This past year, many of us consumed a LOT of various media. Some of it was to escape, some to learn and dig deeper into important issues. Here are some of the things BAF volunteers are listening to, reading, and watching.
(If you're in Baltimore City, Enoch Pratt Free Library is offering Sidewalk Service, but if any of these recommendations persuade you to make a new purchase, don’t forget to support local independent bookstores, like Red Emma's, Atomic, and Greedy Reads, to name a few.)
Okay, let's dig in...
WHAT MADE YOU LAUGH THE HARDEST?
1. “The Derry Girls episode of Great British Bake Off Holidays” -Liz
2. “What We Do In The Shadows” -Kathleen
3. “The movie The Lovebirds with Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani” -Nicole
4. “Desus and Mero” -Tamara
5. “The Try Guys consistently put out entertaining content that takes my mind off the world.” -Erin
WHAT DID YOU READ/SEE/LISTEN TO THAT INSPIRED YOU OR MADE YOU HOPEFUL FOR THE FUTURE?
6. "Unpregnant made me hopeful that the stigma of abortion is dissolving as we have more open, honest conversations about pregnancy, abortion, body autonomy, and the right to person-centered, accessible health care. I can see the emerging generation of young adults being more transparent and compassionate about reproductive health, and it gives me hope.” -Tamara
7. “This article in the Baltimore Sun [about groups of young people working to advance the mental well-being of Baltimore’s Black community]” -Liz
8. “The books Disability Visibility and Prison by Any Other Name. Both show how there are people doing everyday things to combat the systems of oppression. Specifically thinking of the abolition projects cited in Prison by Any Other Name and the chapter in Disability Visibility by Ricardo Thornton Sr. who talks about being a Black man in the US with intellectual disabilities and how he fought and won for the right for him to be married to his wife.” -Abbey
9. “The book Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown. Centering pleasure as a form of activism was such a radical concept before I read the book. Afterward, it became a concept that made so much sense.” -Nicole
WHAT ONE PIECE OF MEDIA TAUGHT YOU SOMETHING THAT BLEW YOUR MIND?
10. “Behind the Bastards podcast episodes on ‘The Second American Civil War You Never Learned About’ truly blew my mind. It's about The Battle of Blair Mountain and the attempts to unionize mines in West Virginia in the 1920's and how the mine owners fought back with a literal army.” -Erin
11. "Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown! I could not stop talking about this book in the early spring! It was so amazing to root social theory, organizing, and social justice movement building to biology and the natural world. It completely turned my life (and career) upside down in the most amazing way!” -Tamara
12. “I Got A Monster by Baynard Woods and Brandon Soderberg was MIND BLOWING. I knew the Baltimore Police Department was corrupt but this really laid it all out. (Side note: through this book, I inadvertently learned about the Catonsville Nine. Learning about Catholic activists protesting against the Vietnam War made me very hopeful because, as a born and bred Catholic, I didn't think that was possible.) -Abbey
13. “The ACLU of Maryland recently showed an advanced screening of their new documentary, Free the Vote, which digs into the history of why the US took the vote away from people who are incarcerated or have a felony conviction. The racist root of this policy that people have simply accepted is enraging. Hopefully this documentary will inspire people to take action and support the effort to restore the right to vote to everyone.” -Nicole
14. “Deadly Spin by Wendell Potter. The author is a former PR executive for Cigna. He outlines all the tactics corporations used to gaslight Americans into thinking a single-payer healthcare system is bad, and how public relations plays an outsized role in shaping policy. Very illuminating for anyone following healthcare policy.” -Sarah
WAS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU READ/SAW/LISTENED TO THAT YOU FOUND CALMING?
15. "Pachincko. This book spans several generations and was so amazing in its unfolding. It showed me that slow is good. Slow is natural. Nothing gets resolved; everything just evolves, and that is okay. Also, love is the most persistent piece of all of our stories. The timeline alone was calming because it reminded me that no circumstance is forever.” -Tamara
16. “Tara Brach's podcast. She has such a soothing voice. Her podcast is a combination of mindfulness teaching and meditation. She focuses a lot on trauma, which comes in many forms. Working in reproductive justice, every day can cause trauma. Tara also leads weekly free live meditations on her Facebook page and has been doing Zoom workshops.” -Nicole
17. “Star Trek Next Generation and LeVar Burton Reads” -Kate
WHAT OLD CLASSICS HAVE YOU REVISITED?
18. “I reread a bunch of Jodi Picoult books that never get old.” -Erin
19. “I rewatched Shawshank Redemption recently. Mass incarceration, police brutality, and the disproportionate arrest and harm of Black and Brown people happening today is a main theme of the movie. The movie is fantastic, and I have a renewed appreciation for its brilliance.” -Nicole
20. “I rewatched all 7 seasons of The West Wing from beginning to end. (There are 22 episodes per season!) It holds up...okay.” -Sarah
21. “The books Sister Outsider and Malcolm X: The Last Speeches. Both have not aged! Each work individually is very relevant and is grounding in a way that gives me hope for the future as well.” -Abbey
BAF SUPPORTERS, WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND?
HAPPY NEW YEAR!