Towards the "Other America": Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter
By Chris Crass
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Towards the "Other America": Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter is a call to action to end white silence and a manual on how to do it. In addition to his own soul-searching essays and practical organizing advice in his “notes to activists," Chris Crass lifts up the voices of longtime white anti-racist leaders organizing in white communities for Black Lives Matter.
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- Black Lives Matter
- As the Black Lives Matter movement has taken to the streets and courageous Black activists around the country have shaken the racist foundations of the country, there has been a groundswell of anti-racist action in white communities. With millions of white people questioning their assumptions about race, longtime and new white anti-racists have mobilized to declare “White Silence = Consent.” Towards the "Other America": Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter is a call to action to end white silence and a manual on how to do it.
In addition to his own soul-searching essays and practical organizing advice in his “notes to activists," Chris Crass lifts up the voices of longtime white anti-racist leaders organizing in white communities for Black Lives Matter. Crass has collected lessons and vibrant examples of this work from rural working class communities in Kentucky and Maine, mass direct action in Wisconsin and New York, faith-based efforts among Jewish communities, Unitarian Universalists, and the United Church of Christ, and national efforts like Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ) and Jewish Voice for Peace. _
Chris Crass calls on all of us to join our values to the power of love and act with courage for a world where Black lives truly matter. A world where the death culture of white supremacy no longer devours the lives of Black people and no longer deforms the hearts and souls of white people. The goal of this book is to equip white people—politically, spiritually, and emotionally—to work for the liberation of us all, with Black Lives Matter at the center.
“White supremacy is an overwhelming crisis for humanity, one that is making it impossible for any human to evolve in right relationship with the planet and the species. It has not, and will not, be resolved merely by Black and other non-white people fighting for a change—it must be unlearned, relinquished by those who walk with the privileges of whiteness. Chris Crass has been stepping up into leadership in this work in ways that reach beyond ally, all the way to comrade. I know he does the work not to be politically correct, or down with people of color, but because his soul demands it. I am so grateful for this book as a deep dive into that work to heal the collective white soul.” ―adrienne maree brown, co-editor, Octavia's Brood
"Towards the ‘Other America’ is an important primer for new and seasoned white anti-racist organizers and activists in the era of #BlackLivesMatter. Today, the Right attacks and attempts to de-legitimize the movement for Black lives by using the age-old wedge of white supremacy and hetero-patriarchy. But tomorrow—the one we must work together to build—will have millions of anti-racist whites who say 'Not in our name.’ This collection of essays and interviews, grounded in practical lessons, will help us get one step closer to that tomorrow.” —Alicia Garza, co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter organizing network
“Recognizing that love requires accountability, especially when fighting against violence, Chris Crass, unapologetically invites white people into a space of honesty and truth. In the midst of our movement of today, liberation from white supremacy and racism is a necessity and must be led by white people with white people. Adding to a growing response for this need, Chris Crass continues to open the door for more white people to enter into a long struggle for liberation, justice and freedom!” —Brittini A. Gray, Faith-based organizer, Gamaliel Network, Black Lives Matter Activist, and Artist
“Chris Crass is one of the leading, revolutionary, visionary and spiritual warrior voices for fundamental transformative change around white supremacy and capitalism in the Unitarian Universalist faith and the broader movement for justice. His work of the past twenty-five years, through Catalyst Project and his own efforts, have changed how anti-racism and intersectional work is done, especially with youth and young adult communities. I am honored to call Chris my friend, brother and comrade in this fight for a world, nation and Unitarian Universalist movement beyond capitalism, colonialism and imperialism and where cultural rights are at the forefront instead of white supremacy. This new book shows some of the ways that our communities inside congregations and out, can get on board and put their hands on the freedom plow.” —Elandria Williams, Popular Educator and Organizer with the Highlander Center and DRUUMM (Diverse Revolutionary Unitarian Universalist Multicultural Ministries)
“I am elated that Chris Crass has taken on with bold and courageous vigor the mantle of addressing this true reality. Race, racism and white supremacy are alive and well and must be named through our contemporary lenses. Language and practice has to be pointed to and correctives engaged. Thank you, Chris for this timely and honest work.” —The Rev. Dr. John Selders Jr., Associate College Chaplain, Trinity College, Pastor of Amistad United Church of Christ, Activist and Educator
“In the post-Ferguson period, there appears to be a genuine effort on the part of white progressives to play both a greater role in the racial justice movement as well as a more meaningful role. This will require re-thinking and re-tooling of white privilege. Chris Crass has provided anti-racist leadership in this area for a long time but his Towards the ‘Other America’ is a clarion call for conscious whites who seek genuine solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The book demands that white folks shed their skin privilege quicker so that they can get on with the business of organizing within the white community in a deeper way.” —Jamala Rogers, Co-founder of a number of St. Louis based groups such as the Organization for Black Struggle and the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression. Convener of the people of color Accountability Team for the Anti-Racist Collective (The Justice Institute) and the author of Ferguson is America: Roots of Rebellion.
“You have in your hands more than a mere book. This is a tool, a collection of road tested wisdom, insight, and heart to help America get unstuck. White privilege, as a system, is too often obscured and swept under every societal rug that can be constructed. Here, it is not only out and discussed; here is community, hope, and practice to change it.” —Makani Themba, Author, Organizer and Revolutionary Grandmother at The Praxis Project and the Minister of Revolutionary Imagination of the ‘Other America’s’ Department of Arts and Culture
“While Chris Crass’ work may be perceived by many in the Black Lives Matter Movement as that of working primarily with White allies, each of us can learn something from his tenacity and passion for [t]his kind of justice work. For those of us who call ourselves Christian, Chris Crass is one of the ‘voices crying out in the wilderness’ urging us to ‘act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God’ [Micah 6:8]. Chris often presses us to move beyond the stereotypical understandings of race, class, and gender to a place of discomfort, which can become the catalyst for change. Kudos for forcing us to look into the dreaded mirror to take a glimpse of what ‘awakened souls’ can do when we work together.” —The Rev. Maxine Allen, Ordained Elder, United Methodist Church
“White people need to read this so that they have an opportunity to grasp the seriousness of this situation. It has to involve us all, with leadership by the people most affected and actively supported by the rest of the people, with the understanding that comes out of reading this book. This is a book written by a good, honest, sincere, trustworthy white man, who has taken up the battle from a strong, supportive, and involved position. He is fighting with the community and you can feel his strength as you talk with him and look in his eyes, and you’ll feel it reading this book.” —Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, Black, Trans-Woman, Elder, Movement Leader from Stonewall to Today with “BlackTransLivesMatter”. She is the subject of the documentary, MAJOR.