Knowledge is Freedom

by / Jul 21, 2020

It’s fair to say that much of our SENREVE team and Octopi community are voracious readers — but why exactly would a handbag company be giving away free books? Well, throughout the last few months we’ve invited our customers to share thoughts and recommendations on how SENREVE can be a more vocal ally to the BIPOC community. Our Knowledge is Freedom campaign is one of our responses. We understand that to make meaningful progress, we have to supplement short-term solutions (like one-time donations) with long-term commitments to change.

Education is the start to any sustainable progress and reading is a vital component of education. It helps us develop empathy for others and teaches us about new topics. Reading challenges us to form our own opinions and empowers us to engage in thoughtful discourse. As such, our SENREVE team has curated a list of books for you to add to your summer reading. Some are simply great classic stories and others are more contemporary, provocative pieces. All of them are timely reads that better arm you for conversations and reflection, both now and into the future. Read on to get a quick synopsis of each book and review from our team.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

The Bluest Eye Cover
Following a young Black girl who prays to look “normal,” this novel explores questions about race, class, and gender, as well as, the obsession with beauty and conformity.

“I read The Bluest Eye in high school, and it left a deep impression on me in highlighting how narrowly society defines what is considered beautiful, especially for young women. It's also so hurtful and damaging when these standards are completely unrealistic. At SENREVE, we've always been sensitive as a brand to share beautiful images of women of all types of skin, hair, and eye color.”

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Cover
Beloved by many all over the world, this memoir captures the brute insult of bigotry, and the wonder of words that can make the world right.

“I have been an admirer of Maya Angelou for the longest time. She is so wise and spiritual and has a calming energy. We recently quoted her for the mural we painted for our storefront. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings is an autobiography of her journey that is so emotional, painful, and traumatic, but she managed to overcome all of that to emerge as the powerful woman she became. She's truly a legend.”

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

We Should All Be Feminists
Written as a book-length essay, Adichie explores what it means to be a feminist in the 21st century. She shares why feminism isn’t just supporting women's liberation, but also encouraging men to join the conversation.

“Adichie's essay is quick and easy to read but very impactful. She redefines feminism to avoid the misunderstanding and negative stigma surrounding it. She clearly outlines the differing expectations set on men and women — acknowledging biological differences, but highlighting how society exaggerates these differences. The personal anecdotes brought her points to life and really resonated with me, specifically an example of wearing an "ugly" suit to be taken seriously in her career and being tired of apologizing for her femininity in her professional life.”

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

White Fragility Cover
This New York Times best-selling book examines the counterproductive reactions non-BIPOC have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how these very reactions maintain racial inequality.

“I’m still in the middle of this book, but Robin Diangelo has helped articulate things I’ve felt for a while as well as teach me things I didn’t know. It’s so helpful, I feel like I need to underline every sentence. Here at SENREVE, we’re constantly trying to challenge the status quo whether it’s through our innovative products or thinking critically in our everyday lives — this book does exactly that with regards to race, and empowers us to have more educated discourse moving forward.”

We’re constantly trying to expand our reading list and would love to hear your recommendations. What other books have you been reading this summer? Tell us using the comments section below.