Rereading Exodus along the Anacostia explores intergroup dialogue, its role in understanding and addressing oppression and in envisioning new ways to get ourselves — all of us — out from under the millstone of racism and inequality and militarism.
The book centers on the Exodus story — not as a text of anyone’s religious covenant but as an engaging and provocative narrative about power and about what happens when disparate groups share the same space.
Rereading Exodus shares lessons the author has gleaned from DC’s Cross River Dialogue, a small group of white Jews, all living west of the Anacostia River, and Black non-Jews living and working east of the river. The hope is that this book can help promote intergroup understanding and address deliberate weaponizing of certain topics, across our overlapping Black and Jewish communities.
Rereading Exodus along the Anacostia: some lessons of cross river dialogue is available as Rereading ebook and paperback Rereading-on-demand. For those local to DC, print copies are also available. Contact WeLuvBooks for details.
UPCOMING EVENT: Book talk, 11:30 a.m. at Mount Moriah Baptist Church, 1636 East Capitol St., NE.
Profits from e- and print books benefit Charnice Milton Community Bookstore, which supports literacy in DC and provides free books to children, especially east of the river.
Preface to print edition of Rereading Exodus:
Rereading Exodus is a journey, and I appreciate everyone who takes even a few of its steps with me. This book uses Exodus narrative — a story important to many aspects of popular culture — as a tool for exploring power, oppression, and clashes of perspectives. The goal is to learn how we got into this “Narrow Place” of inequality, militarism, and racism and how we might get ourselves — all of us — out.
This book has been in process, in one form or another, since the Before Times. Back then, I fretted that some of what I wrote was too harsh, not “balanced” enough, or just too direct. Today, I am not sure there are words harsh enough for our country’s lethal racial divides. I never deliberately share falsehoods or half-truths; at the same time, however, I recognize no “other side” on when it comes to denying anyone’s humanity and human rights. As for over-directness, I recall a long-ago ballet teacher who told her classes: If you are timid in your presentation, I might miss a dangerous mistake. Whatever you’re doing, do it all the way, and then we can work on corrections together.
…I have hesitated many times in sending this book out to the world. In some ways, the easier course would be to keep my words to myself…or hold out for perfection, its impossibility shielding me from ever finishing. But there are conversations we need to have, and work we need to do. Now. It is my fervent hope that this far-less-than-perfect offering will launch some necessary discussions.
It is not humblebrag to say I am sure there are mistakes in here. There will undoubtedly be typos and nonsense ahead — [I’ve seen some, but can no longer change the text for now] for those I apologize and hope they are not too distracting. There will also be more serious missteps — for those I hope readers will engage the concepts and let me know where future discussions need shifting, as well as advising me of errors or lack of clarity. — Virginia in DC, March 29, 2022/26 Adar II 5782.