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On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope

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"On the Other Side of Freedom reveals the mind and motivations of a young man who has risen to the fore of millennial activism through study, discipline, and conviction. His belief in a world that can be made better, one act at a time, powers his narratives and opens up a view on the costs, consequences, and rewards of leading a movement."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr. From the i "On the Other Side of Freedom reveals the mind and motivations of a young man who has risen to the fore of millennial activism through study, discipline, and conviction. His belief in a world that can be made better, one act at a time, powers his narratives and opens up a view on the costs, consequences, and rewards of leading a movement."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr. From the internationally recognized civil rights activist/organizer and host of the podcast Pod Save the People, a meditation on resistance, justice, and freedom, and an intimate portrait of a movement from the front lines. In August of 2014, twenty-nine-year-old activist DeRay Mckesson stood with hundreds of others on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, to push a message of justice and accountability. These protests, and others like them in cities across the country, resulted in the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, in his first book, Mckesson lays out the intellectual, pragmatic political framework for a new liberation movement. Continuing a conversation about activism, resistance, and justice that embraces our nation's complex history, he dissects how deliberate oppression persists, how racial injustice strips our lives of promise, and how technology has added a new dimension to mass action and social change. He argues that our best efforts to combat injustice have been stunted by the belief that racism's wounds are history, and suggests that intellectual purity has curtailed optimistic realism. The book offers a new framework and language for understanding the nature of oppression. With it, we can begin charting a course to dismantle the obvious and subtle structures that limit freedom. Honest, courageous, and imaginative, On the Other Side of Freedom is a work brimming with hope. Drawing from his own experiences as an activist, organizer, educator, and public official, Mckesson exhorts all Americans to work to dismantle the legacy of racism and to imagine the best of what is possible. Honoring the voices of a new generation of activists, On the Other Side of Freedom is a visionary's call to take responsibility for imagining, and then building, the world we want to live in.


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"On the Other Side of Freedom reveals the mind and motivations of a young man who has risen to the fore of millennial activism through study, discipline, and conviction. His belief in a world that can be made better, one act at a time, powers his narratives and opens up a view on the costs, consequences, and rewards of leading a movement."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr. From the i "On the Other Side of Freedom reveals the mind and motivations of a young man who has risen to the fore of millennial activism through study, discipline, and conviction. His belief in a world that can be made better, one act at a time, powers his narratives and opens up a view on the costs, consequences, and rewards of leading a movement."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr. From the internationally recognized civil rights activist/organizer and host of the podcast Pod Save the People, a meditation on resistance, justice, and freedom, and an intimate portrait of a movement from the front lines. In August of 2014, twenty-nine-year-old activist DeRay Mckesson stood with hundreds of others on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, to push a message of justice and accountability. These protests, and others like them in cities across the country, resulted in the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, in his first book, Mckesson lays out the intellectual, pragmatic political framework for a new liberation movement. Continuing a conversation about activism, resistance, and justice that embraces our nation's complex history, he dissects how deliberate oppression persists, how racial injustice strips our lives of promise, and how technology has added a new dimension to mass action and social change. He argues that our best efforts to combat injustice have been stunted by the belief that racism's wounds are history, and suggests that intellectual purity has curtailed optimistic realism. The book offers a new framework and language for understanding the nature of oppression. With it, we can begin charting a course to dismantle the obvious and subtle structures that limit freedom. Honest, courageous, and imaginative, On the Other Side of Freedom is a work brimming with hope. Drawing from his own experiences as an activist, organizer, educator, and public official, Mckesson exhorts all Americans to work to dismantle the legacy of racism and to imagine the best of what is possible. Honoring the voices of a new generation of activists, On the Other Side of Freedom is a visionary's call to take responsibility for imagining, and then building, the world we want to live in.

