May 2022 Reads for the Rest of Us

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

Whether you read for knowledge or leisure, books are so important. May is a big month for new releases by women and writers of historically excluded communities; I’ve highlighted 60 of them here, but there are many more. I hope you’ll find some here that will help you reflect and act in whatever ways you can. 

Women Need a Win. Pass the Child Tax Credit Expansion.

When we talk about freedom of choice and bodily autonomy, we too often leave out the role economic status plays in attaining this freedom. This is particularly important for Latinx women who face the largest income gap and for Black women, who suffer the highest maternal mortality rate and historically bear the brunt of restrictive reproductive policies.

Passing the expanded child tax credit is certainly not a silver bullet solution to the seemingly endless problems women face in this country. But, it is an important step in our long and painful journey to create a country that offers equity, freedom and autonomy to all.

Melissa Lucio Granted a Stay of Execution in Texas

Melissa Lucio, who was set to be executed for the death of her 2-year old daughter Mariah, was granted a stay of execution and a new hearing on Monday by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The court ordered a new hearing to consider whether her conviction was based on an unreliable false confession which Lucio, a victim of sexual abuse and domestic violence, offered in response to threatening, hostile questioning by investigators.

“The court’s decision paves the way for Melissa to present evidence of her innocence that should have been heard by the jury that condemned her to death 14 years ago,” said Professor Sandra Babcock, director of the Cornell Center on the Death Penalty Worldwide and one of Lucio’s attorneys.

Bipartisan Group Urges Reconsideration of Melissa Lucio’s Death Sentence

The state of Texas plans to put Melissa Lucio to death by lethal injection on Wednesday, April 27, which would make her the sixth woman executed in the U.S. in the last decade and the first Hispanic woman in Texas history.

But new evidence of Lucio’s interrogation reveals how unlikely it is that she is guilty—which is why a bipartisan group of Texas state lawmakers is asking authorities to reconsider the scheduled execution. They join hundreds of other Texans—including 225 anti-domestic violence groups, 130 faith leaders and 30 Latino organizations—in urging the Board of Pardons and Paroles and Governor Abbott to grant Lucio a reprieve.

Guaranteed Income As a Path Towards Gender and Racial Justice

Guaranteed income is an essential strategy for centering Black women and their families. It involves consistent payments directed to specific groups, like Black women living in poverty, in order to address economic inequities.

It’s one component of the Black Women Best framework, which has officially entered mainstream political awareness. And it’s a particularly salient time to talk economic solutions: Over two-thirds of voters say the economy is their top concern ahead of the November midterm elections.

Student Loan Debt Is a Gender Issue, Especially for Women of Color

The student loan debt crisis is at an all time high, with 45 million people carrying an estimated $1.7 trillion in federal student loan debt. Women carry roughly two-thirds of it. Black and Brown women are disproportionately impacted by this issue. 

Economic inequality, as influenced by class, race and gender, further increases each day student loan debt cancellation is delayed. 

Celebrating and Supporting Guatemalan Women Anti-Corruption Fighters and Champions of Democracy

Traveling to Guatemala last month, the juxtaposition of situations was striking. The depth to which corruption has become entrenched in the government, driven by the perniciousness of wealth inequality, is despairing; the lack of viable solutions nearly hopeless. Yet, the strength of the advocacy and legal community, led by the heroism of scores of women who are in many cases putting their own lives and livelihoods on the line to relentlessly beat forward a path to justice is deeply motivating.

Weekend Reading on Women’s Representation: Ranked-Choice Voting Is Key in Alaska Special Election; How Latin America Is Achieving Gender Parity

Weekend Reading for Women’s Representation is a compilation of stories about women’s representation.

This week: The Senate confirms Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court; why so many countries in Latin America are achieving gender parity; major barriers for women in China and South Korea; ranked-choice voting takes center stage in Alaska special election; the 2018 law that more than doubled the number of women on boards in California has been struck down; it’s National Poetry Month; and more.