No More Prisons: Urban Life, Home-Schooling, Hip-Hop Leadership, the Cool Rich Kids Movement, a Hitchhiker’s Guide to Community Organzing, and Why Philanthropy is the Greatest Art Form of the 21st Century! by William Upski Wimsatt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is such an inspiring and reflective follow-up to Wimsatt’s first book, Bomb the Suburbs. The casual tone of the writing makes it a fluid and fast read, but also one that literally speaks to the reader, challenging them to be part of a solution to the ills of society. The author is trying to practice what he preaches and everything about the book is designed to do that. He is forthcoming about why is writing the book and how his thinking has changed since the previous one. You are meant to take the reflection and journey yourself as the reader.
This is a coming of age book in many ways. Wimsatt documents his coming of age as an activist, detailing what he’s learned and how he’s done it. You are encouraged to do the same—not through the same set of experiences necessarily, but your own. This narrative weaves through five themes or areas of activism that he wants to promote and forward. The title refers to the first, which is organizing against the prison industry, and is strategically chosen to dovetail with an album of the same name and a larger movement he wants to see come about called “No More Prisons.” It’s also a metaphor for feeling trapped inside conventions and cycles of social injustice, and through practice and political organizing breaking those trends. He wants us to get involved with issues of Urban life versus Suburban life, Homeschooling/Self-education, Hip-Hop leadership, and Cool Rich Kids and effective philanthropy. We are meant to start organizations around any of these issues, and Wimsatt gives us a rough game plan of how to do it.
My favorite part of the book was his long critique of traditional philanthropy; he lists it’s problems as well as it’s potential and it sounds like he is straight-up describing The Awesome Foundation, which fills me with pride. Read this book and feel empowered.