30 review for On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope

  1. 4 out of 5

    chantel nouseforaname

    You have to appreciate what DeRay has contributed to the culture. An idea that he discusses is that sometimes, a lot of the time, people just need someone to point their "founder" label at to make sense of shit that happens in the world. They need to label someone "founder of a movement" to either point their hate at or point their love at and he's been, a lot of the time, the focal point of that sort of attention; whether or not he wanted it. Then there's this kind of underlying conversation or You have to appreciate what DeRay has contributed to the culture. An idea that he discusses is that sometimes, a lot of the time, people just need someone to point their "founder" label at to make sense of shit that happens in the world. They need to label someone "founder of a movement" to either point their hate at or point their love at and he's been, a lot of the time, the focal point of that sort of attention; whether or not he wanted it. Then there's this kind of underlying conversation or inner-battle that comes through the text here where it seems like he's not intentionally trying to battle with if he deserves that label although he rejects it.. you get a sense sort of that he's vying for it, but not really. I don't know. It's an underlying tone that I as the reader felt when he described his involvement in the movement. He states that he didn't aim for the "founder of a movement" tag, nor did he want or accept it, that it just sort of manifested the way that it did. I thought that it was honest to see him draw attention to that point because it further highlights that realistically; community ownership and representation matters, even in a crisis, as it should. For people who live in Ferguson and have been organizing against the injustice from time, representation is important. It's important for DeRay to acknowledge that many people directly from that community that he leant his face to have been fighting for justice for ages. I don't want to say that he admits he's a vulture; but I do want to say that he admits it's important to be there for others and create family and build community when you see something happening that's unjust. It's important to Colin Kapernick and stand for something. WHICH IS WHY I ALSO only gave this book three stars. I'm tired of seeing faces telling their stories even though it's their book. I know that's a wild concept; but hear me out. I think it's important to continue with the legacy of what you're doing and what you've started to do in the public sphere. I want to see people with platforms amplify the voices that they are trying to amplify by busting open space. Critique and dissect the injustices yes! catalogue them and make them open for public view! You've done a lot for justice (for example he talks about working with academics to index police killings based on already-published news stories to get a clearer picture of the numbers of civilians killed by police), you're doing all this important work so why not fight forward still, sharing educational pieces that incorporate your story instead of your story that incorporates educational pieces deep-rooted in a "look what i did" sort of mentality. It's important to tell your story and yes, the book is good; but it brings about the taste of why people have issues in the first place with DeRay's approach to things. I think if you're really going to tell your story you have to deep dive into your story, that's what people really want to know. Like I feel like the chapter about his mom could have been a whole book. I feel like the chapter about black men, love and homosexuality from the lens of someone in the public eye in a freedom-fighter position is a HUGE story. Maybe he didn't want to jump all the way in, but doing a little touch of it just felt like you don't really want to tell your story, but you have to - for a purpose of.. what exactly? Creating some sort of narrative about your ... Exactly. I completely understand what he's saying as well when he talks about the need to think of change and reform in multi-leveled ways. It's important to connect with people who don't share the same viewpoints as you (his attempt at connecting We the Protesters w/ Bernie Sanders and backing Hilary Clinton). It's important to trying to push the envelope by a method of engagement rather than separatism. I completely agree. I just wish that he'd have put diverse perspectives at the forefront. BUT I GET IT, this is his story. It could just be the first of many and he decided to start his authorial output with himself; which is a good place to start but, a man's story is never not heard; so, I mean. *shrug** One of the crucial takeaways that I derived from this book is that it's important to tell the truth. I'm repeating myself a little but I think it's his strongest message. It's important to stand for something. More important than all of it - sometimes it's just important to put your money where your mouth is to sort of just be there. Just be present to document and transmit. We need everyone to see us, the US pushing forward for change. We need them to see that we ain't going anywhere. That we are here. Not a faceless mass, actual people in a fucking huge mass that grows exponentially by the day. DeRay takes a lot of flack. ANYONE on twitter knows this. This book is really great in the sense that it shines a light into the man and his background that not a lot of people get to hear about. I would love to read a book by Johnetta Elzie and her thoughts and viewpoints on any variety of topics. I look forward to that.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This book is part memoir and part discussion of racial issues that affect the US. DeRay McKesson relates life experiences while also making you think how society is set up. This book is a must read. I was provided a copy of this book by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Joshunda Sanders

