Common Read 2012-13: The New Jim Crow
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (The New Press) has been 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.”
Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. A Common Read builds community in our congregations and our movement by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations. A discussion guide to The New Jim Crow will be available online in October, 2012, to help Unitarian Universalist (UU) groups reflect on the book and consider together what steps they are called to take, as people of faith, in response to Alexander’s call for awareness and action.
The UUA Bookstore is supporting this Common Read with a 10% discount on orders of 5-9 books and 20% off orders of 10 or more books. Your purchase of The New Jim Crow from the UUA Bookstore supports the work of our Association. The New Jim Crow is also available online where e-books are sold, and in public libraries.
A committee of UUA staff selected The New Jim Crow after reading and considering several potential Common Read books. Alexander’s compelling work has already drawn the interest of many Unitarian Universalists and congregations. Her presentation at General Assembly 2012 drew a large crowd. The committee noted the book’s appeal to a variety of community groups, civic associations, activist organizations, and non-UU faith communities. UU groups might consider community and interfaith dialogue as well as partnerships on the issues Alexander raises.