For BLM cofounder Alicia Garza, organizing is about doing the work no one wants to do

Someone has got to do the dishes.

The world today seems to be falling apart, and yet the communal mood I most often encounter is not bleak hopelessness, malice, or even malaise. I more often witness a defiant desire to “do something,” anything, to stop others’ unjust sufferings. At protests or online, most people express a wish to honor the dignity of other people’s lives, to help keep others alive and well. The question hanging over everyone’s head is: How?

Enter Alicia Garza. She’s most famous as a founder of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag, but her work extends far be­yond social media. As a community organizer with decades of experience, Garza lays a hand on her readers’ shoulders while going over where we have been and what we can do now that will make a difference.

“Dignity and survival are our core concerns,” Garza writes, and she repeats this message throughout the book. These two priorities sound simple. But Garza opens with her own personal story and the context of her time—namely, Reaganism and the suffering it has caused for Black people for decades—and in doing so she shows how truly difficult these goals are to achieve for far too many.