    How can you not know about Deray and his everpresent blue vest? This beautiful memoir has some lovely additional details about it, of course, but what is most resonant is additional information about his connection to his family, how he came to be engaged in Ferguson and the larger Movement for Black Lives and his uniquely graceful, eloquent description of moving from being quiet about his sexuality to speaking up, along with the heart-tugging beauty of his relationship with his birth mother and How can you not know about Deray and his everpresent blue vest? This beautiful memoir has some lovely additional details about it, of course, but what is most resonant is additional information about his connection to his family, how he came to be engaged in Ferguson and the larger Movement for Black Lives and his uniquely graceful, eloquent description of moving from being quiet about his sexuality to speaking up, along with the heart-tugging beauty of his relationship with his birth mother and the others who have mothered him. Deray is a masterful storyteller, with a keen grasp of history. There is a curious gap in the timeline he gives for Black Lives Matter and obvious names missing (as though knowledgeable readers will be able to fill them in) even as he makes meaningful points about who gets to claim the founding or origins of a movement and who gets erased and who tells those stories (or who doesn’t). In this lovely and significant book this moment is not a reason to throw Deray away or disregard any of his truths. It’s merely notable and a moment that is in stark contrast to the transcendent beauty and clarity and call of specific moments and people by name that are so moving throughout most of its pages.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

    On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope is a meditation on resistance, justice, freedom, and a call to arms because standing idly by doesn’t cut it anymore. Making your voice heard among the voices that wish to silence you is as important as ever because everything that’s been fought for and won is now under attack. McKesson started a podcast awhile back with a monologue that resonated with me about protecting the win. It’s no longer not enough just to win. You have to then continue figh On the Other Side of Freedom: The Case for Hope is a meditation on resistance, justice, freedom, and a call to arms because standing idly by doesn’t cut it anymore. Making your voice heard among the voices that wish to silence you is as important as ever because everything that’s been fought for and won is now under attack. McKesson started a podcast awhile back with a monologue that resonated with me about protecting the win. It’s no longer not enough just to win. You have to then continue fighting for more while protecting what’s already been achieved. I think On the Other Side of Freedom is just that. Detailing the fight, what’s been achieved, and what still needs to be accomplished. “What it’s taught me is that freedom is fragile, and that’s a lesson that I never want to forget.” I decided to pick up On the Other Side of Freedom because I listen to Pod Save the People on a weekly basis. Though I’m not American, so a lot of the more specific issues do not necessarily apply, the larger scope of the pod does. It’s important to me to be informed, so that I can do all that I can to check my white privilege. Books like these are a constant reminder that the work is never done. The only issue I had with On the Other Side of Freedom is that McKesson skims the surface of the topics covered in each part. There were so many times I wanted him to expand further and dig deeper on topics like technology, police brutality and inequality, his relationship with his mother, and his experience as a black gay man. “We do not stand in the shadows of those who came before us, but in their glow. And the glow exists because they put forth a vision of the future and they fought for it. We did not invent resistance or discover injustice in August 2014. We exist in a legacy of struggle, a legacy rooted in hope.” Overall, On the Other Side of Freedom is a great place to start if you’re looking for a deeper look into the social justice movement by someone who has been on the frontlines.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    Once in awhile I want to give a book six stars, this is one of them. DeRay Mckesson writes beautifully and intelligently about his life, about St Louis, about the structure of America's police forces, and about politics. I am sad that this young man did not get elected mayor of our city! I remember reading or hearing somewhere in the run-up to the primary that he was the candidate with the most clearly articulated and thought out platform, and that was enough for me. I have already pulled my fav Once in awhile I want to give a book six stars, this is one of them. DeRay Mckesson writes beautifully and intelligently about his life, about St Louis, about the structure of America's police forces, and about politics. I am sad that this young man did not get elected mayor of our city! I remember reading or hearing somewhere in the run-up to the primary that he was the candidate with the most clearly articulated and thought out platform, and that was enough for me. I have already pulled my favorite quotes put on Facebook, so l will just say that his remarks on the American obsession with earning/deserving and on the disdain in some liberal quarters for 'reform' bear thinking about. More, please.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    This is a really beautiful and personal book. I especially appreciated the inclusion and naming of people who could easily be forgotten, generally for some reason that makes them easy to marginalize: gay, a woman, a pregnant teenager. Those constraints put on acceptance constrain the fight for freedom. One of those was Marcus Anthony Hunter, who first used #blacklivesmatter in the context of "black migration and movement is the defining characteristic of growth in cities and always has been". The This is a really beautiful and personal book. I especially appreciated the inclusion and naming of people who could easily be forgotten, generally for some reason that makes them easy to marginalize: gay, a woman, a pregnant teenager. Those constraints put on acceptance constrain the fight for freedom. One of those was Marcus Anthony Hunter, who first used #blacklivesmatter in the context of "black migration and movement is the defining characteristic of growth in cities and always has been". The hash tag has been so strongly associated with death, and there are reasons for that, but it was an interesting perspective and it helps open the mind to new possibilities, which is truly important for freedom. Mckesson does an eloquent job of finding his personal and using it to understand the political.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kent Winward

