A Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. The UUA 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.
Common Read 2020-21: Breathe by Imani Perry
The UUA is pleased to announce that Breathe: A Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry (Beacon Press, 2019) is the new Common Read.
Emotionally raw and deeply reflective, Imani Perry issues a challenge to society to see Black children as deserving of humanity. She admits fear and frustration for her African American sons in a society that is increasingly racist and at times seems irredeemable. However, as a mother, feminist, writer, and intellectual, Perry offers an unfettered expression of love—finding beauty and possibility in life—and she exhorts her children and their peers to find the courage to chart their own paths and find steady footing and inspiration in Black tradition. The New York Times calls Breathe “an elixir of history, ancestry and compassion, which, together, become instruction…a parent’s unflinching demand, born of inherited trauma and love, for her children’s right simply to be possible.”
Breathe offers a broader meditation on race, gender, and the meaning of a life well lived and is also an unforgettable lesson in Black resistance and resilience.
At this moment in time, we are in the midst of a historic national reckoning with what it means to live as a Black or Brown American and systems of institutional racism that have been operating to control, traumatize, and oppress people of color since our country’s founding. As our President, Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray, has written, “It matters that we support the uprisings whose goal is the liberation of Black people and communities who for too long have been crushed by white supremacy, militarism, and capitalism. We must find the sources within ourselves to give us courage in this moment.” In choosing Breathe as the 2020-2021 Common Read, our hope is that it nurtures this necessary courage.
Congregations, groups, and individuals may purchase this book in hardcover from inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop; group discount available. The e-book and audio book (CD or MP3) are available from Bookshop.org.
Discussion materials for UU congregations, groups, and individuals will be available online, at no charge, in late fall 2020.
Past Common Reads
- 2018-19: Justice on Earth
- 2017-18: Centering and Daring Democracy
- 2016-17: The Third Reconstruction
- 2015-16: Just Mercy
- 2014-15: Reclaiming Prophetic Witness
- 2013-14: Behind the Kitchen Door
- 2012-13: The New Jim Crow
- 2011-12: Acts of Faith
- 2010-11: The Death of Josseline