Let This Radicalize You by Kelly Hayes and Mariame Kaba changed the game for me when it comes to how I think about organizing. I don’t think I truly understood organizing until I read this book. The stories and testimonies featured were so inspiring. These were stories of “little” people like me, just getting other people excited to be a part of a movement. I feel fired up to do more as an organizer.
Let This Radicalize You isn’t just a book about organizing; it is a guide for anyone looking to learn more about going from activist to organizer (which I didn’t even understand the distinction until I read this book), for anyone looking to refresh their organizing skills or to see how the world of organizing has involved since Covid.
I loved the storytelling aspect of the book. Both authors have decades of experience between them, but they didn’t position themselves as experts. They wanted to share their knowledge as well as highlight and celebrate the work of others.
The parts of Let This Radicalize You that resonated with me the most were the sections about engaging with people who don’t match your values and priorities 100% and the chapter about self-care. With my work as a social worker (and my burgeoning work as an organizer), I am used to engaging with people who may challenge me, and I have learned to redirect. I know finding ways to bring these people in while holding them accountable for their potentially harmful ideas is what all movement-building needs. And then I felt especially connected to the self-care piece where they cautioned organizers not to adopt a martyr mentality. I felt like working with nonprofits in the past, that environment breeds a martyr mentality, so I am happy to be in control of preventing my own exploitation for the sake of a mission.
I highly recommend Let This Radicalize You for anyone looking to learn more about organizing. It is digestible and easy to understand as a beginner. It is the perfect mix of how-to and inspiration.