    Nothing bad here, but not a lot that stands out. Nothing quite like Ta nehisi Coates or Cornell West.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emmanuel

    So much power in these pages, but can I also say that this is the single greatest opening line of an essay?: "It wasn't that I didn't believe in god, but that I believed in Storm from the X-Men more." <3!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susie Dumond

    DeRay Mckesson is a powerful advocate who has become one of the most visible leaders of the #blacklivesmatter movement. This book is part essay collection and part memoir, and delves into his beginnings as a protester, experiences in activism, and advice for fighting against white supremacy and police violence. Mckesson does a great job of making the personal political and using his own memories as a mirror for society. I feel like it took a while for his unique voice and perspective to emerge f DeRay Mckesson is a powerful advocate who has become one of the most visible leaders of the #blacklivesmatter movement. This book is part essay collection and part memoir, and delves into his beginnings as a protester, experiences in activism, and advice for fighting against white supremacy and police violence. Mckesson does a great job of making the personal political and using his own memories as a mirror for society. I feel like it took a while for his unique voice and perspective to emerge from the text, but overall, it's a meaningful glimpse into an incredible movement.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    A memoir and call for action, in On the Other Side of Freedom Mckesson tells his story of the Ferguson protests, his research into police brutality, his life as a gay black man, and his decision to join politics. I love the content of this book. I would think it would be hard for anyone to refute his evidence about the need for new police guidelines and a rethinking of how we handle crime and deviance in the US, but what I've learned about most of the people who disagree with me on this issue is A memoir and call for action, in On the Other Side of Freedom Mckesson tells his story of the Ferguson protests, his research into police brutality, his life as a gay black man, and his decision to join politics. I love the content of this book. I would think it would be hard for anyone to refute his evidence about the need for new police guidelines and a rethinking of how we handle crime and deviance in the US, but what I've learned about most of the people who disagree with me on this issue is is that they rarely care about research. He also discusses the philosophy of hope vs. faith, and the stories that get told and the ones that are hidden. At times the switches between past and present, research and the personal, was jarring for me. This is a must-read for 2018, and very short. The audiobook was under 5 hours. The author reads it himself, and it's a good listen.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    DeRay's Pod Save the People is appointment-listening for me. I always always get amazing information and news and inspiration from the news team on this weekly podcast. This book really is a longer version of the inspiration pieces that DeRay always starts the pod with. This is in no way a history of the Black Lives Matter movement or even the Ferguson protests. It begins there, but does not dwell on the specific events. Instead, it's more a rumination on the power and purpose of protests and ho DeRay's Pod Save the People is appointment-listening for me. I always always get amazing information and news and inspiration from the news team on this weekly podcast. This book really is a longer version of the inspiration pieces that DeRay always starts the pod with. This is in no way a history of the Black Lives Matter movement or even the Ferguson protests. It begins there, but does not dwell on the specific events. Instead, it's more a rumination on the power and purpose of protests and how to create communities of power and justice and equality. It's a solid collection of essays, with some really thought-provoking bits that I'll copy down and keep thinking about for years to come.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    DeRay!!! I love him and was so excited to finally read this. It's short, but gives you a good look at what he stands for and how to fight against injustice as well as some personal stories so you understand his background. He's inspiring!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    🤯 Read it now 🤯

