The Wake Up Discussion Questions

Sarah Hinson

About the Book: The Wake Up

Many of us want to get involved in important social justice conversations, but aren’t sure where to begin, or may even end up causing unintentional harm as we fumble and make mistakes. Sometimes our hasty actions can lead to “performative allyship” that leaves those who are already marginalized feeling exhausted and further burdened. So how could we be a part of the movement in a more thoughtful, grounded way?

In The Wake Up, Michelle MiJung Kim deep dives into the nuanced work of pursuing equity and justice with a masterful balance of compassion and criticality. Through a mix of in-the-trenches narrative and accessible unpacking of hot button issues like inclusive language, representation, and “cancel culture,” The Wake Up is packed with actionable strategies and timeless frameworks that will guide us to transform ourselves in order to transform the world. The Wake Up will push you to the edge of your comfort zones (and beyond) in thoughtful, powerful, and necessary ways.

On BookClub, Michelle joins author, entrepreneur, and BookClub host Arlan Hamilton for a discussion on the topics covered by her book, the importance of healing racial trauma, and why joy and community are such an important part of the work. Their discussion asks what readers are willing to give up for equity and justice, and pushes readers to consider how they might become better allies.

Discussion Questions

  1. After reading The Wake Up, what has made your list of action items? What tools has the book given you to help address them?
  2. Are there instances where you can recall causing harm despite the best of intentions? What are some ways to mitigate this harm and turn our good intentions into tangible actions?
  3. Why do you engage in social justice work (or why do you want to)? And how can you move beyond a productivity obsessed culture to figure out your specific goals?
  4. What is needed mentally and emotionally to uncover hidden stories? How do we come to terms with the discomfort this may bring?
  5. Discuss the ways white supremacy manifests around you and the impact it has on marginalized communities.
  6. What is your personal take on “cancel culture”?
  7. Take a moment to think about how representation in Hollywood has affected your perceptions. Why is it important to strive for authentic representation at all levels?
  8. Why is it necessary for us to get comfortable with being called out?
  9. Why is “radical honesty” important in social justice work? How do we respond to transparency when it does not prioritize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?
  10. Discuss the ways we can indulge in practical self-care. How can we practice it without forgetting the heavy prices marginalized people have paid throughout history?

About the Author: Michelle MiJung Kim

Michelle MiJung Kim (she/her) is a queer immigrant Korean American woman writer, speaker, activist, and entrepreneur. She is the author of The Wake Up (Hachette, Fall 2021). She is CEO and co-founder of Awaken, a leading provider of interactive equity and inclusion education programs facilitated by majority BIPOC educators, where she has consulted hundreds of organizations and top executives from Fortune 500, tech giants, nonprofits, and government agencies to spark meaningful change.

Michelle has been a lifelong social justice activist and has served on a variety of organizations such as the San Francisco LGBTQ Speakers Bureau, San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s Advisory Committee, LYRIC nonprofit’s Board of Directors, and Build Tech We Trust Coalition. Michelle currently serves on the board of Asian Americans for Civil Rights and Equality (AACRE). Her work has appeared on world-renowned platforms such as Harvard Business Review, Forbes, The New York Times, and NPR, and she has been named Medium’s Top Writer in Diversity three years in a row. She lives in Oakland, California.

Watch her answer the above questions in our exclusive author Q&A.

About the author

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