How do we construct the world we want to live in? The answer, at least partially, lies in efforts of organizing and activism. In some cases, these practices are grand and far-reaching, involving communities of people who resist together. In other cases, progress towards a better future may begin with individual moments of triumph and struggle experienced by marginalized people across the globe. What follows is a thorough examination of the history of struggle at the personal and communal levels. Together, these works help us to understand what we need to do as activists in order to improve lived experiences and conditions.

First, Clarice A. Blanco’s review of Lorgia García Peña’s Community as Rebellion: A Syllabus for Surviving Academia as a Woman of Color centers on the experiences of Women of Color in academia, proposing community building as a form of resistance. Next, Trent Wintermeier’s review of Ruha Benjamin’s Viral Justice: How We Grow the World We Want follows in this tradition, asking in what ways Benjamin’s praxis oriented around “communities of care” can radically change the lives of those who are at the margins. Particularly, Benjamin suggests that a reorientation at the individual level—and an accurate understanding of personal identity—is necessary to make communal change. Then, Christopher Ndubuizu eloquently analyzes Shelley Sang-Hee Lee’s Koreatown, Los Angeles: Immigration, Race, and the “American Dream,” presenting the historic formation of Korean American identity alongside other communities living in the area. Similarly, Dr. Debjyoti Ghosh takes a historical perspective when examining identity formation (in an ambitious double header within this section) in both antebellum New Orleans and Mexican American communities in Texas. To do so, he examines Martha Menchaca’s The Mexican American Experience in Texas: Citizenship, Segregation, and the Struggle for Equality and Tara Dudley’s Building Antebellum in New Orleans: Free People of Color and Their Influence. Finally, Ali Eren Yanik reviews Elizabeth Quay Hutchison’s Workers Like All the Rest of Them: Domestic Service and the Rights of Labor in Twentieth-century Chile to provide a historical perspective on labor movements and offer a thought-provoking account of activism throughout Chile. 

To shape a future worth living for, we require a thorough understanding of the past. In concrete terms, that means we need to embrace our roles as both activists and students to understand how our histories and identities shape the ways in which we enter into relationships, engage in discourse, and exist within the world as we know it. We hope that these six reviews provide an entry point to the learning that is to be done.