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Summer Justice Reads - CRC Staff Picks

Looking for summer beach reads? Here's what some Christian Reformed justice staff are reading this summer. 

Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo - Zora Neale Hurston

Viviana Cornejo

This is the story of Oluale Kossula, who was re-named Cudjo Lewis in the U.S. He was captured and transported along with 129 men and women to Mobile, Alabama in the last American slave ship, Clotilda. He survived 5 years of slavery, Civil War, and reconstruction in Alabama. He fought to preserve African memories and culture in the town Africatown, near Mobile. Hurston interviewed Kossula and reproduced his way of speaking as closely as possible in her writing. It’s a book that will bring you tears as you “hear” him talking.


Just Mercy - Bryan Stevenson

Danielle Chun

This book opened my eyes to the depth of injustice in the U.S. criminal justice system. In between crying, underlining, and scribbling in the margins, I found myself challenged to learn, to advocate, to become proximate--and to rethink my assumptions of offenders, justice, and mercy. Just Mercy is not an emotionally easy read, but it is so worth it.


I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness - Austin Channing Brown

Bernadette Arthur

Austin graciously offers a window into her world of being a Black woman navigating mainly white spaces. Her collection of stories is a gift to the church, as she articulates what many have have felt or experienced in predominantly white spaces. This book can serve as a great conversation starter as to the potential for us to experience community in such different ways.  


Long Walk to Freedom - Nelson Mandela

Shannon Perez

One would hope that South Africa’s history of apartheid would never be repeated or echoed elsewhere. However, Canada’s history with Indigenous peoples has many similarities. This book is an important read to understand the value of the Belhar Confession, which was written by the Reformed churches of South Africa in response to apartheid.


Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood - Trevor Noah

Shannon Jammal-Hollemans

Personal stories powerfully convey truth and reveal how God is working in our world. I’ve read this memoir several times, and each time I find myself laughing, crying, and pondering how God works in the face of injustice. We need to continue to listen to each other’s stories.


The Other Face of God - Mary Jo Leddy

Danielle Steenwyk-Rowaan

You’d be hard-pressed to find a page in my copy of this book that isn’t dog-eared. Since hearing Mary Jo speak about the call of refugees on the Church a few years ago at the launch of the Journey With Me workshop, this Catholic nun from Toronto has been my go-to source for thoughtful Canadian reflection on Christian hospitality and community, especially as it relates to refugees.


What are you reading this summer? Let us know at and we may feature it on our social media accounts! 


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