Mainstream news outlets tend to focus on the dire state of the world and less on the ways in which people are fighting back against oppression and injustice in their communities.
But Ijeoma Oluo—writer, speaker, and best-selling author of So You Want to Talk About Race—has an abundance of such stories in her new book Be a Revolution: How Everyday People Are Fighting Oppression and Changing the World—and How You Can, Too.
In Be a Revolution, Oluo weaves together stories of abolitionists, disability justice activists, labor organizers, and more in a powerful exploration of what’s possible when ordinary people tackle injustice.
In a wide-ranging conversation with YES! Senior Editor Sonali Kolhatkar on YES! Presents: Rising Up With Sonali, Oluo shared some of these stories and also reflected on the ongoing Israeli genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.
Sonali Kolhatkar joined YES! in summer 2021, building on a long and decorated career in broadcast and print journalism. She is an award-winning multimedia journalist, and host and creator of YES! Presents: Rising Up with Sonali, a nationally syndicated television and radio program airing on Free Speech TV and dozens of independent and community radio stations. She is also Senior Correspondent with the Independent Media Institute’s Economy for All project where she writes a weekly column. She is the author of Rising Up: The Power of Narrative in Pursuing Racial Justice (2023) and Bleeding Afghanistan: Washington, Warlords, and the Propaganda of Silence (2005). Her forthcoming book is called Talking About Abolition (Seven Stories Press, 2025). Sonali is co-director of the nonprofit group, Afghan Women’s Mission which she helped to co-found in 2000. She has a Master’s in Astronomy from the University of Hawai’i, and two undergraduate degrees in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin. Sonali reflects on “My Journey From Astrophysicist to Radio Host” in her 2014 TEDx talk of the same name.