Social Justice Gift Ideas – Appreciate the Activists in Your Life This Holiday Season with Games and Books!
This holiday season, buy gifts for activists that are not just thoughtful, but also support independent artists, makers, and movements. At the TESA Collective, a worker-owned cooperative and creators of Rise Up: The Game of People and Power and Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives, we’ve curated a collection of games and books for our store that reflect progressive values and also are just plain awesome.
Board and Card Games
We’re big believers in the power of games for social change—there’s no better way to learn, imagine, and have conversations about issues that matter than through having fun together. So many games pit players against each other, but there are some great non-competitive games for adults and youth that bring people together in pursuit of a common goal. We’re big fans of video games, but there’s something great about sitting around a table with friends and family, gathering around a board game.
Rise Up is a radical game that nurtures collaboration within a movement and against the System. Get serious and prototype a campaign against an oil pipeline, or keep it light and create an imaginary campaign for dragon rights. For 2-5 players, ages 10 and up.
Co-opoly is designed for players to learn and practice skills needed to run a cooperative. In fact, did you know that the game Monopoly is based on a game created to teach the dangers of wealth and property consolidation? In our game, players are on the same team and work together to start a cooperative business or organization and compete against the Point Bank. For 3-6 players, ages 10 and up
If you can’t decide, you can save money and upgrade your board game collection by buying a bundle – the Play for Change Games Bundle and Social Justice for the Whole Family Bundle are the best options. Whether you choose one or both, Co-opoly and Rise Up are ethically produced – colorfully printed completely by other worker co-ops, entirely in the USA, and on recycled and sustainable materials.
Loud & Proud is our fast-paced social justice word association game! The gameplay is easy and quick. Players sit in a circle and flip over cards, if the symbol on your card matches another player’s, you face-off, and race to answer each others’ card prompt first. Your card might say “Civil Rights Leader,” and their card might say “Renewable Energy”—the first player to correctly answer the other player’s prompt (“Malcolm X!”) wins their card.
Freedom: The Underground Railroad is an engaging cooperative game for one to four players about a pivotal time in people’s history and movements. Players assume the roles of important historical characters attempting to help slaves escape from southern states to freedom in Canada while overcoming those determined to rob them of their freedom. TESA is a distributor of Freedom.
Civio: A Civil Rights Game is a strategy card game that makes a useful review tool for landmark Supreme Court decisions. Each player starts as an intern at a law firm specializing in civil rights. Using a handful of cards representing laws, Supreme Court decisions, constitutional amendments, key issues, rights and freedoms, players race to combine these cards into precedents. TESA is a distributor of Civio.
A is For Activist is an ABC board book written and illustrated for the next generation of progressives: families who want their kids to grow up in a space that is unapologetic about activism, environmental justice, civil rights, LGBTQ rights, and everything else that activists believe in and fight for. Written and illustrated by Innosanto Nagara, who we collaborated with to illustrate our game Rise Up.
Counting on Community is Innosanto Nagara’s follow-up to A is For Activist. Counting up from one stuffed piñata to ten hefty hens–and always counting on each other–children are encouraged to recognize the value of their community, the joys inherent in healthy eco-friendly activities, and the agency they posses to make change. A broad and inspiring vision of diversity is told through stories in words and pictures. And of course, there is a duck to find on every page!
From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation by activist and scholar Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor surveys the historical and contemporary ravages of racism and persistence of structural inequality such as mass incarceration and Black unemployment. In this context, she argues that this new struggle against police violence holds the potential to reignite a broader push for Black liberation. A short book that packs a lot of punch.
For All the People: Uncovering the Hidden History of Cooperation, Cooperative Movements, and Communalism in America does a deep dive into the history that has yielded the cooperative economy movement of today. Author John Curl examines each of the definitive American cooperative movements for social change—farmer, union, consumer, and communalist—that have been all but erased from collective memory. Focusing far beyond one particular era, organization, leader, or form of cooperation, the expansive analysis documents the multigenerational struggle of the American working people for social justice.
For more book ideas on diverse reads for kids, check out Social Justice Books, and check out Book Riot’s Building a Resistance Kit, One Book at a Time for some great suggestions for adults (many from small publishers).