A Field Guide for Feminist Activism

By Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards

Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2005

“One not need be a vegan, tree-hugging, ‘round-the-clock meeting-goer to be an activist. Instead, Baumgardner and Richards offer anyone interested in improving the world small but significant ways to effect social change...Would-be agitators look no further for the sass, savvy, and skills you’ll need to begin.”
—Eleanor J. Bader, Library Journal

"What can I do to help?" A perennial concern to many, this question became the mantra repeated coast to coast in the wake of 9/11; and while it rang loud, it most often went unanswered. Grassroots is Manifesta co-authors Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner’s reply. Passionate activists who’ve traveled the globe from Green Bay to Havana in their efforts to raise awareness, Jennifer and Amy know that whether you are concerned about the environment, human-rights violations in Tibet, the WTO, sweatshop labor, or the ongoing repercussions of the war in Iraq, we all possess tools to make a difference.

Based on the authors’ own experiences and those of the large number of everyday activists with whom they work on a regular basis, Grassroots shows us how to move beyond passive activism such as monetary donation and writing congresspeople to make a far-reaching impact from a personal vantage point.

Drawing heavily on individual stories as examples, Grassroots brims with clear guidelines and models for activism that illustrate how to set realistic goals and follow up by identifying and focusing on the resources most readily available to you—be it at the office copier of the family living room. Whether you are a student of a stay-at-home mom, an artist or a corporate professional, Grassroots illustrates how anyone, no matter how much or little they believe they can offer, can become involved, and shows that even small efforts have the potential to produce a sea change in our lives.


Praise for Grassroots

“Unquestionably useful [and] inspiring.”Publishers Weekly

“To that nice young woman in Liberty, Missouri who asked me how she could become a world-changing activist: Read Grassroots!—Barbara Ehrenreich, author of Nickel and Dimed

“Have you ever wanted to make a difference but didn't know how? Grassroots is the book you've been waiting for...Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards explain how to organize your friends, your community, and most important, yourself.

—Katha Pollitt 

“A booster shot of inspiration...Grassroots reaches out to activists of all generations.”—Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes

“Grassroots contains useful information about how to create change in our communities, and is an inspiring reminder to everyday citizen that with the right tools they can transform their communities. This terrific book is an important addition to the field of community organizing.—Wilma Mankiller, former Principal Chief, Cherokee Nation

“Many would-be feminist activists reassured by [Grassroots’] message–activism should be of you, not outside of youand by its examples of small forms of activism in daily life...Encouraging.”Kirkus Reviews

“For anyone who has ever asked, ‘What could I possibly do to make a difference?’ Grassroots provides the short answer: ‘A lot!’ My thanks to Baumgardner and Richards for helping keep hope and activism alive with this provocative handbook.”—Senator Tammy Baldwin