New Book Gives Voice to Those Who Make a Difference in Quiet Ways

(November 5, 2020 - Chicago, IL) We live in politically uncertain times where some feel that their voices are not heard or their concerns are not addressed. Some feel marginalized, invisible, defeated, or demoralized. But writers and editors, Michelle Duster and Trina Sotira, recently released their second collaboration titled Impact: Personal Portraits of Activism, which includes empowering personal essays, poems, drama, and short stories of people making their voices heard. Not everyone who initiates change is in the streets protesting. These 45 writers from around the world show how activism in big and small ways can lead to some form of justice. Discussion questions are included in the book to help classrooms and book groups utilize the information for engagement.

Impact: Personal Portraits of Activism covers several forms of justice: racial, social, environmental, educational, and gender equity. From the historical challenges of "being seen" to preserving Native American ancestry through education; from letter writing to remove relics romanticizing the chain gang to silent protestors "standing long enough to mourn"; from suffering through long lines at the "pain clinic" to being a spokesperson for bravery-the anthology tackles how we process injustice and explores ways to contribute to solutions.

Sotira explained, "The idea for the anthology grew organically a couple of years ago as we observed the social and cultural landscape and how it was affecting us, our families, and our students. We realized that anxiety levels were increasing and many people were wondering what they could do to contribute to solutions." Duster added, "Few people think of themselves as activists, but we realized that activism comes in many forms and wanted to give people an outlet to share their stories of how they impacted change in ways that are rarely spotlighted."

The anthology's contributors include former city officials, restorative justice practitioners, medical doctors, budding writers, social historians, journalists, award-winning writers, and educators. A complete list of contributors can be found at

Between the two editors, their work has been published in seventeen books and they have over 50 years of combined experience. Sotira is an Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing at College of DuPage. A former television news producer, her first novel, In Her Skin: Growing Up Trans, received recognition for revealing the struggles of a transgender teen. Sotira has published articles on writing, as well as flash fiction and poetry. Duster has been involved in advocacy that has led to street names, monuments, statues, and historical markers. She teaches business writing at Columbia College Chicago and has written articles for TIME, Essence, HuffPost, and Teen Vogue. Her forthcoming book, Ida B. the Queen: The Extraordinary Life and Legacy of Ida B. Wells, will be released by Atria/One Signal Publishing in January, 2021.

Sotira and Duster founded MuseWrite in 2009, along with two other women. Their first joint book, Shifts: An Anthology of Women's Growth Through Change, was a finalist for both Next Generation Indie and USA Best Book awards. Sotira and Duster are available for interviews and other virtual speaking engagements. Contact regarding availability.

The 213-page Impact: Personal Portraits of Activism retails for $20.00 and is available through Amazon and other booksellers. For more information, and to place discount bulk orders, please visit

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