As we become more aware of various social injustices in the world, many of us want to be part of the movement toward positive change. But sometimes our best intentions cause unintended harm, and we fumble. We might feel afraid to say the wrong thing and feel guilt for not doing or knowing enough. Sometimes we might engage in performative allyship rather than thoughtful solidarity, leaving those already marginalized further burdened and exhausted. The feelings of fear, insecurity, inadequacy are all too common among a wide spectrum of changemakers, and they put many at a crossroads between feeling stuck and giving up, or staying grounded to keep going. So how can we go beyond performative allyship to creating real change in ourselves and in the world, together?
In The Wake Up, Michelle MiJung Kim shares foundational principles often missing in today’s mainstream conversations around “diversity and inclusion,” inviting readers to deep dive into the challenging and nuanced work of pursuing equity and justice, while exploring various complexities, contradictions, and conflicts inherent in our imperfect world. With a mix of in-the-trenches narrative and accessible unpacking of hot button issues—from inclusive language to representation to “cancel culture”—Michelle offers sustainable frameworks that guide us how to think, approach, and be in the journey as thoughtfully and powerfully as possible.
The Wake Up is divided into four key parts:
- Grounding: begin by moving beyond good intentions to interrogating our deeper “why” for committing to social justice and uncovering our “hidden stories.”
- Orienting: establish a shared understanding around our historical and current context and issues we are trying to solve, starting with dismantling white supremacy.
- Showing Up: learn critical principles to approach any situation with clarity and build our capacity to work through complexity, nuance, conflict, and imperfections.
- Moving Together: remember the core of this work is about human lives, and commit to prioritizing humanity, healing, and community.
The Wake Up is an urgent call for us to move together while seeing each other’s full and expansive humanity that is at the core of our movement toward justice, healing, and freedom.