11 Books for Organizing Your Community Against Trump & For Equality

So, many of us are asking -- how do we organize? In an atomized, isolated world where many of us have been paying more attention to our Netflix and Seamless accounts than the real worlds outside our doors, the first steps are to a) connect with others outside our mental and physical realms (by literally going outside and to parts of town and the world we usually don't, and by virtually making compassionate and empathetic bridges online) and b) start reading and using toolkits, online and in book format.

Please let me know if you have books (or their library URLs from your local library) to add by tweeting me @dakotakim1. I'll be here reduxing my college years headbanging to Bikini Kill until I can remove all traces of Giuliani quote-slime from my brain.

NOTE: I cannot with good conscience, after having read enough about them, recommend the purchase of anything on Amazon, for many good reasons. However, I do get my free library Kindle books via Amazon delivery, and I purchased Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow for .99 cents on Amazon Kindle.

For clarity, I will put books in italics and articles, websites or online resources in "quotation marks."


Listed in alphabetical order of author's last name (because that's how we library addicts roll). Look in non-fiction or social justice, consult catalog online or at one of the library terminals, or ask a librarian or bookseller.

1. Rules for Radicals: A Practical Primer for Realistic Radicals
Alinsky, Saul
An activist classic and Alinsky's last book before his death, this book has 10 chapters on community organization, education, communication and ethics, and has been used by many successful organizers.
NYPL BPL Powells Alibris

2. Rules for Revolutionaries
Bond, Becky; Exley, Zack

3. The Activist Cookbook: Creative actions for a fair economy, united for a fair economy : a hands-on manual for organizers, artists, and educators who want to get their message across in powerful creative ways
Boyd, Andrew
NYPL Alibris

4. Beautiful Trouble
Boyd, Andrew (ed.)
Website for purchase

5. Re:imagining Change: How to Use Story-Based Strategy to Win Campaigns, Build Movements and Change the World
Canning, Doyle; Reinsborough, Patrick
Is it what we do, or how we tell it, in this media-soaked culture? This book will help activists get stories in the media, connect and communicate with other activists, and run successful campaigns. "Providing resources, theories, hands-on tools, and illuminating case studies for the next generation of activists, this resource shows how culture, media, memes, and narrative intertwine with social-change strategies and offers practical methods to amplify progressive causes in popular culture."

6. Building a Movement to End the New Jim Crow: An Organizing Guide
Hunter, Daniel
Powells Amazon (.99 cents on Kindle!)

7. The Future We Want: Radical Ideas for the New Century
Leonard, Sarah; Sunkara, Bhaskar (eds.)

8. Tools for Radical Democracy: How to Organize for Power in Your Community
Minieri, Joan
Powells NYPL (requested NYPL buy more copies; check back later)

9. The Lifelong Activist
Rettig, Hillary
NYPL (requested NYPL buy more copies)

10. Calling All Radicals: How Grassroots Organizers Can Save Our Democracy
Thompson, Gabriel
Several reviews have called this a beginner's guide for organizing. "Thompson provides strong examples of direct action, relationship building and political education, the main components behind his theory of organizing," Adam writes on Goodreads.

11. The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution
White, Micah, BLM co-founder
Black Lives Matter co-founder Micah White found that protest wasn't enough. But the lessons from BLM are invaluable (my god, have you read how the FBI systematically planned to destroy them?). We have to keep physically protesting, but we have to do more.


"Black Lives Matter"
Read about and sign their petitions here. Type in your zip code to search for petitions in your area.

Boycott this list of Pro-Trump Businesses

"We Have 100 Days to Stop Donald Trump from Systematically Corrupting Our Systems"
This is a Vox piece about the importance of the last Trump-free days until January 20, 2017. Write your Congress reps, pressure them to help reject some of these nominations.

Watch this Keith Olbermann video. It will fire you up to pressure advertisers who run racist radio, protest at every opportunity, and never stop getting mad about the oligarchy. Get mad.

Trump Syllabus 2.0. This brilliant site leads us through the rise of Trump, not in a chronological sense, but in the context of history, racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and party politics. It is fascinating, comprehensive and thoughtful. Highly recommend.

"Zinn Education Project"

"Training for Change"

"AORTA Collective"

"Beyond the Choir"

"Ruckus Society"

A Family Dinner in Seoul

I've been meaning to post about this casual summer dinner my family had in Seoul. I've just been so busy that everything has fallen by the wayside. 

It's the rare moment that my mother and I get the opportunity to travel to Seoul and sup with our extended family, so it was a really joyful occasion, but we wanted to keep it casual on this day. 

My uncles and aunts, the cousins and my mother and me, we all gathered at my cousins' Seoul apartment for a casual dinner. 

Greens ready for ssam
My favorite part of most simple Korean meals is the ssam. Ssam is the tradition of wrapping ingredients in an edible wrapper to keep it all together, typically greens. I love taking perilla, romaine, water dropwort (minari), mugwort (ssuk) and whatever other greens I can get my hands on (Stateside, I often add in cilantro or even Italian herbs), and wrapping rice and ssamjang, doenjang or gochujang in those fragrant leaves.

