Belinda’s Book Nook: Social Justice Reading Project (SJRP)

In 2016, there were two books that stood out among all the others that deeply affected me. One was, “Just Mercy” by Bryan Stevenson and the other was called, “The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race Edited by Jesmyn Ward”. After I finished each one of them, I purposely took the time to thoroughly digest the information they provided.  With the book Just Mercy, I first saw Bryan Stevenson on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday and his words moved me to find his book. I listened to the audiobook for this book which Bryan was the voice talent so he could capture his meanings even better than if someone else read the book. The book opened my heart wide to the injustice in our criminal justice system, particularly how it affects the poor minority. For me growing up, I was always raised with an awareness of the inequalities within society when it came to race. So I wasn’t completely shocked when I read this book but Bryan brings the reader into the depths of the justice system and shows you just how messed up it really is at the present. Being so inspired, I decided that I want to find a way to be part of the change. But guess what? Life took over and I put it on the back burner. Then I read The Fire This Time and was blown away by all of the essays in it by such talented authors. Many of whom I read before.  I remember stopping and sharing some of the information with Leao. Again, I felt that desire to be a part of the change.  But then, life happened again and I put it on the back burner.

Recently one of my book friends from Litsy (an online social community for book lovers) said that she had started a Social Justice Reading Project for her summer reading and create a list to read and discuss on her blog.  I finally felt the pull again and reached out to her to tell her I was very interested in creating my own as well. For these reasons, combined with all of the deaths of African American men and boys by police officers, I have decided to begin educating myself. Lastly, I am a mother of two African American boys and the thought of sending them out into the world sends me to pieces. The conversations I must have with them in order to keep them safe is heartbreaking. I wish they could be young and innocent forever, but that bubble must be burst and I have to do my job as a parent and prepare them for both the good and the bad. For these reasons, I am motivated to educate myself and then make myself available to create change.

I tend to want to sit for a while after I read such dense and heavy material so that I can reflect so I will not be reading all of these books over the summer months instead I will extend mine throughout the year and when she and I overlap, I will head on over to her discussions.   Partly because I don’t like to read anything until I have read the book so I can process and form my own opinions.

Please take some time to check out her blog – The Book Babe and see the amazing list of books she will be reading over the summer. We both have a focus on the criminal justice system as it pertains to African Americans. The important part is that we can be a part of the process of creating places (on our blogs) for more dialogue and education to occur. This is why I am so grateful for books. They allow us the opportunity to keep growing.

I will be integrating these books into my other TBRs.  So you will still continue to hear about the other books that I read. But I will tag and label my posts with SJRP (Social Justice Reading Project) so they are easy to find.

The following are a list of books that I would like to read for my SJRP:

I look forward to reading and sharing my experience with you. This book blog will help me to learn to articulate such important information so that I and others might grow.


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