Florida: Where Learning Goes to Die

I’ve been a clerk, teacher and administrator in Volusia County, Fla., schools for decades. Our 9-year-old grandson will no longer be educated here.

Last school year, one like no other, I kept a journal because the laws coming down from Tallahassee and the school board meetings I regularly attend had become frightening. I knew the effects in the schools would be equally scary. They were worse than I imagined.

Breaking the Silence Around Sexual Abuse: The Ms. Q&A With Maya Golden About New Memoir ‘The Return Trip’

Award-winning multimedia journalist Maya Golden’s searing but redemptive memoir, The Return Trip, takes readers on a harrowing journey. The book offers a no-holds-barred look into the sexual abuse that began when Golden was 5 and charts her course through a troubled adolescence and young adulthood. Along the way, she probes the long-term impact of repeated sexual violation and zeroes in on the ways religious institutions, educational systems, and familial denial continue to intersect and allow the perpetuation of violence.

Golden spoke to Ms. reporter Eleanor J. Bader before The Return Trip’s Nov. 14 release. Their wide-ranging conversation touched on the book as well as the work of the 1 in 3 Foundation, a group Golden founded to support survivors of sexual assault.

November 2023 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, we provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.

This November brings a brilliant selection of new book releases. From Native American Heritage Month to Trans Day of Remembrance, there are books for you to learn from, unwind with, and reflect upon. Which of these 24 titles will you be reading this month?  

Bringing Domestic Violence Victims Back to Life

The first mass shooting of the modern era occurred in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 1, 1966. Before police killed him, Charles Whitman would be responsible for the murder of 17 and the wounding of 31. But the tower murders weren’t the beginning of the carnage.

The night before, while his mother and wife were sleeping, he had already stabbed them to death. Coverage of the campus massacre virtually eclipsed the women’s stories. But Unheard Witness: The Life and Death of Kathy Leissner Whitman, by Jo Scott-Coe, aims to change that.

The Ms. Q&A With Elizabeth L. Silver, Author of ‘The Majority,’ an RBG Novel

When I heard the title of Elizabeth Silver’s new book, The Majority, I knew the lone word in the title held layers of resonance.

The novel’s main character is reminiscent of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, or “The Notorious RBG,” and the reader follows her arduous, yet steady, ascending legal career. The novel reveals an intergenerational weave of feminists still trying—sometimes in impossibly constricted ways—to break down doors, laws and spaces to effect change. In this book, we see a composite of personal and professional challenges that reflect the path of one character but represent so much more beyond just her.

Defending Diverse Voices: Four Best-Selling Authors Talk Banned Books

The issue of book banning has resurfaced with renewed vigor. We must resist attempts to suppress books written by Black authors and diverse voices. Ms. spoke with Tiffany D. Jackson, Kimberly L. Jones, Jason Mott and Nicola Yoon—national award-winning authors—about the impact of book banning on both authors and society.

“Banning books will not make racial complexities and the world’s complexities disappear; instead, it erodes compassion and understanding.”

“Books nurture empathy in kids who are reading about people who don’t look like them. They build understanding.”

From the Frontlines in Iran: Our Fight for Human Rights and Gender Equality

Nasrin Sotoudeh is an Iranian human rights lawyer who has spent her career fighting for the rights of women and minorities in the Middle East. For her important work, Sotoudeh has been honored with copious awards and designations, including the U.S. State Department’s Global Human Rights Defender title and Ms. magazine’s Top Feminist award. Just this month, she is the sole recipient of both The Civil Courage Prize, which honors individuals who show courage against evil and oppression, and the Brown Democracy Medal from the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, marking the award’s 10th year.

“The monster of oppression has nested in one corner of the world,” wrote Sotoudeh in her new book, Women, Life, Freedom: Our Fight for Human Rights and Equality in Iran. “It dreams of taking over the world. We must overcome our fears, stand up to the beast, and look it in the eyes.”

October 2023 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, we provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.

Many of this month’s list of recommended new books seem to align with the theme of liberation. I hope you’ll find something here that gets you thinking about liberation and, more importantly, inspires you to work towards liberation for all.  

Ms. Magazine Wins PEN America’s Impact Award for ‘Contributions to Journalism, Feminism and Social Change’

On Tuesday, Sept. 19—the same day the Ms. book, 50 Years of Ms.: The Best of the Pathfinding Magazine That Ignited a Revolution, was released—Ms. magazine was awarded PEN America’s Impact Award, in honor of the publication’s five decades of feminist journalism.

“Through its art, literature and journalism, Ms. magazine became a platform that educated, inspired and mobilized generations of feminists in support of equality,” said PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel. “I am deeply honored to present the PEN America Impact Award … in recognition of Ms. magazine’s contributions to journalism, feminism and social change.”

(This essay is part of the “Feminist Journalism is Essential to Democracy” project—Ms. magazine’s latest installment of Women & Democracy, presented in partnership with the International Women’s Media Foundation.)