  14. 4 out of 5

    Antoinette Perez

    READ THIS. I'll definitely read it a second time, and probably a third.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bonni

    A breathtaking book. DeRay is able to "zoom in" to stories from his own life and masterfully "zoom out" to present compelling data regarding mass incarceration, gun violence, racial inequality, and more. The last chapter (Letter to an Activist) is worth the price of admission alone. He stresses the importance of African Americans needing to insist that others be able to hold their anger and not expect them to "perform" as if they are happy. He also gives each of us plenty of reasons for hope.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Alison

    Should be required reading. Could not put down. So relatable, smart, passionate and true.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Hayley

    I found this to be an inspiring read, though one that I didn't walk away from with a lot of concrete quotes. A good, solid read. I look forward to what else Mckesson has to say.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Max Wright

    DeRay Mckesson's highly anticipated memoir takes readers behind the curtain into how he came to hold his beliefs, how he became involved in the Fergusson protests back in 2014, and his reflections on identity. The book's structure (really a collection of essays, not a personal narrative) gives the impression that Mckesson is not fully ready to open himself to the world and be vulnerable. Perhaps Mckesson doesn't want to claim ownership of the Ferguson protests as 'his' movement, which is an incr DeRay Mckesson's highly anticipated memoir takes readers behind the curtain into how he came to hold his beliefs, how he became involved in the Fergusson protests back in 2014, and his reflections on identity. The book's structure (really a collection of essays, not a personal narrative) gives the impression that Mckesson is not fully ready to open himself to the world and be vulnerable. Perhaps Mckesson doesn't want to claim ownership of the Ferguson protests as 'his' movement, which is an incredibly noble gesture; perhaps he wants to remain true to the spirit of organizing, which is about the movement, not about any one particular person or leader (this is essentially the argument of "The Friend Who's Always Awake"). That's not to say that Mckesson shies away from vulnerability at all. "I Can Remember Her Now Without Sadness" and "Out of the Quiet" touch on two deeply personal issues for him: his estranged mother, and his sexuality. "I Was Raised by Magic", a lighthearted essay about his love for Storm of the X-Men, resonated with me a lot. The limiting factor of "On the Other Side of Freedom" is that Mckesson has a lot of stories to share, but he doesn't synthesize them into a single narrative arc. The reader only sees glimpses of Mckesson's life, but the text's structure and content (at times Mckesson feels much more comfortable discussing academic or abstract issues rather than personal ones) seem to put a wedge between him and the reader. "On the Other Side of Freedom" is a satisfying memoir, but it lacks the deeply personal nature of Ta-Nehisi Coates' "Between the World and Me" or Jesmyn Ward's "Men We Reaped". I can't give this book higher than a 3 star rating when I think about how it compares to those other masterfully written texts.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brad McKenna

