cover image The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart

The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart

Alicia Garza. One World, $27 (320p) ISBN 978-0-525-50968-4

Black Lives Matter cofounder Garcia debuts with an informative and inspirational history of the movement and her own evolution as an activist. Raised by her African-American mother and Jewish stepfather, Garza was one of only 10 Black students in her Tiburon, Calif., middle school in the 1990s, where her wealthy, white peers “emulated what they believed was the stylishly nihilistic lifestyle of impoverished Black people.” She draws on her decade spent organizing in the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco to share lessons on “the messy work of bringing people together,” and describes the trajectory of the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter from a 2013 Facebook post decrying the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer to the group behind the 2015 Freedom Ride to Ferguson, Mo., in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s killing by a white police officer. Garza also details her recent efforts “to make Black people more powerful in politics” following the 2016 election, and critically assesses the elevation of “charismatic male figures” to positions of Black leadership. Drawing on feminist theory, political and economic history, and the principles of organizing, Garza makes a spirited and persuasive case for rethinking community activism in the era of social media. Progressive policy makers, activists, and voters will be galvanized. (Oct.)