You can layer, or pick whichever greens and inserts you want. Many people like a small piece of meat in their ssam, but I prefer mine pure and vegetal. I want to taste all the greens, pungent and intense.

You can see that I've placed myself right in front of the ssam.

When all the aunties and my mum were done cooking, we had a great spread that was considered fairly modest for our family, since we love to eat big.

You might think it's funny to see bare feet near the dinner table. We were sitting on the ground, as you often do in Korea, and of course we had taken our shoes off because that's how we do. There were two tables full of family in the end, loaded down with ssam, salads, fried jeon pancakes, japchae noodles, gochu peppers, kimchi and one last favorite thing of mine.

I've eaten this way for most of my life, and have missed it since moving away from my family.
Dduk. I have a slight obsession with these Korean rice cakes, which I purchase at every available opportunity. Whether they're songpyeon, which can be filled with chestnut, red bean or sesame-honey paste, or injeolmi, which are coated in a variety of ingredients, from adzuki bean powder to soybean powder, I'm slightly obsessed with the wide variety of textures, ingredients, shapes and formats of dduk (sometimes spelled tteok).

Dduk: an essential part of my life, I think of it a bit like pasta in its diversity of shapes.
Few things, to me, are so comforting, filling and fun. I've only ever made songpyeon, so I'm looking forward to experimenting with making my own dduk and showing you the results. If you're in a Korean grocery store, make sure you ask for some. Don't expect it to be like a supersweet dessert, but somewhere in between bread and rice, and you might just find yourself craving it again.

Hawaiian-Japanese Tacos and Perfect Tofu at Suzume

I had always seen Suzume, a small Hawaiian-Japanese spot, on the corner of Lorimer and Devoe as I walked past, but I didn't have a chance to pop in until a couple months ago. I had a quiet lunch at the bar by myself, and it was tasty and relaxing.

I started with the irresistible Aloha Taco Program, which came neatly lined up and colorfully-adorned. Getting with The Program meant one of each the tacos, including an Eden Farms pork shoulder with radish and pickled pineapple, an organic chicken adobo, and a Cape Cod hake with  pickled carrot and kewpie mayo. Bring on the pickles!

That wasn't enough for me, so I grabbed a bowl of tofu noodles with pickled red onion, ginger, scallion and cucumbers. With its perfectly-fried tofu (I think it was coated in potato starch, agedashi-style), tart and sweet red onions, cucumbers that tasted quick-pickled, scallions and chewy noodles, it made me feel like I could go run a marathon.

I didn't, but later that night, I did go on a marathon bar crawl with friends, so that Suzume did me good. There are few things I love more than a quiet lunch of simple yet inventive Asian food and a good book.

Maneki Nekos and Happy Dancing Squids: A Little Tokyo Food Tour

Last week's no-ramen, no-sushi food tour of Little Tokyo in the East Village was so much fun, especially because of the folks on the tour. And the cute animals! Check out these guys!

The "apple taste cider" (which hurt no actual apples in its making) was a definite miss, but the bottle will make an great vase, and dried squid is always a hit for me.

We started our tour off with one of my childhood favorite foods, the mighty OMU-RICE! Ours was topped with grilled enoki mushrooms, which was a really nice touch.

The group grabs takeout containers and splits them outside, a quick and delicious way of hitting up as many places as possible. Next up was my favorite Osaka friend, takoyaki! 

We loved watching the bonito shrink and undulate as they melted from the takoyaki heat.

Almost equally beloved by our group were taikyaki. This cake is filled with red bean paste usually, but this one was full of green tea paste and mochi. I loved the green tea one!

Next up were a Japanese bakery and a Japanese grocery store I often go to. Sunshine Mart in the East Village is a pure gem, and I was able to get mochiko and red bean paste to make mochi at home.

Here we are standing around with our spoils of junk food from Sunshine.

No photos of the delicious pan pastries we had, from sweet potato buns to custardy buns, but head to Pan-Ya to find those sweets.

I can't wait to do this again. I think next time we're planning on British food in the West Village.

Not for All the Fried Chicken in Seogwipo

What would I not do for this chicken, is the real question?

My umma and I spent a month this summer in Korea and Japan. Our favorite destination, despite the love of Seoul relatives, was Jeju Island, where we knew not a soul.

On that island, we stayed in the city of Seogwipo. Sitting like a sunny-side up egg on the southern face of that windswept volcanic island, Seogwipo was a quiet gem from the moment we arrived.

But black pig be damned. Despite being the island's specialty, it was this fried chicken in the Olle Market that I fell for. Hard.

Called dak gangjeong, this dish is inspired by Chinese sweet and sour chicken. Spicy, sweet and deliciously crispy, it's a pure pleasure that I remember from childhood church picnics and afterschool special treats at home.

For a mere W5,000 (5,000 Korean Won, equal to approximately three bucks U.S.) this cup of chicken was mine, all mine. And in a mere five minutes, this chicken was gone, all gone.

The quality and parts of the chicken you use, of course, are important. Here's a great recipe from Maangchi in case you won't be getting to Seogwipo anytime soon.