Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement (AK Press)

Afraid to call 911, but not sure what to do instead? Read this book! Beyond Survival collects tools, strategies and personal stories of the struggle to create safety, justice and accountability beyond the criminal justice system. 

This long-awaited and deeply necessary book documents some of the work of the transformative justice movement- collecting everything from personal stories of successful interventions in abuse and violence to guides to being accountable if you’ve been abusive, from strategies to support folks having emotional crises without calling 911 to toolkits for creating safer party spaces and community safety zones from ICE.  Along the way, there’s plenty of personal essays and reflections from long time organizers on the state of the movement, and visions for the future we’re building that will bring us all home.  

Featuring writing, tools and interviews by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Kai Cheng Thom, Amita Swadhin, Audrey Huntley, Amanda Aguilar Shank, Janae E Bonsu of BYP100, Philly Stands Up (Esteban Kelly, Jenna Peters-Golden, Qui Dorian, Bench Ansfield and Beth Blum), Creative Interventions, Trans Lifeline, Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective, Oakland Power Projects, SOS Collective/Audre Lorde Project, Icarus Project/ Fireweed Collective, Raquel Laviña, Chris Lymbertos, RJ Maccani, Nathan Shara, Staci Haines, Georgia Latino Alliance For Human Rights, MIJENTE, Monica Sehovic Bowen Forrester, Elene Lam, Chanelle Gallant, Elisabeth Marie Long, Adrienne Maree Brown, Adrian Cole, Yalini Dream, Shira Hassan, Mariame Kaba and Mimi Kim. 

Praise For Beyond Survival:

“Beyond Survival is a book for anyone yearning for transformation within themselves and across communities. If I had this book when I first began organizing, I would not have felt so alone and lost when seeking ways to confront conflict, harm and violence without policing and punishment. As our movements evolve, so must what we consider as essential reading — Beyond Survival is clearly essential reading.” —Charlene A. Carruthers, author of Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements 

“Somewhere between a call to action, a love letter, and a prayer,  Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the TJ Moment is a gift to those of us working for justice. The voices in this collection are strong and compassionate, and their reflections are honest and open-hearted.  Readers will feel challenged, inspired and held by this critically important book. It will surely inspire change.” —Beth Richie, author of Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison Nation

“I’ve been waiting for this book for so many years. Gritty, unsentimental, blunt, compassionate, and visionary, the wildly varied voices, insights, and experiences collected in this exceptional - and essential – anthology help chart new pathways through the harms of violence in its interrelated interpersonal, vigilante, and structural forms. Appearing at precisely the moment we need them most, these visions, questions, and practices will stir your imagination, fuel your own radical dreams, and open your heart to the possibility of transformed futures for us all.” —Kay Whitlock, author of Considering Hate: Violence, Goodness, and Justice in American Culture and Politics

“Beyond Survival arrives just on time.  Through the combined brilliance of Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha we are offered a beautiful invitation: away from any quick and easy solutions that don't ever do what they purport and towards a fundamental rethinking of what safety is, and a lifetime practice learning, relearning and creating it through community with all the messiness it entails.  This book is truly making the road by dreaming and I'm so grateful for it.” Tourmaline, filmmaker, Happy Birthday, Marsha and Atlantic Is a Sea of Bones

“Beyond Survival is full of grounded, practical wisdom based in brave, thoughtful, collaborative efforts. It will be immensely useful to people trying to respond to the real crises our communities are facing with creative solutions that actually build healing and safety. This is the collection that so many of us have been waiting for, capturing the knowledge generated by grassroots experiments undertaken by bold, imaginative activists working to respond to and prevent violence. We will be using this as a reference book for building community responses to harm and violence for decades to come.” —Dean Spade, author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law

“If you’re serious about toppling the pillars of white supremacy in the United States, start by reading Beyond Survival ... Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha have provided a blueprint, featuring some of the brightest minds making transformative justice a reality. While many articles and essays have highlighted the “why” of transformative justice, the question of “how” persists. Now, Beyond Survival boldly answers. Ejeris and Leah, along with the featured writers, have propelled transformative justice into today’s stagnant policy discourse ... With interviews, stories of success, and unadulterated realness, Beyond Survival shows us how to keep going, how to keep pressing forward, how to survive until we are beyond the injustices of today.” —Eric Ward, Executive Director of the Western States Center and Civil Rights Strategist

Ejeris Dixon is an organizer, consultant, and political strategist with twenty years of experience organizing within racial justice, LGBTQ, transformative justice, anti-violence, and economic justice movements. She is the Founding Director of Vision Change Win Consulting where she partners with organizations to build their capacity and deepen the impact of their organizing strategies. Her essay, "Building Community Safety: Practical Steps Toward Liberatory Transformation," is featured in the anthology Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? Police Violence and Resistance in the United States.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha is the Lambda Award winning author of Care Work: Dreaming Disability JusticeDirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way HomeBodymapLove CakeConsensual Genocide and co-editor of The Revolution Starts At Home: Confronting Intimate Violence in Activist Communities. A lead artist with the disability justice collective Sins Invalid, she is a longtime cultural worker, educator and organizer within disability and transformative justice communities.

Amita Swadhin is an educator, storyteller, activist and consultant dedicated to fighting interpersonal and institutional violence against young people. Her commitments and approach to this work stem from her experiences as a genderqueer, femme queer woman of color, daughter of immigrants, and years of abuse by her parents, including eight years of rape by her father. Their writing has been featured on The Feminist Wire and The Huffington Post, and in the anthologies Dear Sister: Letters from Survivors of Sexual Violence (AK Press, 2014) and Queering Sexual Violence (Magnus Books, 2016).She holds a Master’s in Public Administration degree from New York University, where she was a Catherine B. Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship, and a BS in Foreign Service from Georgetown University.

Raquel Laviña has over 30 years of experience in activism and organizing. As an organizer she focused on helping to build youth organizing as a discipline within a broader community organizing field. She served as the National Program Director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, supervising 20 staff in 3 cities; the Executive Director of the Youth Empowerment Center, which housed 5 youth groups in Oakland, CA including SOUL, the School of Unity and Liberation, and as the Deputy Director of Social Justice Leadership, which supported groups in integrating analysis, organizing and personal transformation. She is now Deputy Director of the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance, with a focus on leadership development and organizational sustainability, where she’s honored to contribute her skills and experience to a movement that centers dignity and justice.


*The space is wheelchair accessible. We are happy to reserve seats by request. 

*An ASL interpreter will be present for the duration of the program. 

*Bathroom access: There is a single-use WC accessible all gender restroom in the main store.

*Fragrance free: We ask that folks come fragrance free so that everyone can attend. Please leave off cologne, perfume and lots of essential oils. Thank you for being in solidarity with each other!

*If you have any other specific questions about accessibility, please email Steve Salardino at steve@skylightbooks.com with questions.

Event date: 
Saturday, February 1, 2020 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Beyond Survival: Strategies and Stories from the Transformative Justice Movement Cover Image
ISBN: 9781849353625
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: AK Press - January 21st, 2020

The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities Cover Image
ISBN: 9781849352628
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: AK Press - August 30th, 2016

Bodymap Cover Image
ISBN: 9781927494509
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Mawenzi House/Tsar Publishers - May 1st, 2015

Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home Cover Image
ISBN: 9781551526003
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Arsenal Pulp Press - November 3rd, 2015

Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice Cover Image
ISBN: 9781551527383
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Arsenal Pulp Press - October 30th, 2018

Tonguebreaker Cover Image
ISBN: 9781551527574
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Arsenal Pulp Press - April 9th, 2019