2020-2021 Black Lives Matter Book Club

Black and white graphic that reads "Black Lives Matter Book Club.".

The Gender Institute is proud to launch a virtual book club featuring the work of Black feminist scholars, public intellectuals, and activists during the 2020-2021 academic year. The Gender Institute is committed to highlighting and supporting Black feminist scholarship, especially during this moment of reckoning with systemic racism, the legacies of slavery in America, misogynoir, and police brutality. We recognize that we all have work to do in order to live up to our values of anti-racism. We acknowledge that academia consistently stifles Black scholars and treats their work as “niche” or as a form of identity politics, which the hashtag #BlackintheIvory has shown clearly. 

Each book club session will be hosted by Gender Institute GA Hilary Vandenbark and a special guest from the community.    

Registration is required to receive the Zoom link: https://bit.ly/GIBookClub

We ask that all participants commit to respectful and open engagement as well as mindfulness of others.

Spring 2021

Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

February 18, 2021
7:00 p.m.
Ebehitale Imobhio, Master's of Public Health Candidate.

Book cover art for "When They Call You a Terrorist" by Patrisse Khan-Cullors.

From Macmillan Publishers:

Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in Los Angeles, Patrisse Khan-Cullors experienced firsthand the prejudice and persecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. For Patrisse, the most vulnerable people in the country are Black people. Deliberately and ruthlessly targeted by a criminal justice system serving a white privilege agenda, Black people are subjected to unjustifiable racial profiling and police brutality. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin’s killer went free, Patrisse’s outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi.

Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin.

When They Call You a Terrorist is Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele’s reflection on humanity. It is an empowering account of survival, strength and resilience and a call to action to change the culture that declares innocent Black life expendable.

Image of a woman in a brown plaid sweater, wearing glass and her hair in braids, smiling at the camera.

Ebehitale Imobhio is currently pursuing a Master's of Public Health at UB focusing on community health and health behavior. She is the Vice President of the Graduate Students of Color and works to create a safe space for her fellow graduates of color. She is active on several committees that are working to make the School of Public Health and Health Professions more equitable. She is very passionate about advocacy and has always worked to ensure that she does her part to advance the progress of people of color.

Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles,

Hashtag Activism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice

March 18, 2021
7:00 p.m.
Pasha Agoes, PhD Candidate (Africana and American Studies)

Book cover art for "Hashtag Activism" by Sarah Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles.

From MIT Press:

The power of hashtag activism became clear in 2011, when #IranElection served as an organizing tool for Iranians protesting a disputed election and offered a global audience a front-row seat to a nascent revolution. Since then, activists have used a variety of hashtags, including #JusticeForTrayvon, #BlackLivesMatter, #YesAllWomen, and #MeToo to advocate, mobilize, and communicate. In this book, Sarah Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles explore how and why Twitter has become an important platform for historically disenfranchised populations, including Black Americans, women, and transgender people. They show how marginalized groups, long excluded from elite media spaces, have used Twitter hashtags to advance counternarratives, preempt political spin, and build diverse networks of dissent.


Image of a smiling man in light button down shirt and black sport coat.

Pasha Agoes received his B.A. in Communication from the University at Buffalo in 2001 and his M.A in Communication Studies at the University of Northern Iowa in 2010. Pasha was a strategic communications consultant for 17 years. At one point, he worked for Edelman; a global communications firm. He also worked for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for a Parliamentary capacity-building project for several years. During his career, he has handled clients such as Nike, Hitachi, Uber, Nestle, and Pfizer. During his consulting career, Pasha was also an adjunct communication instructor at Binus International University (an international university in Jakarta). During his time there, he was ranked as the adjunct instructor with the highest TLI (Teaching and Learning Indicator) for three semesters in a row. In 2016, he received a Faculty Excellence Award from the university. In 2018, Pasha decided to pursue his calling in academia by beginning his Ph.D. program in the Department of Africana and American Studies. His current research interest lies within the nexus of transnationalism, Asian cultural history in the United States, and American influence in the world post World War II.

Alicia Garza

The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart

April 8, 2021
7:00 p.m.
Sarah Quiñones, PhD Student (Epidemiology and Environmental Health)

Book cover image of The Purpose of Power.

