Unitarian Universalist “Common Read”
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (The New Press) has been selected as the 2012-13 Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Common Read. Alexander, an attorney who is a civil rights advocate and litigator, asserts that crime-fighting policies and systems in the U.S., such as the “war on drugs” and the incarceration system, disproportionately and intentionally affect Americans of color. She describes multifaceted, lifelong discrimination and disenfranchisement that affect people who are branded “felon.”
Read and Discuss The New Jim Crow
- Buy it. The UUA Bookstore is supporting this Common Read with a 10% discount on orders of 5-9 books and 20% off orders of 10 or more books. Your purchase of The New Jim Crow from the UUA Bookstore supports the work of our Association. The New Jim Crow is also available online where e-books are sold, and in public libraries.
- Watch the author's speech. At General Assembly 2012, her presentation drew a large crowd, and can be viewed online (58:15).
- Discuss it with a group. The Unitarian Universalist discussion guide to The New Jim Crow (PDF, 18pages) helps groups reflect on the book and consider together what steps they are called to take, as people of faith, in response to Alexander’s call for awareness and action.
- Follow the New Jim Crow radio blog. Over the course of eight episodes, this radio blog is a chapter-by-chapter exploration of the themes of the book, from the perspectives of scholars, actvists, lawyers and people of faith grappling with Alexander's message.
- Discuss it on Facebook. Take part in the open Facebook group called UUA Common Read Lab. Post information about a discussion group being held in your congregation or community, extend in-person conversations beyond your group, and connect with others taking part in the Common Read. Please note that you need to have a Facebook account to join this group.
Selecting the Common Read
A Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. A Common Read can build community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations.
A committee of UUA staff selected The New Jim Crow after reading and considering several potential Common Read books. Alexander’s compelling work has already attracted many UUs and congregations. The Common Read selection committee noted the book's appeal to a variety of civic groups and non-UU faith groups, and anticipate it can ground and inspire community and interfaith dialogue as well as partnerships on the issues Alexander raises. Read the criteria for Common Read selection. Nominate a book 2013-2014 using our online form.
Past Common Reads
For more information contact religiouseducation @ uua.org.
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Last updated on Tuesday, March 19, 2013.
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