2012-2013: Common Read: The New Jim Crow
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (The New Press) was 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.”
Alexander’s compelling work has already attracted many Unitarian Universalists (UUs) and congregations. At General Assembly 2012, her presentation drew a large crowd, and can be viewed online (58:15). 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.