Assata: An Autobiography

The Ocean Between the Lines

When reading a book is standing at shore:

Facing the familiar Mystery,

the unfathomable Affirmation of Life, Faith, and

the Change that is the God within.

Humbled by the power of the Waters

that empower me when I remember that 

We are Her legacy.


I want to believe that all Assata’s ever done is fight for the beach like she saw her grandparents do. 

The beach, where we can cherish our humanities and communities, our connection to clean air, clear water, the sun and other stars. The beach: any sanctuary that meets our basic needs and more. 

And this is what makes her so radical, because she’s willing to defend the roots that make life possible from the forces of despair and destruction, a.k.a. the U.S.A.

I’m grateful for this book. Assata’s story left me speechless. I closed the book especially grateful for the magical, radical power that is reading books. For Assata and for all the family, friends, intimates, inmates and comrades that have supported her throughout her life. 

That gratitude overflowed into my own life as reading Assata’s autobiography caused me to reflect on all of the sacrifices made and gifts given across the generations in order for me to be alive and well today.

But that’s when reading this book felt more like wading out in the Ocean, with no land in sight. Because every moment of gratitude brought more and more grief, anger, and disdain along with it. Not just for how Assata has been treated by a toxic country and culture, but for all the life, love and possibilities of people whose stories still go unheard.

Yet the stories continue on and keep singing. Assata leads the way to listening and affirming life in all our beauty.

So here I am, at “the beach” Assata has dreamed, written and protected for us with her life, listening for those unheard stories held in the Ocean, where we can wonder, pray, cry, share, serve, know community, know the cosmos, and change ourselves to change the world.

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