"To really belong to one another and to depend on one another — to really share a common destiny — is difficult for a community that wants to be diverse. It is also the community's only hope of survival. Whether or not we will be honest with each other, whether or not we will let ourselves be truly known, determines everything."
— N. Gordon Cosby
Sandhya Rani Jha serves as Director of the Oakland Peace Center, a collective of innovative nonprofits working to create justice and peace in the City of Oakland, California, and the Bay Area. Ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Jha is the author of Pre-Post-Racial America: Spiritual Stories from the Front Lines and Room at the Table: Struggle for Unity and Equality in Disciples History. Her podcast Hope from the Hood, is available on iTunes and at sandhyaja.com
In this inspirational paperback, Jha admits that she has participated in and witnessed communities transformed by worker-owned shops, restorative justice, neighborhood-driven decision-making, and truth commissions that have led from conflict to harmony. She has seen local issues expanded to national ones and is buoyed by this phenomenon:
"If we are serious about creating a U.S.A for all people, I believe we are at the beginning of a 50-year campaign. That is the work of building what we want from the ground up. … it will be grounded in love, inclusion, and the possibility of redemption over only retribution and drawing the circle smaller."
The author heralds a new day where people will be empowered by community conversations, restorative justice models, new housing possibilities, overcoming hate, blooming where you are planted, energizing faith, and moving beyond the cult of individualism through life-affirming collaboration. The "Learn More" sections at the end of each chapter provide sources for a wide range of valuable resources for individual and group use. For an example, see the excerpt for resources on Restorative Justice.