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Recently finished this book and thought it was really good. I came across it by chance in a library and was surprised that I hadn't ever heard it mentioned in feminist circles. It's a great place to start for all the women who want to get involved somehow but don't know where to start. I did find that the intro and first couple chapters are the best. After that, the ideas start repeating a bit, but I think the rest of the book is still valuable since it draws heavily on very varied examples of ways women have made change. Has anyone else read this or heard of it? Thoughts?

This is the summary from goodreads: "Grassroots is an activism handbook for social justice. Aimed at everyone from students to professionals, stay-at-home moms to artists, Grassroots answers the perennial question: What can I do? Whether you are concerned about the environment, human rights violations in Tibet, campus sexual assault policies, sweatshop labor, gay marriage, or the ongoing repercussions from 9-11, Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards believe that we all have something to offer in the fight against injustice. Based on the authors' own experiences, and the stories of both the large number of activists they work with as well as the countless everyday people they have encountered over the years, Grassroots encourages people to move beyond the "generic three" (check writing, calling congresspeople, and volunteering) and make a difference with clear guidelines and models for activism. The authors draw heavily on individual stories as examples, inspiring readers to recognize the tools right in front of them--be it the office copier or the family living room--in order to make change. Activism is accessible to all, and Grassroots shows how anyone, no matter how much or little time they have to offer, can create a world that more clearly reflects their values."

Recently finished this book and thought it was really good. I came across it by chance in a library and was surprised that I hadn't ever heard it mentioned in feminist circles. It's a great place to start for all the women who want to get involved somehow but don't know where to start. I did find that the intro and first couple chapters are the best. After that, the ideas start repeating a bit, but I think the rest of the book is still valuable since it draws heavily on very varied examples of ways women have made change. Has anyone else read this or heard of it? Thoughts? This is the summary from goodreads: "Grassroots is an activism handbook for social justice. Aimed at everyone from students to professionals, stay-at-home moms to artists, Grassroots answers the perennial question: What can I do? Whether you are concerned about the environment, human rights violations in Tibet, campus sexual assault policies, sweatshop labor, gay marriage, or the ongoing repercussions from 9-11, Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards believe that we all have something to offer in the fight against injustice. Based on the authors' own experiences, and the stories of both the large number of activists they work with as well as the countless everyday people they have encountered over the years, Grassroots encourages people to move beyond the "generic three" (check writing, calling congresspeople, and volunteering) and make a difference with clear guidelines and models for activism. The authors draw heavily on individual stories as examples, inspiring readers to recognize the tools right in front of them--be it the office copier or the family living room--in order to make change. Activism is accessible to all, and Grassroots shows how anyone, no matter how much or little time they have to offer, can create a world that more clearly reflects their values."

1 comments

The following are all the parts I highlighted in the first few chapters. They're the parts I found most interesting/enlightening.

My activism is simply in my life - it has to be, or it couldn’t get done.

What separates simple ‘responsibility’ in life - motherhood, for example - from the fine line that one crosses to become an ‘activist’?

Women move to activism out of sheer necessity.

Feminist activism doesn’t begin or end with my uterus: this is about my whole body, my whole life, and the lives of my children.

Being an activist didn’t mean adding an identity or tasks to our lives, but simply recognizing the opportunities for change that our lives already included. Our mode and expression as activists are based on what jobs we have, where our talents lie, what we care about, where we live, and other individual details.

Activism: Consistently expressing one’s values with the goal of making the world more just.

An activist is anyone who accesses the resources that she has as an individual for the benefit of the common good.

What is revealed is the potential power and efficacy of the many invisible organizations an individual already has at one’s disposal - resources which can be leveraged for one to become a successful activist.

One of the main barriers to seeing oneself as someone who could truly make change in the world is that we feel trapped in our own contradictions. There is a huge fear that we’ll be revealed as hypocrites so, in search of moral perfection, we’re paralyzed from doing anything. If you wait until you are perfect and free of conflicts, you will never change anything in the world. Each of us has to begin where we are.

Helping people living in poverty isn’t always about convening a think tank, changing a law, or writing a letter to your representative. Sometimes it is ripping out mite-infested carpet. Many issues were contained in this story - welfare to work, Medicaid, the environment, education - and the act that resolved it is one that might be accessible to any of us.

When at first you don’t succeed, make a house call.

Even when would-be activists are activated, the institutions they turn to often let them down.

The questions are basic and general, but the answers - the activism - can’t be.

It is our goal to encourage the reader to make feminism her own, rather than simply complain that feminism didn’t sufficiently address sweatshop laborers, for example.

Acknowledging vulnerability and privilege not only gives you a reason to be an activist; it releases you to join a community of people who may have issues to resolve as well. You can fight together.

Often “What can I do?” means taking a good look at what resources you already have and committing to using them.

Our qualification was that we took the initiative. We were as entitled as the next person to do our homework and present a perspective.

When people express confusion about feminism or discomfort with the label, it is because feminism is presented as a concept or a theory (what books we have read or what classes we have taken) and not action or experience (what we have done that affects the status of women or changed our own lives. Activism and feminism-in-action aren’t different concepts.