We offer these suggested readings based upon the Unitarian Universalist Association’s annual Common Read program. A Common Read invites participants to read and discuss the same book in a given period of time. A Common Read can build community in our congregation by giving diverse people a shared experience, shared language, and a basis for deep, meaningful conversations.

2021-22 UUA Common Read

This year’s Common Read Selection is Defund Fear: Safety Without Policing, Prisons, and Punishment by Zach Norris.

Man holding the book "Defund Fear"

Zach Norris shifts the conversation about public safety away from fear and punishment and toward growth and support systems for our families and communities. In Defund Fear, Norris explores what has gone wrong, and why, and who has been most impacted by repressive and racist policing systems. He offers a new blueprint for public safety that holds people accountable while still holding them in community.

Norris is a lawyer, a community organizer, and Executive Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights in Oakland, CA. Learn about the Center’s work and read his bio.

Learn more about the UUA’s reader guidance for Defund Fear.

Previous Common Reads

2020-21: Breathe – A Letter to My Sons by Imani Perry.

2019-20: An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz. Also, An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People adapted by Jean Mendoza and Debbie Reese.

2018-19: Justice on Earth: People of Faith Working at the Intersections of Race, Class, and Environment, edited by Manish Mishra-Marzetti and Jennifer Nordstrom.

2017-18:  Centering: Navigating Race, Authenticity, and Power in Ministry, edited by Mitra Rahnema. Also Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want, by Frances Moore Lappé and Adam Eichen.

2016-17:  The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear by The Rev. Dr. William Barber II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove.

2015-16:  Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson.

2014-15:  Reclaiming Prophetic Witness: Liberal Religion in the Public Square  by Paul Rasor.

2013-14:  Behind the Kitchen Door by Saru Jayarama.

2012-13:  The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander.

2011-12:  Acts of Faith by Eboo Patel.

2010-11:  The Death of Josseline: Immigration Stories from Arizona’s Borderlands by Margaret Regan.

More In Our Church Library

Check out our church library for these and other justice-focused books and DVDs. View our library catalog.