A Few Suggested Books by Oakland Peace Center Staff
You are, of course, welcome to choose any book that calls out to you, but here are just a few of our favorite books at the moment (though there are so many more that could be listed):
Sandhya Jha, Executive Director
There There by Tommy Orange is a book about indigenous (native) people in Oakland. It’s not a book explicitly about peace, but the OPC partners have committed to acknowledging at the beginning of any event that the land on which we gather is sacred and that it originally belonged to the Ohlone people who are still in our midst, and we recommit to being in relationship with indigenous people who are so often erased even when they are in our midst, and to healing our relationship to the land so we can truly be at peace with each other. Peace is created in so many ways: learning each other’s stories and learning about the stories on the sacred land we inhabit is one way.
Transforming Communities is a weird one for me to recommend, since I wrote it, but I wrote it for all the people I’ve met across the country who want the world to be different but don’t know where to start or don’t know what difference they can make when things are such a mess and they’re just one person. The book is a collection of stories about how regular people came together to make a difference in their neighborhoods, and how that is the way we will actually change the world. In the last chapter, I even talk about how we’ve used some of those strategies at the OPC!
Locking Up Our Own by James Forman, Jr. So much of the work OPC partners engage in is the result of the last forty years of criminalizing Black and Brown people in ways that have destroyed communities. This book helps us understand how certain agendas and frameworks led to almost all of us participating in shifts in the criminal justice system that destabilized famillies, eliminated paths of rehabilitation, and disproportionately punished some groups over others for the same crimes. In order to create healing and wholeness in all of our neighborhoods, this book gives us tools to understand how unjust systems were established in the first place, and it does so with compassion to all parties who were seeking to create safety and flourishing even when the outcomes were the opposite.
J. K. Fowler, Director of Communications for Peace and Partnerships
Sabrina Patrick-Urrutia, Director of Programs and Partnerships
Alexandria Candia, Operations Manager