TALKING BACK: VOICES OF COLOR (Red Letter Press, 2015), presents an unusually diverse group of writers speaking out on issues affecting communities of color. Contributors share tales of survival, explore little-known history, and offer insightful cultural reviews. Nellie Wong, a widely published Bay Area poet and social justice activist, is the book's editor and author of the introduction, a striking meditation on the importance of "talking back" in asserting identity and power on an individual and collective level.
Like Wong, the book's contributors are involved in community organizing. Based in a number of locations, their identities include Asian/Pacific American, Black, indigenous North American and Aboriginal Australian, Latino, Palestinian, immigrant, feminist, youth, elder, LGBTQ, students, unionists, former prisoners, and more. Make no mistake about it, many of the writers are out-front radicals. Their aim is to communicate and mobilize. Speaking from and to the grassroots, their offerings are readable, persuasive, free from academic jargon, and rich with personal experience.
Some highlights include: Nancy Reiko Kato's discussion of the contributions of women of color to the movement for reproductive rights; an interview with 90-something Norma Abdulah, a radical Black activist and Harlem resident; Australian aboriginal leader Lex Wotton's discussion of racism and police violence Down Under; Palestinian exile Farouk Abdel-Muhti's harrowing description of being held in U.S. prisons without charges for nearly two years following 9/11; Miriam Padilla's account of her evolution from an impoverished "graffiti girl" to single mother, college student and political organizer.
African American scholar, unionist, and former civil rights organizer James Wright calls the book "a treasure" by a "rainbow of radical authors." Another reviewer, Arab American artist and writer Happy Hyder, says the book's "fearless and varied voices" reveal "the true meaning of political action." Sociologist Dr. Jesse Díaz, Jr. says the book will lead to increased understanding of the activist of color's "toils for equality and justice." Alice Goff, a Black immigrant labor leader and community activist, predicts that even readers who don't share the opinions of the authors may "come away with a different perspective and possibly be moved to question the status quo." Karin Aguilar-San Juan, an associate professor and Filipina American lesbian, describes the writings as resonant with "pain and rage… light and power and hope."
Nellie Wong is a groundbreaking Asian American feminist poet. She is author of four volumes of poetry, including The Death of Long Steam Lady and Dreams in Harrison Railroad Park . She has coedited two previous anthologies published by Red Letter Press: THREE ASIAN AMERICAN WRITERS SPEAK OUT ON FEMINISM (2003) and VOICES OF COLOR (1999). Wong is a socialist feminist activist, speaker, and leader.
North Korea’s political prison camps have existed twice as long as Stalin’s Soviet gulags and twelve times as long as the Nazi concentration camps. No one born and raised in these camps is known to have escaped. No one, that is, except Shin Dong-hyuk.
In Escape From Camp 14, Blaine Harden unlocks the secrets of the world’s most repressive totalitarian state through the story of Shin’s shocking imprisonment and his astounding getaway. Shin knew nothing of civilized existence—he saw his mother as a competitor for food, guards raised him to be a snitch, and he witnessed the execution of his mother and brother.
The late “Dear Leader” Kim Jong Il was recognized throughout the world, but his country remains sealed as his third son and chosen heir, Kim Jong Eun, consolidates power. Few foreigners are allowed in, and few North Koreans are able to leave. North Korea is hungry, bankrupt, and armed with nuclear weapons. It is also a human rights catastrophe. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people work as slaves in its political prison camps. These camps are clearly visible in satellite photographs, yet North Korea’s government denies they exist.
Harden’s harrowing narrative exposes this hidden dystopia, focusing on an extraordinary young man who came of age inside the highest security prison in the highest security state. Escape from Camp 14 offers an unequalled inside account of one of the world’s darkest nations. It is a tale of endurance and courage, survival and hope.