Reading Guide for Race and Social Justice

Tomorrow is a international day of action for demanding social justice in the wake of systemic disregard for black lives. We've pulled together some reading sources for people interested in learning more about social justice, race and the police. Feel free to add more in the comments, see you in the streets!

Blog posts and online news media

Colorlines. (2014, October 14). Race, policing and civil rights: A community town hall. Retrieved from
Video of a community meeting in Brooklyn, featuring panelists Esmeralda Simmons, Center for Law & Social Justice, Medgar Evers College; Lumumba Bandele, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement; Jumaane Williams, City Council Member; Rinku Sen, Race Forward (publisher of Colorlines); Linda Sarsour, Arab American Association; and Anthony Miranda, Latino Officers Association.

Garza, A. (2014, October 7). A herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Retrieved from
The origin story of the #BlackLivesMatter, which started with the organizing efforts of three black queer women.

TRGGR Radio. Weekly radio broadcast.
Topics covered in recent episodes include: reports from protests and actions in Ferguson & western Massachusetts, student activism, prison abolition and activism, movements for solidarity with Palestine and Cuba, and updates from Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Academic articles and policy reports

Amnesty International. (2014, October 24). On the streets of America: Human rights abuses in Ferguson. Retrieved from
Report on the human rights concerns witnessed by Amnesty International delegates in Ferguson, MO in August of 2014. Issues addressed include: use of lethal force by officers and the policing of protests.

Black Youth Project. (2014, December 3). What Ferguson tells us about policing, the legal system, and young people of color. Retrieved from
In this report, the BYP uses "data from several national public opinion surveys to explore the experiences of Black youth with the police and their attitudes towards the criminal justice system."

Correll, J., Park, B., Judd, C. M., Wittenbrink, B. (2002). The police officer’s dilemma: Using ethnicity to disambiguate potentially threatening individuals. Retrieved from
The article discusses a study that used a computer shooting scenario to test racial bias by including armed and unarmed black and white targets and testing participant response time and whether they chose correctly to shoot or not shoot, and the results were that participants showed racial bias in both response time and choice.

West, M. H., et al. (2004). Organized for change: The activist's guide to police reform. Retrieved from
Guide to organizing to reform police departments and challenge policing practices.


Blackman, D. (2008). Slavery by another name: The re-enslavement of African Americans from the Civil War to World War II. New York, NY: Anchor Books.
A Wall Street Journal reporter, Blackman argues that de facto slavery persisted well into the 20th century, the result of systemic, racist cooperation between prisons and corporations like U.S. Steel. The book became a New York Times bestseller, was awarded a 2009 Pulitzer and was adapted into a documentary film for PBS.

Davis, A. Y. (2003). Are prisons obsolete?. New York: Seven Stories Press.
Professor, author and activist Angela Y. Davis addresses reasons for abolishing - rather than reforming - the prison system. The book closes with thoughts on alternatives to the US system of incarceration as a response to social ills.

Incite! Women of Color Against Violence. (2007). The revolution will not be funded: Explaining the non-profit industrial complex. Cambridge, MA: South End Press.
INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and their communities. Through a collection of essays, discusses some uncomfortable issues around the contradictions and struggles around non-profit organizations as a mode of activism.

Rios, V. M. (2011). Punished: Policing the Lives of Black and Latino Boys. New York: NYU Press.
Book written by a sociologist who grew up in the community he returns to write about in Oakland, CA. The book focuses on how the boys he writes about negotiate intense levels of policing (in their community and at school), and how they resist the culture of punishment that informs their everyday lives.