Adam Russell Taylor talks about his new book, Mobilizing Hope: Faith Inspired Activism for a Post Civil Rights Generation.
My and subsequent generations have often been written off as being overly self-absorbed, apathetic, and even narcissistic. While there is some truth in every misguided stereotype, I’ve seen enough of my peers leading inspiring and entrepreneurial change to turn this perception on its head.
Young people have often served on the vanguard of social and political change, serving as moral interrogators and foot soldiers, from civil rights to anti-apartheid and now global poverty through ONE and other efforts. Injustice and inequality represent mutated genes that show up in new and often more covert forms, increasingly in the form of unjust trade policies and the scandal that over a billion people eke out an existence on less than a dollar a day.
I wrote my first book, Mobilizing Hope: Faith Inspired Activism for a Post Civil Rights Generation, to draw lessons from previous social movements and apply them to the most pressing challenges facing our nation and world today. I also wanted to provide concrete examples of young people putting their faith into action and making a tangible difference in policy and systemic change.
Fortunately, a younger generation has embraced service as a meaningful way to make a difference. The challenge is to build on this service ethic by also addressing the root causes of so much inequality and injustice that afflicts our world. I’ve had the privilege of leading campaigns to fight the global HIV/AIDS crisis and cancel the debts of impoverished countries. So often crises like extreme poverty become “Goliaths” in our midst.
Just like Goliath, the crisis feels overwhelming, paralyzing and intractable. But like David, we must learn to reconfigure the battlefield according to the gifts and tools that God has given us and find the smooth stones that will be most effective in generating the political will that is needed to end extreme poverty. We can’t simply romanticize or memorialize activism of the past, we must develop new tools, methods, and strategies that will be most effective in our current political landscape.
Mobilizing Hope provides an overview and primer around these tools and a theological and moral basis for social justice activism. I pray that the book can help strengthen a movement to mobilize hope across the world, particularly in the most neglected and exploited corners.
- Adam Russell Taylor
Rev. Adam Taylor recently served as a White House Fellow. Taylor previously served as the senior political director at Sojourners and as executive director of Global Justice. He serves as an associate minister at First Baptist Church.