    This book has more stats (https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/) and theory than intimate stories (though there are some of those) than book by other modern activists I’ve read like Patrisse Khan and Darnell Moore. But like Baldwin and Coates, Mr. Mckesson includes a letter to young relatives. He just puts it at the end. I found it a slower read than some POC books. Still, there’s no scarcity of quotes. For instance: Too often lies outlive the truth. 155 Or... The narrative Gatekeepers have fallen. 1 This book has more stats (https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/) and theory than intimate stories (though there are some of those) than book by other modern activists I’ve read like Patrisse Khan and Darnell Moore. But like Baldwin and Coates, Mr. Mckesson includes a letter to young relatives. He just puts it at the end. I found it a slower read than some POC books. Still, there’s no scarcity of quotes. For instance: Too often lies outlive the truth. 155 Or... The narrative Gatekeepers have fallen. 155 After those two quotes, he goes on to give the example of how if she had Social Media at hand, Claudette Colvin wouldn’t have been passed over in favor of Rosa Parks as the face of the Bus Boycott. But without it, thanks to her being an unwed mother, she was. This is good and bad. No more catering to an image because those in power will only listen to you if you’re impeachable. But there’s also a risk for lies being passed off as truth. I found that the almost literally life-saving power of Twitter had for the protesters in Ferguson makes me not hate or condemn it as a complete cesspool. Rather, like history, Twitter isn’t so simple. The last thing I'll say is I gained a much better appreciation for the protests in Ferguson from this book. The actions of the police in that city proved they were scared. Unfortunately, that meant many a protester was harmed in the making of that narrative.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Caryn

    I listened to DeRay narrate his book on Audible, and I'm so glad I did. The content itself will change my approach to life and to activism. He included countless lessons drawn from not only his own experiences, but those of other activists. His words about choosing not to add pain on top of someone's pain stopped me in my tracks. His caution not to organize in a way that reinforces the power structures that we're working had immediate implications for my activism. I plan to listen to this again I listened to DeRay narrate his book on Audible, and I'm so glad I did. The content itself will change my approach to life and to activism. He included countless lessons drawn from not only his own experiences, but those of other activists. His words about choosing not to add pain on top of someone's pain stopped me in my tracks. His caution not to organize in a way that reinforces the power structures that we're working had immediate implications for my activism. I plan to listen to this again in the future. Even during the first listen, I rewound at several points to really hear DeRay. I'm appreciative to him for writing this book, and I hope he'll write again.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Definitely worth going back to as I think about how I can contribute to movements for social justice. Mckesson thoughtfully examines how liberation movements can be effective in the age of social media, and lays out a vision for moving society forward. It’s an expansive, embracing view that seeks justice, not revenge, and which recognizes that we can play a variety of roles according to our experiences and passions. Highly recommended for its strong emphasis on intersectionality, and on lifting Definitely worth going back to as I think about how I can contribute to movements for social justice. Mckesson thoughtfully examines how liberation movements can be effective in the age of social media, and lays out a vision for moving society forward. It’s an expansive, embracing view that seeks justice, not revenge, and which recognizes that we can play a variety of roles according to our experiences and passions. Highly recommended for its strong emphasis on intersectionality, and on lifting up unheard voices.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Absolutely stunning. A must read for anyone but especially those wanting to learn more about the current American civil rights movement. From his upbringing and personal struggles to the streets of Ferguson and the birth of the BLM movement, McKesson relates his experiences with a calm, assured positivity and hope for the future. The facts of his assertions are just that, facts. And he backs those up with many references to studies or case law. As any good book should, it left me reexamining mys Absolutely stunning. A must read for anyone but especially those wanting to learn more about the current American civil rights movement. From his upbringing and personal struggles to the streets of Ferguson and the birth of the BLM movement, McKesson relates his experiences with a calm, assured positivity and hope for the future. The facts of his assertions are just that, facts. And he backs those up with many references to studies or case law. As any good book should, it left me reexamining myself in a new light and feel I was better for it. Highly recommend!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Smith

    It was a good book, I really enjoyed hearing DeRay McKesson’s story and his experiences. I think he has so much to off and strives so hard to better our society. The world is better because of DeRay. I gave 4 Stars because I felt like it got hard to follow at times. Sometimes the sources were blog articles and not necessarily empirical research. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about being an activist/doing social justice work and who is interested in equity It was a good book, I really enjoyed hearing DeRay McKesson’s story and his experiences. I think he has so much to off and strives so hard to better our society. The world is better because of DeRay. I gave 4 Stars because I felt like it got hard to follow at times. Sometimes the sources were blog articles and not necessarily empirical research. Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about being an activist/doing social justice work and who is interested in equity and justice. He shares very strong information about police brutality and inequality.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Randall

