A Field Guide for Feminist Activism

Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards; With an Introduction by Winona LaDuke

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

From the authors of Manifesta, an activism handbook that illustrates how to truly make the personal political.

Grassroots is an activism handbook for social justice. Aimed at everyone from students to professionals, stay-at-home moms to artists, Grassroots answers the perennial question: What can I do? Whether you are concerned about the environment, human rights violations in Tibet, campus sexual assault policies, sweatshop labor, gay marriage, or the ongoing repercussions from 9-11, Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards believe that we all have something to offer in the fight against injustice. Based on the authors' own experiences, and the stories of both the large number of activists they work with as well as the countless everyday people they have encountered over the years, Grassroots encourages people to move beyond the "generic three" (check writing, calling congresspeople, and volunteering) and make a difference with clear guidelines and models for activism. The authors draw heavily on individual stories as examples, inspiring readers to recognize the tools right in front of them--be it the office copier or the family living room--in order to make change. Activism is accessible to all, and Grassroots shows how anyone, no matter how much or little time they have to offer, can create a world that more clearly reflects their values.


Read an Excerpt

chapter 1Why the World Needs Another Advice Book"How do we bring attention to [an] issue and make change, not just discuss it, not just march about it, but make change?"--Ruby Dee, actor and activistJENNIFER AND AMYIn 2002, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, a billionaire who believes in the bottom line, slashed recycling in America's most densely populated city. The mayor's office claimed it could save $40 million in crew and export costs. True or not, the city has 8 million citizens, many of whom buy several liters of coffee in paper cups and ask for it in a bag with seventeen


Praise for Grassroots

"To that nice young woman in Liberty, Missouri, who asked me how she could become a world-changing activist: Read Grassroots!" --Barbara Ehrenreich

"Have you ever wanted to make a difference but didn't know how? Grassroots is the book you've been waiting for. Using examples drawn from progressive and feminist campaigns all over the country, Veteran activists 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. Jennifer and Amy have not only shared the secrets of their and others' success but just as importantly, they've recorded the mistakes they've all made. I related to so much of it--especially the mistakes--and by showing the fits and starts of real life activism, Grassroots will help readers to both sustain their enthusiasm for social justice work and be more effective as a result." -- 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 every day citizens 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

"For anyone who has ever asked, 'What could I possibly do to make a difference?,' Grassroots proves the short answer is, 'a lot!' My thanks to Baumgardner and Richards for helping keep hope and activism alive with this provocative handbook." --Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)

Praise for Manifesta:

"Manifestah is a breath of fresh air. At last, Gen X takes on feminism and revamps a feminist manifesto for a new era. A jolt, a resource, a timeline, and a challenge, Manifesta is a readable, well-informed, and necessary to any young woman--or man--who craves gender equality."--Naomi Wolf

"[The authors] have sorted out the fruits of this wave of feminism--intended and unintended, media mess and truth--for a new generation. With wit and honesty, Manifesta shows us the building blocks of the future of this longest revolution."--Gloria Steinem

"Great news from the front--feminism lives! Bold, independent, generous, and cautionary, Manifesta leaves no doubt that for a new generation of women the F-word is not only speakable but shoutable and singable. To learn the tune and catch the beat, read this book."--Alix Kates Shulman

"Manifesta is another step toward the empowerment of women. If caring about women matters, this book matters."--Andrea Dworkin

"A reasoned and passionate call to action and an exciting how-to guide for both burgeoning and seasoned Third Wave feminists."--Eleanor J. Bader, Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards; With an Introduction by Winona LaDuke

  • Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards are the co-authors of Manifesta: Young Women, Feminism, and the Future (FSG, 2000) as well as co-founders of the progressive speakers' bureau Soapbox.
  • Jennifer Baumgardner Ali Prince
    Jennifer Baumgardner
  • Amy Richards Frederique Merck


Available Formats and Book Details


A Field Guide for Feminist Activism

Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards; With an Introduction by Winona LaDuke