2018 is fast approaching, and this season is the perfect chance to curl up and get into a good book. As we wrap up 2017, CCASA staff takes a look back at some of the books that have made an impact on us this year. We asked staff to share one book that stuck with us and influenced our work this year, and this is what we had to say!
“We are affected by our work with people experiencing trauma. We are affected by the things happening in the world (especially when it bombards us through the news, our social media feeds, and conversations). Making the time to read this book has been difficult for me, but I know if I want to be able to continue to do this work in a sustainable way, then I need to admit that these things affect #MeToo and I need to prioritize taking care of myself. Trauma Stewardship guides the reader through simple but profound ways to do our incredibly important, but hard, work of supporting survivors and changing culture without becoming overwhelmed, so that we can live full and healthy lives.”
“Uppity Women Speak Their Minds: A historical account of women risk-takers, visionaries, thinkers, and advocates who used their sharp intellect (and tongue!) to change hearts and minds. I love this book and the short parables it offers, outlining the lives of women who throughout the ages stood up and against injustices. It reminds me that as long as we have experienced a history of oppression, there have always been individuals fighting against it – fighting for collective liberation – and that gives me hope as we work to create a world free from sexual violence.”
“A book that I read recently which moved me was called Heart in the Right Place. The book’s message is especially important in these tumultuous times as we all think we have to accomplish major things to impact change. This very simple and sweet book made me stop and realize the sometimes making a difference can be a simple and getting up in the morning and helping those around you.”
“Most descriptions of the book Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit emphasize the author’s employment of humor, often calling it a ‘scathing’ review of men. Even though there were clear laugh out loud moments (the title in itself made me chuckle), this book was a critical analysis of the silencing of women, presented in compelling narrative form. By investigating power differentials, historical events, data, and evaluating these claims, Solnit presents an evaluation that is not scathing or angry, but just plain true.
This book was especially impactful to my personal and professional life this year, because it articulated things that I have experienced, but have been unable to explain to others—especially men. It equipped me with the analysis and the narrative to articulate the powerful social phenomena that results in the most extreme (and unfortunately common) perpetration of violence, and less extreme (but also common) ‘mansplaining’ in my daily life. In a time where complex social and political issues are devoid of nuance and critical thinking, Men Explain Things to Me provides an assessment of violence against women that appreciates the complex nature of one of the longest lasting injustices in the human race.
My favorite essays in the book were: Men Explain Thing to Me, The Longest War, World Collide in a Luxury Suite: Some Thoughts on the IMF, Global Injustice, and a Stranger on a Train, Cassandra Among the Creeps, #YesAllWomen: Feminists Rewrite the Story.”
“Lessons in Leading Change has made an impact in my pursuit to better understand how individuals and organizations can be catalysts for change. In the wake of all the sexual harassment and assault cases coming to light across so many different institutions, this book has helped me identify a variety of options and opportunities organizations have to create beneficial cultural change in their workplace, and transmit this to broader culture. Add an anti-oppression lens to reviewing the case studies in this book, and the possibilities for progress abound!”
“I have been really closely working with two main books that have served as a platform for the work that I have been doing here at CCASA with the help and support of CCASA staff. The first book is Salsa, Soul, and Spirit: Leadership for a Multicultural Age by Juana Bordas and it is great easy reading about leadership approaches for multicultural communities. I have found this particular book so helpful because it has really help me connect and provide a name to the many cultural traditions and ways of thinking and doing that I have known growing up in a multicultural community. This book has also put together the collaborative/community approach of leadership that is the root for Latin American leadership- we work together for our families to benefit our families and communities as a whole.
The second book is Inclusiveness at Work: How to Build Inclusive Non-Profit Organizations from the Denver Foundation and it is a guide for inclusiveness work. CCASA has been working on creating a healthy and inclusive culture. So I have been checking and refreshing many of the different components that are the building blocks for any agency that wants to be inclusive and that values individuals and communities for who they are and what they can bring to the table.
Overall I think that both books have as a message the importance of acknowledging diversity/equity/community. So in other words it is important to acknowledge people for whom they are and for their talents- we all have unique things to bring to the table; and if we acknowledge them and work together we can make our communities better, stronger, healthier, a safer place for all.”
“As agencies around the state respond to local manifestations of the #MeToo movement, it’s more important than ever to maintain sustainable practices and healthy organizational cultures. In order to continue in this work, we need the support of our teams. The book Organizational Trauma and Healing by Pat Vivian and Shana Hormann has been an important reminder that we cannot serve from an empty vessel, and that this principle applies not only to each individual working to end sexual violence but to our teams as a whole. It’s a great tool to use in repairing broken organizational systems, or in preventing the impacts of trauma from harming your team before it happens. We work for a cause that is close to our hearts and we’ve all had moments when we feel overwhelmed – but we’re in this together and we’re not giving up! It’s a great practice to always be revisiting and improving our organizational culture – this book is a wonderful guide to doing just that.”
What books made an impact on you this year? Share your favorite reads in the comments! #CCASABlog