Healing From an Abusive Relationship: The Ms. Q&A With Psychotherapist Amira Martin

Psychotherapist Amira Martin knew that it made sense to move slowly when starting a new relationship, but after a whirlwind romance, she married a man she’d known for less than a year. After all, the courtship had been perfect—indeed, the man himself appeared perfect—and however improbable, Martin believed that she had found her soul mate.

She hadn’t.

Amira Martin spoke with Ms. about her marriage, its dissolution, and what she learned from it.

Dance as a Form of Personal Healing: The Ms. Q&A With Tara Rynders

Burnout and stress have caused approximately 100,000 nurses to leave the workforce since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. This comes as no surprise to Tara Rynders, a Colorado-based registered nurse who has created a series of workshops for medical staff to address the sorrow and the joy of caring for others. The workshops—which combine movement, writing, play the arts and debriefing—also focus on how workers can provide what she calls “courageous care” to themselves.

Rydners’ workshops aim to “give nurses a way to debrief and process their feelings. … Nurses and other medical workers need to be able to stand up to power and celebrate themselves, not for being self-sacrificing, but for being able to set boundaries, say no, and not comply with every request.”

‘Between Two Moons’: A Love Letter to Arab and Muslim Communities, by Aisha Abdel Gawad

Aisha Abdel Gawad calls her first novel, Between Two Moons, “a love letter to Arab and Muslim communities.” The story centers around the Brooklyn, New York-based Emam family, American-born twins Amira and Lina, their older brother Sami, and their parents, Mariam and Kareem. 

It’s an emotionally rich and revelatory portrait, set in a post 9-11 world that is still feeling the aftershocks of that unprecedented attack. But despite this grim overlay, humor and joy exist in the struggles Gawad documents.

Welfare Is a Human Right: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty With Annelise Orleck

In her book, Storming Caesars Palace: How Black Mothers Fought Their Own War on Poverty, Annelise Orleck not only shares the history of Clark County Welfare Right Organization’s (CCWRO) ascent and activism but also provides an insightful guide to community organizing.

“I loved the CCWRO’s insistence that poor women are experts on poverty and can run their own programs better than so-called professionals. And they did! … They demanded to know why a state that took tax revenue from gambling and prostitution was considered morally acceptable, but mothers trying to feed their kids were called cheaters. They were fearless.”

‘Girls and Their Monsters’: The Morlok Quadruplets and Mental Health With Audrey Clare Farley

In her newest book, Girls and Their Monsters, Audrey Clare Farley addresses the Morlok quadruplets’ earliest years as a singing-and-dancing sensation and zeroes in on their coming of age and eventual descent into schizophrenia.

“I want to stress that I don’t view the quadruplets only as victims. They looked for and found joy. The book is about people living under fascism, but it’s also about bravery and defiance.”

‘Working 9 to 5’: A Firsthand Account of the Women’s Movement, Labor Union and Iconic Movie

Ellen Cassedy’s Working 9 to 5: A Woman’s Movement, A Labor Union, and the Iconic Movie, is part memoir, part political history and part prescriptive look at the ongoing challenges facing workers today. But as much as it acknowledges how much remains to be done to achieve racial and gender equity on the job, it also celebrates 9 to 5’s many successes.

‘Gray Love’: Yes, Older People Have Desires

Gray Love: Stories About Dating and New Relationships After 60 showcases men and women’s own voices, showing the nitty-gritty headiness of first dates, the joy of getting to know someone’s history, politics and quirks, and the inevitability of decline.

Nan Bauer-Maglin, co-editor, says it’s rare for books about love to intertwine with aging. “I hope that younger readers will learn that older people have desires and still want to date and have romantic relationships. I hope that they will see that older people do not want to spend the rest of their lives longing for a person who is no longer there.”

Jennifer Baumgardner’s New Journal ‘LIBER’ Marries Women’s History and Contemporary Feminism

Jennifer Baumgardner, founder and editor of LIBER: A Feminist Review, believes that a literary journal can be a place where women’s history intersects with today’s most pressing feminist debates. Baumgardner and Charis Caputo, LIBER’s senior editor, aim to include “a lot of diferent perspecives and be a big feminist tent for as many people as possible.”

‘The Future Is Disabled’: Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha on Creating a More Humane Social Order

Writer, disability-justice activist and performance artist Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha knows that it’s possible for society to become more equitable. Piepzna-Samarasinha’s latest book, The Future Is Disabled: Prophesies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs, lays out a bare-bones agenda for what is needed to make the U.S. more socially just.

Piepzna-Samarasinha and Ms. contributor Eleanor J. Bader communicated about the book, the disability justice movement and the ways that activists can support each other in the fight for a more ecologically sustainable and humane social order.      

Affordable Housing as a Human Right: Activist Diane Yentel on the U.S. Housing Crisis, Racial Justice and Democracy

Right now, low-income renters are facing rising inflation, skyrocketing rents, limited tenant protections and a shortage of affordable units. Predictably, this is leading to an increasing number of evictions and a spike in homelessness.

Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, sees housing and racial justice as inextricably linked. “We must ensure that low-income people can participate in democracy by removing the barriers to voting that make it difficult to cast a ballot.”