Page Header

Human Rights Book Club

Page Sub Header

Selections by photojournalist Syd London

Human Rights Book Club

Home > Academics > Human Rights Institute > Human Rights Book Club

HRI Book Club 2016

Selections for this spring's book club were chosen in collaboration with photojournalist and advocate Syd London. Ground Surge: Communities Rising, an exhibition of London’s gritty documentary works revealing harsh realities of the experiences of stigmatization, the search for healing, and the fierce, never-ending fight for real freedom in America, is on display at the Human Rights Institute Gallery through March 25, 2016. All Human Rights Institute Book Club meetings will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the Human Rights Institute Gallery. Books are available for purchase at the Barnes & Noble Bookstore at Kean University, located in the Green Lane Academic Building.

Not done reading yet? No worries. You can still join the discussion. Special guest speakers will attend each session to share their personal insight, professional expertise and lived experiences related to the varied topics addressed in each book selection.


NEW DATE! Wednesday, January 27, 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 3, 6:30 p.m.
Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More 
by Janet Mock

With unflinching honesty and moving prose, Mock relays her experiences of growing up young, multiracial, poor and transgender in America, and imparts vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of a marginalized and misunderstood population. A powerful vision of possibility and self-realization, pushing readers toward greater acceptance of one another—and of ourselves—by being unapologetic and real.

Co-writers, directors and producers of Happy Birthday, Marsha!, a film about legendary transgender artist and activist, Marsha "Pay it No Mind" Johnson and her life in the hours before the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City.  

Reina Gossett is a Black trans woman who has been archiving and spotlighting the lives of Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P Johnson throughout her work including membership director of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project and as an artist and writer. While writing the script for Happy Birthday, Marsha! Reina drew from her relationships and interviews with those who knew Sylvia and Marsha best.  Reina’s writing has been featured in Barnard College’s The Scholar & Feminist Online, Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment & The Prison Industrial Complex, Post Post Script Press and Randy Magazine.

Sasha Wortzel is a filmmaker, artist and educator working in video, installation, sound and performance. She has presented work at the Berlin International Film Festival, Doc NYC, Outfest LA, Newfest, Tribeca Interactive, Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, A.I.R. Gallery, Cooper Gallery, and the Guggenheim Lab. Her work has been supported by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Art Matters Foundation, and the Astraea Foundation’s Global Arts Fund. She received her MFA from Hunter College. 

Supplemental reading: 
Stone Butch Blues: A Novel 
by Leslie Feinberg

Tuesday, February 23, 6:30 p.m.
Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States 
by Joey Mogul, Andrea Ritchie and Kay Whitlock

A searing examination of queer experiences—as suspects, defendants, prisoners and survivors of crime. The authors unpack queer criminal archetypes to illustrate the punishment of queer expression. Tracing stories from the streets to the bench to behind prison bars to prove that the policing of sex and gender both bolsters and reinforces racial and gender inequalities.

Collette Carter is 'unapologetically Black, queer, fat and femme.' Carter joined the board of African Ancestral Lesbians United for Societal Change (AALUSC) in 1998, the nations oldest lesbian of color organization. While at AALUSC, Carter worked within community to build infrastructure and re-engaged critical conversations on gender, gender identity and gender expression. In 2001, Carter joined the staff of the Audre Lorde Project, a community organizing center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, Two-Spirit, trans and gender non-conforming people of color, where she later served as co-director working across multi-stakeholder groups and communities to affect changes in New York City to decrease health-risk assessment profiling and stigmatization of trans and gender non-conforming people. Her philosophy is that the heart of movement-building is the work of making spaces which help us sustain hope, the possibility for survival and transformation.

Supplemental reading:
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
by Audre Lorde

Wednesday, March 30, 6:30 p.m.
edited by Caitlin Wood

A groundbreaking collection of essays by disabled authors examining the often overlooked, provocative sides of disability. Exploring themes of gender, sexuality, disability/crip culture, identity and ableism, this anthology provides space for thought-provoking discourse from a highly diverse group of writers. 

Kay Ulanday Barrett  is a poet, performer and educator, navigating life as a disabled pin@y-amerikan transgender queer in the U.S. with struggle, resistance and laughter. K. has been a featured speaker on colleges and stages globally, and has facilitated workshops, presented keynotes, and contributed to panels with various social justice communities. Honors include: 18 Million Rising Filipino American History Month Hero 2013, Chicago’s LGBTQ 30 under 30 awards, finalist for The Gwendolyn Brooks Open-Mic Award, Windy City Times Pride Literary Poetry Prize. Their contributions are found in Poor Magazine,, Trans Bodies/Trans Selves, Windy City Queer: Dispatches from the Third Coast, Make/Shift, Filipino American Psychology, Third Woman Press, Asian Americans For Progress, The Advocate, and Bitch Magazine. Recent publications include contributions in the upcoming anthologies, “Outside the XY: Queer Black & Brown Masculinity” (Magnus Books) and “Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices” (Trans-genre Press). Their first book of poetry is titled When The Chant Comes (2015). K. turns art into action and is dedicated to remixing recipes. 

Supplemental reading:
Regarding the Pain of Others
by Susan Sontag

Wednesday, April 27, 6:30 p.m.
Prison Profiteers: Who Makes Money From Mass Incarceration
co-edited by Tara Herivel and Paul Wright

From investment banks, guard unions, and the makers of stun guns to health care providers, telephone companies, and the U.S. military (which relies heavily on prison labor), this network of perversely motivated interests has turned the imprisonment of one out of every 135 Americans into a lucrative business.

Rage M. Kidval, Esq. is an attorney and Paul Rapoport Foundation Equal Justice Works Fellow in the Immigrant Justice Project for the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Kidval received their bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College, and their J.D. from the City University School of Law, with a clinical focus on criminal defense. A former SRLP intern and collective member, Kidval is committed to supporting folks experiencing and working hard to challenge state violence and oppression. Their prior work outside of SRLP has included representing survivors of inter-personal violence on their welfare and immigration cases, family defense work for parents facing allegations of neglect due to their poverty, and criminal defense representation at public defender offices. 

Supplemental reading:
On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
by Henry David Thoreau with 
Letter from Birmingham Jail 
by Martin Luther King Jr.


Human Rights Institute • Kean University • 1000 Morris Ave. • Union, NJ 07083
908.737.4670 •

HRI Book Club Registration Form

Inner Page Footer