Cultivating New Futures: Inspiration

The 2019 Tribute to Change is dedicated to honoring those who have inspired us by building positive alternatives to replace today’s unjust systems. As important as it is to fight injustice in the present, it is also important envision the future. These are some of the books, podcasts, artwork, and other materials that inspire us when thinking about the future.

Have a recommendation to add? Email it, along with a brief quote about why it inspires you, to


Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

“The author’s ability to create a beautiful, creative, and imaginative work of art from a story filled with class and racial injustice, trauma, and pain…is positive and unifying.”
— Nisha Nayak, 2019 Tribute to Change planning committee member

Sing, Unburied, Sing was chosen as One Book, One Philadelphia‘s 2019 featured selection. Told in three voices, it follows the story of a family’s trip from their rural Gulf Coast farm to the Mississippi State Penitentiary.
WorldCat Goodreads

The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. LeGuin

“This book immerses you in a world of fairness, equity, and individual freedom. Its explorations of anarchism, especially around different ways of learning and educating, changed my approach to pursuing knowledge. I now place more value on direct learning from mentors, elders, and peers than I did before.”
— Caitlin Quigley, director of communications & development



Image by Travis Magee, © All Rights Reserved.

Claudia Rankine: How Can I Say This So We Can Stay in This Car Together? from On Being with Krista Tippett

“That really is my ambition: How to have a conversation so that the space can hold discomfort, so that the thing isn’t a thing that you have to put over there.” – Claudia Rankine

Recommended by Ha Pham, 2019 Tribute to Change planning committee member

Browns at Brown: A Live Show from How to Survive the End of the World

“This podcast episode…is a literal soothing balm. In it adrienne maree brown and her sister Autumn talk about queer and trans futures, raising queer and trans babies, and the nonlinearness of time. If you need something to remind you that change is both possible and inevitable, you’ll really enjoy this.

— Jordyn Myers, project manager


Pitch,” by Brother KAMAU

“This song is so beautiful and heartbreaking to me. It describes the fear and vulnerability of knowing that you want something different and new.

Reminds me of this poem by Nayirrah Waheed:

‘do not choose the lesser life.
do you hear me.
do you hear me.
choose the life that is.
the life that is seducing your lungs.
that is dripping down your chin.’
― Nayyirah Waheed,

—Jordyn Myers, project manager


New Asian Futurisms

Asian Arts Initiative’s New Asian Futurisms exhibit, open from September 27 through December 6, 2019, is a public arts program to showcase visual art, digital media, poetry and performance. Contributing artists were asked to continue the journeys embarked upon by Afrofuturists like Samuel R. Delaney, Sun Ra and Octavia Butler; the exhibit strives to use new futurism to create an inclusive narrative of hope.

Recommended by Ezra Berkley Nepon, 2019 Tribute to Change planning committee member