    If you are curious who Deray Mckesson is, where he came from, what has influenced his thinking, and what he's working on, this is a good primer. That being said, his writing in this book has a more academic feel than his podcast, Pod Save the People, where he and his panelists are more accessible. While Deray does give some tangible examples to explain his thinking, it is still often rather abstract and could use some more fleshing out. That being said, his story and what he's experienced is imp If you are curious who Deray Mckesson is, where he came from, what has influenced his thinking, and what he's working on, this is a good primer. That being said, his writing in this book has a more academic feel than his podcast, Pod Save the People, where he and his panelists are more accessible. While Deray does give some tangible examples to explain his thinking, it is still often rather abstract and could use some more fleshing out. That being said, his story and what he's experienced is important to read about and to understand. I hope he continues to write and to speak.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Liesel Reichart

    DeRay Mckesson is poetry in motion. I saw him on this book tour, and he is perhaps the most eloquent, heartfelt, well-reasoned truth-teller out there. If you are bogged down in the gruesome minutiae of our current political situation, Mckesson will galvanize you to keep your eyes on the bigger picture: It is the work of white people to undo white privilege. It begins with white people unpacking and acknowledging the system is designed for and benefits them in ways that are solely based on their DeRay Mckesson is poetry in motion. I saw him on this book tour, and he is perhaps the most eloquent, heartfelt, well-reasoned truth-teller out there. If you are bogged down in the gruesome minutiae of our current political situation, Mckesson will galvanize you to keep your eyes on the bigger picture: It is the work of white people to undo white privilege. It begins with white people unpacking and acknowledging the system is designed for and benefits them in ways that are solely based on their whiteness, and not on any attributes they possess as individuals.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jean

    DeRay Mckesson's book is both a call to action and hope for the world as it could be. Using his own experiences as an activist, organizer, educator, and public official, Mckessen speaks to all of us about how we can work to make the world better. He writes that we all can and must work to make the system better, because that is the only way it can be done. There are some hard truths in this book, but they're important truths, that remind us to all be active and engaged citizens. Thank you to Good DeRay Mckesson's book is both a call to action and hope for the world as it could be. Using his own experiences as an activist, organizer, educator, and public official, Mckessen speaks to all of us about how we can work to make the world better. He writes that we all can and must work to make the system better, because that is the only way it can be done. There are some hard truths in this book, but they're important truths, that remind us to all be active and engaged citizens. Thank you to GoodReads and Viking for the complimentary copy of this book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Kissling

    I've admired DeRay McKesson for years and was excited to read On the Other Side of Freedom. He has described his new book as a collection of essays, but they work together coherently. The book is an engaging and smart synthesis of accessible philosophy, practical guide, and memoir. It would have been a great addition to the seminar I taught on activism a year ago; I'm confident students would enjoy it and find it personally meaningful.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Karen Adkins

    I've been listening to Mckesson's Pod Save the People for a while now, and really appreciated the way he talks about justice issues for people of color. This combination memoir/reflection on justice is in the same ballpark; it's reflective, realistic without being cynical, motivating, and pragmatic (I particularly appreciated his observations about working with people when he had substantive disagreements with them). He also happens to be a really lyrical writer.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    Read this book. If you are someone who understands the racial and social injustices in the US, read this book. If you think you understand, but haven't directly been impacted by these injustices, read this book. If you are completely clueless, I'm guessing you don't want to read this book, but read this book. DeRay McKesson gives an extremely (at times gut-wrenching) personal first-person account of his experiences not just in Ferguson, but of his life. Bottom line: Read this book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brandy O'Rourke

    This is yet another book I’ve read this year that has earned its space on the shelf of required reading for the current day. Mckesson using anecdote and data to immerse the listener in the life of the activist including both the harsh realities of fighting injustice and as well as a message of self care, acceptance, and hope. I found his voice and message inspiring as well as a call to action, accompliceship, love.

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