Taking Action

Edited by Adam Davis. The Great Books Foundation, 2012.

Taking Action inspires a wide range of service professionals to take a step back from their daily work, and think and talk to one another about their values, aspirations, and challenges. Fifty-five short readings and six visual images provide thought-provoking discussion material for educators, social workers, community organizers, law enforcement personnel, medical professionals, and others who work to make the world a better place.

The anthology contains texts and images that address the following six topics:

  • Need and Care
  • Teaching and Learning
  • Difference and Connection
  • Serving and Protecting
  • Action and Outcomes
  • Here and Now

In addition to 55 texts and 6 images, Taking Action provides discussion questions and opening activities for each selection, and tips for conducting reflective discussions.

Buy Taking Action here today!

Table of Contents

Need and Care

Photograph for discussion
Okay, Lowell Jaeger
Let’s Beat Up the Poor!, Charles Baudelaire
The Glass of Milk, Manuel Rojas
The Shopping-Bag Lady, Linda Gregg
Poverty Medicine, David Hilfiker
The Bath, Laura Gilpin
Admission, Children’s Unit, Theodore Deppe
please, thank you, Dagoberto Gilb
Giving, Anne Lamott

Difference and Connection

Photograph for discussion
The Same Inside, Anna Swir
A Wasp Woman Visits a Black Junkie in Prison, Etheridge Knight
Bilingual/Bilingüe, Rhina Espaillat
Nikki-Rosa, Nikki Giovanni
Say Yes, Tobias Wolff
How to Watch Your Brother Die, Michael Lassell
Gate A-4, Naomi Shihab Nye
You Will Forget, Chenjerai Hove
Death of a Doorman, Catherine Tufariello
Told in the Drooling Ward, Jack London

Teaching and Learning

Photograph for discussion
Learning the Trees, Howard Nemerov
The Boy Who Was Sacrificed, Pawnee folktale as told by George Bird Grinnell
What I Learned from My Mother, Julia Kasdorf
Hands, Sherwood Anderson
On Children, Kahlil Gibran
Islands of Decency, Myles Horton
Significant Other, Rhina Espaillat
What These Children Are Like, Ralph Ellison
Doctor Jack-o’-Lantern, Richard Yates
The Gift, Li-Young Lee

Serving and Protecting

Photograph for discussion
The Veteran, Stephen Crane
Letter to the Local Police, June Jordan
Summer Solstice, New York City, Sharon Olds
Wewiibitaan, Jim Northrup
Memorial Day, Gregory Orr
Facing It, Yusef Komunyakaa
On Some Streets, Sarah Cortez
What Every Soldier Should Know, Brian Turner
Singapore, Mary Oliver

Action and Outcomes

Photograph for discussion
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (excerpt), Thomas Merton
A Journey, Edward Field
In Search of a Majority, James Baldwin
My Optimism, Shao Yanxiang
Sunrise, Mary Oliver
It Is Dangerous to Read Newspapers, Margaret Atwood
Decisions, Boris A. Novak
Imagine the Angels of Bread, Martín Espada
What I Didn’t Know Then, Kelli Covey

Here and Now

Photograph for discussion
The City, Constantine Cavafy
I’m Explaining a Few Things, Pablo Neruda
kitchenette building, Gwendolyn Brooks
What Kind of Times Are These, Adrienne Rich
Don’t Think, Ahmad Faraz
Trying to Name What Doesn’t Change, Naomi Shihab Nye
America, Tony Hoagland
Try to Praise the Mutilated World, Adam Zagajewski