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I'm Still Here

Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

by Austin Channing Brown

Austin Chan­ning Brown’s first encounter with a racial­ized Amer­i­ca came at age 7, when she dis­cov­ered her par­ents named her Austin to deceive future employ­ers into think­ing she was a white man. Grow­ing up in major­i­ty-white schools, orga­ni­za­tions, and church­es, Austin writes, I had to learn what it means to love black­ness,” a jour­ney that led to a life­time spent nav­i­gat­ing Amer­i­ca’s racial divide as a writer, speak­er and expert who helps orga­ni­za­tions prac­tice gen­uine inclu­sion.

In a time when near­ly all insti­tu­tions (schools, church­es, uni­ver­si­ties, busi­ness­es) claim to val­ue diver­si­ty” in their mis­sion state­ments, I’m Still Here is a pow­er­ful account of how and why our actions so often fall short of our words. Austin writes in breath­tak­ing detail about her jour­ney to self-worth and the pit­falls that kill our attempts at racial jus­tice, in sto­ries that bear wit­ness to the com­plex­i­ty of Amer­i­ca’s social fab­ric – from Black Cleve­land neigh­bor­hoods to pri­vate schools in the mid­dle-class sub­urbs, from prison walls to the board­rooms at major­i­ty-white orga­ni­za­tions. 

For read­ers who have engaged with Amer­i­ca’s lega­cy on race through the writ­ing of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Michael Eric Dyson, I’m Still Here is an illu­mi­nat­ing look at how white, mid­dle-class, Evan­gel­i­cal­ism has par­tic­i­pat­ed in an era of ris­ing racial hos­til­i­ty, invit­ing the read­er to con­front apa­thy, rec­og­nize God’s ongo­ing work in the world, and dis­cov­er how black­ness – if we let it – can save us all.

2018

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