisdom of the Dharma. Bridging the world of spirit and activism, they urge a compassionate response to the systemic, state-sanctioned violence and oppression that has persisted against black people since the slave era. With national attention focused on the recent killings of unarmed black citizens and the response of the Black-centered liberation groups such as Black Lives Matter, Radical Dharma demonstrates how social transformation and personal, spiritual liberation must be articulated and inextricably linked.
Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Lama Rod Owens, and Jasmine Syedullah represent a new voice in American Buddhism. Offering their own histories and experiences as illustrations of the types of challenges facing dharma practitioners and teachers who are different from those of the past five decades, they ask how teachings that transcend color, class, and caste are hindered by discrimination and the dynamics of power, shame, and ignorance. Their illuminating argument goes beyond a demand for the equality and inclusion of diverse populations to advancing a new dharma that deconstructs rather than amplifies systems of suffering and prepares us to weigh the shortcomings not only of our own minds but also of our communities. They forge a path toward reconciliation and self-liberation that rests on radical honesty, a common ground where we can drop our need for perfection and propriety and speak as souls. In a society where profit rules, people’s value is determined by the color of their skin, and many voices—including queer voices—are silenced, Radical Dharma recasts the concepts of engaged spirituality, social transformation, inclusiveness, and healing.
Empty Hands is the inspiring memoir of Zulu nurse and healthcare activist Sister Abegail Ntleko.
Growing up poor in a rural village with a father who didn’t believe in educating girls, against seemingly insurmountable odds Sister Abegail earned her nursing degree and began work as a community nurse and educator, dedicating her life to those in need. “Her story tells us,” says Desmond Tutu, who wrote the foreword to the book, “what a single person can accomplish when heart and mind work together in the service of others.”
Overcoming poverty and racism within the apartheid South African system, she adopted her first child at a time when it was unheard of to do so. And then she did it again and again. In forty years she has taken in and cared for hundreds of children who had nothing, saving babies—many of them orphans whose parents died of AIDS—from hospitals that were ready to give up on them and let them die.
Empty Hands describes the harshness of Ntleko’s circumstances with wit and wisdom in direct, beautifully understated prose and will appeal not only to activists and aid workers, but to anyone who believes in the power of the human spirit to rise above suffering and find peace, joy, and purpose.
“Ntleko’s story, which she tells in simple language, is inspiring and moving. She neither dwells in nor dramatizes the hardships she has faced, preferring instead to focus on ‘fill[ing] her hands with love and then spend[ing] all that love until [her] hands are empty again.’ A brief, genuine, heartfelt memoir of an awe-inspiring life.”—Kirkus Reviews
Unfinished Agenda offers an inside look at the Black Power Movement that emerged during the Civil Rights Movement of the sixties.
A political memoir that teaches grass-roots politics and inspires organizing for real change in the Age of Obama, this book will appeal to readers of black history, Occupy Wall Street organizers, and armchair political advocates.
Based on notes, interviews, and articles from the 1950s to present day, Junius Williams’s inspiring memoir describes his journey from young black boy facing prejudice in the 1950s segregated South to his climb to community and political power as a black lawyer in the 1970s and 80s in Newark, New Jersey. Accompanied by twenty-two compelling photographs highlighting key life events, Unfinished Agenda chronicles the turbulent times during the Civil Rights Movement and Williams’s participation every step of the way including his experiences on the front lines of racial riots in Newark and the historic riot in Montgomery, Alabama with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Williams speaks of his many opportunities and experiences–beginning with his education at Amherst College and Yale Law School, his travel to Uganda and Kenya, and working in Harlem. His passion for fighting racism ultimately led him to many years of service in politics in Newark, New Jersey as a community organizer and leader. Williams advocates for renewed community organizing and voting for a progressive party to carry out the “Unfinished Agenda” the Black Power Movement outlined in America during the 60s and early 70s for empowerment of the people.
Dude, Where’s My Black Studies Department?
***WINNER, 2008 PEN Oakland – Josephine Miles National Literary Award
Blacks have been vanishing from college campuses in the United States and reappearing in prisons, videos, and movies. Cecil Brown tackles this unwitting “disappearing act” head on, paying special attention to the situation at UC Berkeley and the University of California system generally. Brown contends that educators have ignored the importance of the oral tradition in African American upbringing, an oversight mirrored by the media. When these students take exams, their abilities are not tested. Further, university officials, administrators, professors, and students are ignoring the phenomenon of the disappearing black student – in both their admissions and hiring policies. With black studies departments shifting the focus from African American and black community interests to black immigrant issues, says Brown, the situation is becoming dire. Dude, Where’s My Black Studies Department? offers both a scorching critique and a plan for rethinking and reform of a crucial but largely unacknowledged problem in contemporary society.