"We have a responsibility to awaken." - Race Equity Reading List from kelley nicole palmer

"I don’t lean into or uphold trying to be the smartest person in the room anymore AND I appreciate the early push to be resourceful, to remain curious, and to always keep learning."

—kelley nicole palmer


I grew up in a library. My mom, Gloria, is a librarian, and as a working mother living far from family, we spent a lot of time—after school, on breaks, some weekends—in the library with my mother. Often she would say to me, “The smartest person doesn’t know everything, they know where to look.”  I don’t lean into or uphold trying to be the smartest person in the room anymore AND I appreciate the early push to be resourceful, to remain curious and to always keep learning. 

Race & Equity is a broad subject and the work of investigating how we participate in and uphold systems of oppression is never ending. As we dig deeper into our held beliefs and the ways they manifest, we can discover that there is even more to uncover and unpack. The unlearning, disruption and shifting will last a lifetime. I want to offer a list of the resources I am revisiting, exploring and discovering as I continue this work for myself:

  • Pedagogy of The Oppressed - First published in Portuguese in 1968, Pedagogy of the Oppressed was translated and published in English in 1970. The methodology of the late Paulo Freire has helped to empower countless impoverished and illiterate people throughout the world. Freire's work has taken on especial urgency in the United States and Western Europe, where the creation of a permanent underclass among the underprivileged and minorities in cities and urban centers is increasingly accepted as the norm. 

  • By the Blood - Chronicling the ongoing conflict over the issue of tribal rights between the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and the Cherokee Freedmen, descendants of African American slaves. By Blood explores a largely untold history and the impact of a battle over race, identity, and the sovereign rights of Native American people.

  • Gather by Octavia Raheem is a collection of soulful sayings, poetry and flashes of insight woven together into a single sacred garment.

  • Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments is a breathtaking exploration of the lives of young black women in the early twentieth century. In Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, Saidiya Hartman examines the revolution of black intimate life that unfolded in Philadelphia and New York at the beginning of the twentieth century. Free love, common-law and transient marriages, serial partners, cohabitation outside of wedlock, queer relations, and single motherhood were among the sweeping changes that altered the character of everyday life and challenged traditional Victorian beliefs about courtship, love, and marriage. 

  • Brother Outsider:  Life of Bayard Rustin - This powerful documentary chronicles the life of openly gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who, among many contributions to the cause, is best known for organizing the 1963 March on Washington, D.C., involving hundreds of thousands of people.

The vast grip that systems of oppression have on us all is loosened little by little when we make individual and collective effort to lean away from its lies and misconceptions. We have a responsibility to awaken, deepen our understanding and open our perspective if we desire a world that is safe for everyone to exist. I hope you will join me on the path. 

Towards Liberation, 

kelley nicole palmer (she/her)


Join Kelley for Race & Equity in Yoga: Disruption as a Practice, a 12-hour online course for yoga teachers. This course is designed to help you get clear on your role in dismantling systems of oppression and activate your yoga practice for social justice.
Registration is open through Monday August 8th, 2022
Each class is 3 hours with scheduled breaks
9am-12pm Pacific (Los Angeles) // 12pm-3pm Eastern (New York)
5pm-8pm London, UK
*Live session replays available for registrants, with access to captioned recordings and resources for 12 months
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