The mass protests of the Black Lives Matter movement may have subsided, but its issues remain active. Now, Penguin Random House imprint One World is to publish the personal manifesto of its founder Alicia Garza. The Purpose of Power: How to Build Movements for the 21st Century tells the story of how Garza ‘responded to the persistent message that Black lives are of less value by knocking on doors to galvanise people to create change. It’s an insight into grass roots organizing to deliver basic needs – affordable housing, workplace protections, access to good education – to those locked out of the economy by racism’.
Garza is the Principal at the Black Futures Lab and the Black to the Future Action Fund, co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter and the Black Lives Matter Global Network. The Black Futures Lab works with with Black people ‘to transform our communities, build Black political power and change the way that power operates—locally, state-wide, and nationally’.
Black Lives Matter began as a hashtag when Garza wrote what she calls ‘a love letter to Black people’ on Facebook. But she says hashtags don’t build movements – people do. The book is interwoven with Garza’s personal experiences of life as a Black woman and is an insight into grass roots organizing to deliver basic needs – affordable housing, workplace protections, access to good education – to those locked out of the economy by racism. The publisher says: ‘ It is an attempt to make sense not only of where Black Lives Matter came from but also the possibilities that it and movements like it hold for our collective futures. Ultimately, it’s an appeal to hearts and minds, demanding that we think about our privileges and prejudices, and ask ourselves how we might contribute to the change we want to see in the world.’
Foreign rights are being handled by Rachel Kind at PRH in New York and UK and Commonwealth rights have already gone to Andrea Henry at Doubleday in the UK. Henry said: “Unflinching, challenging and inspiring, The Purpose of Power addresses the moment we’re in, how we got here and where we can go, together. I’m excited to be working with Alicia, whose ideas, energy and resilience have helped to build one of the most important movements of our time.”
Garza said: “This is a book about all the things I’ve learned along the way, the things I’m still learning, and what my learning may contribute in a time of profound catastrophe and limitless possibility.”
Garza describes herself as an organizer, political strategist, and ‘cheeseburger enthusiast’. She is the principal at the Black Futures Lab and the Black to the Future Action Fund, co-creator of #BlackLivesMatter and the Black Lives Matter Global Network, Director of Strategy and Partnerships at the US National Domestic Workers Alliance, and host of the podcast Lady Don’t Take No.
The Purpose of Power will be published simultaneously by One World in the US and Doubleday in the UK, in hardback on 20 October 2020.