In light of post-election acts of violence and intimidation here in the U.S., and in recognizing the ongoing fight for equal treatment and acceptance, we enter this holiday season with our hearts wide open to all the ways we can support our brothers and sisters who feel vulnerable, and how we can plant seeds of peace for future generations. Many of us are wondering what we can do to make a difference, if even on a small scale. One simple way to stand up for social justice causes is to make a conscious choice to use your dollars in a meaningful way. That is where our holiday gift list comes in!
We are excited to present to you 12 hand-selected gift ideas (and an abundance of equally awesome runner-ups) that promote social justice, equality, inclusivity, and awareness. We keep our focus small here: gifts that benefit marginalized and oppressed minority groups in the U.S., either as purchases supporting their non-profit organizations OR as items that speak up on behalf of these groups, opening up conversations and promoting education and awareness. At the bottom of this page, you will also find a collection of organizations where you can make a financial donation in lieu of a tangible gift.
Thanks for shopping responsibly and making a difference this holiday season! Also, in honor of Small Business Saturday, we recommend making book purchases through IndieBound online or your local independent bookstore, when possible.
Disclaimer: This is only a suggested list. Angie Klaus Photography + Films has not received compensation for these recommendations, does not benefit from any purchases, and cannot be held responsible for any outcome related to the purchase of these products.
For the Tiny Activist
For the Playground Activist
Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester
Newberry Award winning author Julius Lester tells the story of himself and introduces race as a part of his story. Accompanied by beautiful paintings, the book engages its readers by asking questions and creating a dialogue to open up the conversation on race. This also makes a great classroom or teacher gift.
For the Teen Activist
Teens can learn the history of the civil rights movement from one of its greatest leaders. This autobiographical graphic novel trilogy from Congressman John Lewis covers his experiences...from lunch counter sit-ins, to police beatings as a freedom rider, and culminates in the Selma to Montgomery marches. The series is the first graphic novel to win a National Book Award. Previous honors include the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the Eisner Award, two Harvey Awards, and a Coretta Scott King Author Honor.
Honorable mentions: Brown Girl Dreaming, It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living, Dreamers: An Immigrant Generation's Fight for Their American Dream, We Are Americans: Undocumented Students Pursuing the American Dream
For the Bookworm Activist
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
The New Jim Crow describes how discrimination against criminals has replaced outright racism as a means of creating inequality in our society. It uncovers how, through institutionalized racial targeting, the justice system has become a surrogate to justify discrimination in a supposedly colorblind America.
For the Art-Loving Activist
A children's book about how artists in Ferguson, MO came together to restore the community following the protests in 2014. It can be accompanied by a namesake coloring book with simple to elaborate designs based on the works of art created in Ferguson and including messages of peace, love, and community. All profits go toward Ferguson-area youth and art programs, and small businesses affected by the protests.
For the Music-Loving Activist
Border Songs: A Collection of Music and Spoken Word by Various Artists
This eclectic 2-CD compilation album features artists from both sides of the U.S-Mexico border (from Sweet Honey in the Rock and Pete Seeger to Michael Franti, Pachuco, and Calexico) sharing songs that reflect the impacts of U.S. border policy. All profits go to support the efforts of No More Deaths, a southern Arizona humanitarian organization that provides water, food, and medical care to migrants crossing the desert. The CD was a limited release and the remaining copies are difficult to find online, but some are available through the NAU bookstore. It's also available on Amazon from third party sellers, but those proceeds would no longer benefit No More Deaths.
Honorable Mentions: Classic Protest Songs from Smithsonian Folkways, Dark Was the Night from Red Hot, Sounds of Indian Summer: Contemporary Native Music from the National Museum of the American Indian
For the Theatre-Loving Activist
A 2-CD set and DVD from the July 25, 2016 benefit concert in the aftermath of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida. The concert featured performances from some of the biggest names on Broadway, including many Tony Award winners, accompanied by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. Net proceeds will be donated to local central Florida charities that support the LGBTQ community.
For the T-shirt-Loving Activist
Rainbow Mountain T-shirt from Revel and Riot
Revel and Riot is a non-profit group that creates graphics and products to support LGBTQ rights. This shirt transforms Gilbert Baker's rainbow flag design into an image that reflects the continuing struggle for LGBTQ equality. It's great for both LGBT and allies.
For the Coffee-Loving Activist
What Did I Do? Cup from The Democratic Cup
This cup features the images of Michael Brown, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling, and Oscar Grant along with a poetic quote along its inner rim. The cup is part of a set of 22 cups designed by 32 ceramic artists and illustrators with themes to create dialogue and counteract hateful speech. These limited edition ceramic cups are handcrafted in North Carolina and take 3 weeks to create and ship. Net proceeds will be donated to non-profit organizations.
For the Jewelry-Loving Activist
This simple but stylish cable bracelet features the equal sign logo of the Human Rights Campaign. Consider this or other jewelry from HRC. HRC is the largest LGBTQ organization with over 1.5 million members and supporters nationwide. 100% of every purchase goes to HRC’s fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer equality.
For the Activist Couple
Rainbow Glitter Edition Brut Sparkling Wine by One Hope Wine
A sparkling wine in a sparkling rainbow bottle. The wine is part of the glitter bottle collection, with each bottle supporting a different charitable cause. Each rainbow bottle funds 15 minutes of operational costs on The Trevor Project's lifeline, providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youth. Purchase a single bottle online, or consider hosting a wine tasting event, where you can choose the charity for which to donate 15% of the profits.
Honorable mentions: No Different print by Brian Andreas, Pendleton Blankets for the American Indian College Fund, Prosperity Candles, Wine from Justice Grace Vinyards
For the Organized Activist
2017 Liberation Calendar by Ricardo Levins Morales
This 2017 calendar features beautiful liberation-themed art by Ricardo Levins Morales from over four decades, and includes notes on significant dates from the liberation struggle. Also consider Justice Notecards by the same artist.
When a tangible gift is not necessary, we recommend direct donations as a gift in the recipient's name. Here is a list of organizations to consider:
Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Support: Welcoming Refugees, International Refugee Assistance Project, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, The Dream is Now, National Immigration Law Center, United We Dream, United Farm Workers, No More Deaths
Muslim Rights and Support: Council on American-Islamic Relations, Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, Take on Hate