From Penguin Random House:

In 2013, Alicia Garza wrote what she called “a love letter to Black people” on Facebook, in the aftermath of the acquittal of the man who murdered seventeen-year-old Trayvon Martin. Garza wrote: 
Black people. I love you. I love us. Our lives matter. 
With the speed and networking capacities of social media, #BlackLivesMatter became the hashtag heard ’round the world. But Garza knew even then that hashtags don’t start movements—people do. 
Long before #BlackLivesMatter became a rallying cry for this generation, Garza had spent the better part of two decades learning and unlearning some hard lessons about organizing. The lessons she offers are different from the “rules for radicals” that animated earlier generations of activists, and diverge from the charismatic, patriarchal model of the American civil rights movement. She reflects instead on how making room amongst the woke for those who are still awakening can inspire and activate more people to fight for the world we all deserve. 
This is the story of one woman’s lessons through years of bringing people together to create change. Most of all, it is a new paradigm for change for a new generation of changemakers, from the mind and heart behind one of the most important movements of our time.

Image of a woman with medium brown hair and dark brown eyes smiling at the camera.

Sarah Quiñones is a PhD student in the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health. Her research interests focus on the intersection of social and environmental determinants of adverse maternal and child health outcomes. Much of her research is focused on populations of sub-Saharan Africa, but she has broad interest in marginalized and vulnerable communities. Her long-term research goal is to eliminate health disparities and foster health equity. She is an avid reader, hiker, and dog lover.



For additional scholarship on Black Lives Matter, the University Libraries Equity & Social Justice Advisory Committee has compiled this resource list:  https://research.lib.buffalo.edu/blacklivesmatter        

For an UB Libraries E-book copy of The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart  -please go to:  https://search.lib.buffalo.edu/permalink/01SUNY_BUF/n53bqg/alma9939083600004803

Fall 2020

Ijeoma Oluo, "So You Want to Talk About Race?"

Book cover art of "So You Want to Talk About Race?" by Ijeoma Oluo.

October 8, 2020
7:00 p.m.
Dana Venerable, Ph.D. Candidate (English)

From Seal Press:

Widespread reporting on aspects of white supremacy — from police brutality to the mass incarceration of Black Americans — has put a media spotlight on racism in our society. Still, it is a difficult subject to talk about. How do you tell your roommate her jokes are racist? Why did your sister-in-law take umbrage when you asked to touch her hair — and how do you make it right? How do you explain white privilege to your white, privileged friend?

In So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from intersectionality and affirmative action to “model minorities” in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race and racism, and how they infect almost every aspect of American life.

Image of Dana Venerable, a woman with long curly hair wearing a red shirt.

Dana Venerable is a writer, an occasional tap dancer, co-editor of P-QUEUE poetry journal, and an English PhD candidate at UB and 2020 UB Gender Institute Dissertation Fellow. Her dissertation explores black performance, dance, notation, social choreography, and sound through their intersections and poetics. Dana is invested in how marginalized communities resist against the archive/record, while (re)inserting themselves within it. She has written for The Journal of American Drama and Theatre, P-QUEUE, VIDA Review, Snail Trail Press and Zoomoozophone Review.

Book cover art for "Hood Feminism" by Mikki Kendall.

Mikki Kendall, "Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women that a Movement Forgot"

November 5, 2020
7:00 p.m.
Mopelolade Ogunbowale, Visiting Assistant Professor (Transnational Studies)

From Penguin Random House

Today’s feminist movement has a glaring blind spot, and paradoxically, it is women. Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, argues Mikki Kendall, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighborhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues. All too often, however, the focus is not on basic survival for the many, but on increasing privilege for the few. 

In her searing collection of essays, Kendall takes aim at the legitimacy of the modern feminist movement arguing that it has chronically failed to address the needs of all but a few women. Drawing on her own experiences with hunger, violence, and hypersexualization, along with incisive commentary on politics, pop culture, the stigma of mental health, and more, Hood Feminism delivers an irrefutable indictment of a movement in flux. An unforgettable debut, Kendall has written a ferocious clarion call to all would-be feminists to live out the true mandate of the movement in thought and in deed.

Image of a woman in a black and white polka dot shirt and yellow blazer.

Mopelolade Ogunbowale is a Visiting Assistant Professor with the Department of Transnational Studies, University at Buffalo. Her specializations are in African Gender and Sexuality Studies, Black Popular Music Studies, Urban Studies and Africana Religions. In her upcoming book project (entitled The Spirit is the Music: Osun's Aesthetic Manifestations in Reggae-Dancehall Studies), Ogunbowale attempts an African feminist reading of reggae and dancehall music practices in Nigeria.