The Wake Up

Closing the Gap Between Good Intentions and Real Change


By Michelle MiJung Kim

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This informative guide helps allies who want to go beyond rigid Diversity and Inclusion best practices, with real tools to go from good intentions to making meaningful change in any situation or venue.


As we become more aware of various social injustices in the world, many of us want to be part of the movement toward positive change. But sometimes our best intentions cause unintended harm, and we fumble. We might feel afraid to say the wrong thing and feel guilt for not doing or knowing enough. Sometimes we might engage in performative allyship rather than thoughtful solidarity, leaving those already marginalized further burdened and exhausted. The feelings of fear, insecurity, inadequacy are all too common among a wide spectrum of changemakers, and they put many at a crossroads between feeling stuck and giving up, or staying grounded to keep going. So how can we go beyond performative allyship to creating real change in ourselves and in the world, together?
In The Wake Up, Michelle MiJung Kim shares foundational principles often missing in today’s mainstream conversations around “diversity and inclusion,” inviting readers to deep dive into the challenging and nuanced work of pursuing equity and justice, while exploring various complexities, contradictions, and conflicts inherent in our imperfect world. With a mix of in-the-trenches narrative and accessible unpacking of hot button issues—from inclusive language to representation to "cancel culture"—Michelle offers sustainable frameworks that guide us how to think, approach, and be in the journey as thoughtfully and powerfully as possible. 
The Wake Up is divided into four key parts:
  • Grounding: begin by moving beyond good intentions to interrogating our deeper “why” for committing to social justice and uncovering our "hidden stories."
  • Orienting: establish a shared understanding around our historical and current context and issues we are trying to solve, starting with dismantling white supremacy.
  • Showing Up: learn critical principles to approach any situation with clarity and build our capacity to work through complexity, nuance, conflict, and imperfections.
  • Moving Together: remember the core of this work is about human lives, and commit to prioritizing humanity, healing, and community.
The Wake Up is an urgent call for us to move together while seeing each other’s full and expansive humanity that is at the core of our movement toward justice, healing, and freedom.



A few years ago, I attended a training on convergent facilitation offered by Bay Area Nonviolent Communication. Despite my excitement, I was late. I could blame the ever-so-cautious Lyft driver, but really, I can only blame my social anxiety that desperately wanted to avoid casual networking before the session started. When I arrived, I found myself staring at a packed, quiet, and attentive room filled with fifty or so eager learners inside a church-turned-lecture-hall with fantastic acoustics. Why is it that when you want to be invisible, your presence becomes the loudest? All of a sudden, I was a scattered, clumsy Hulk destroying everything on my way to the last empty chair in the middle of the room, hitting people’s faces with my oversized bag, dropping my phone, making way too much noise, and hoping nobody could see me. Sorry. Oh, oops, gosh, are you OK? I’m so sorry. I tried to act nonchalant, but my face was already burning with red-hot shame from the stares of the annoyed on-timers.

Just when I thought I was in the clear with my butt in the chair, the facilitator, as any excellent facilitator would, decided to name the awkwardness we were all trying to bypass. “What should we do with latecomers?” she asked the group. I smiled unnaturally while cursing myself in my head. “Glare!” someone shouted out. Others chuckled, and I sank deeper into my chair. The facilitator smiled gently and asked, softly but with weight, “And what does that achieve?” The room fell silent, and the energy shifted. No one was laughing anymore. “Uh… make them feel bad for being late,” the person answered tentatively. “Right… what else can we do?” Other hands went up. Different, more compassionate answers started flowing in. “Pull them aside and catch them up on where we are.” “Share notes with them during the break.” I let out a silent sigh of relief and pulled out my notepad. The class had begun.

In 2017, I cofounded a diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) education company called Awaken out of frustration that so much of corporate diversity training is whitewashed and white-led, ahistorical yet outdated, and lacking ties to the broader movement toward social justice. As a team of majority queer people of color, we set out to deliver experiential DEI workshops more relevant to the times while creating compassionate space for critical dialogues with people across a wide spectrum of awareness and identities. To date, I’ve spent an estimated 2,500 hours on discovery calls with organizations across all industries—tech, media, nonprofit, government, education, health care—and countless more hours facilitating workshops and the conversations inside them. I’ve been face-to-face with thousands of people having what many call “uncomfortable conversations,” learning where and why people get stuck and identifying the most common missing links that hinder us from moving together.

At one workshop, a middle-aged white man entered the room and said, “Well, this is going to be a giant waste of my time!” Most of our workshop participants aren’t as honest or incensed as this man who wasn’t afraid to let everyone know his true feelings about the mandated diversity training as part of the company’s renewed commitment toward diversity. In fact, most people we meet tend to be outwardly eager and curious, indifferent (or checked out), or quietly skeptical: there are those who are keen to connect at a deeper level right away, sharing their raw emotions with an admirable level of vulnerability, while others quietly observe with a learned dose of cautiousness. Some express shock and exaggerated disgust at examples of overt forms of racism and sexism, while others share their lack of surprise given the sobering realities they’ve lived through. Some ask questions out of genuine curiosity, while others feel exhausted by the elementary level of awareness that has remained stagnant despite escalating violence. Some express hope and excitement for the future, while others roll their eyes in cynicism from the repeated pattern of broken promises and disappointment.

Over and over, I’ve watched diverse groups of people come together in search of solidarity only to find themselves on completely different pages. Many of us believe that denouncing the same evil puts us on the same team, but why doesn’t it feel like it? When we gather, despite our shared condemnation of various social injustices, the subtle yet pronounced ways we are misaligned become quickly evident. As we speak over and around one another using similar words but with drastically different definitions and contexts, our disparate beliefs and survival reactions are inches away from crashing into one another. Marginalized people’s anger, hurt, cynicism, and disappointment are palpable, as are feelings of fear, shame, confusion, and anxiety coming from well-intentioned people desperately wanting to catch up and be part of the solution. The temptation for people to throw their hands up and go about living their individual lives is substantial, not just for people with privileges to disengage but also for people who are exhausted by the continued cycles of harm and misalignment too. Our misalignment is costly, and our ability to connect with one another is in urgent need of inspection and serious repair.

So, if simply denouncing injustice is not enough to connect you and me, what holds us together?


The speed at which multiple cycles of trauma are being refreshed every day calls for me to dive deeper into the waters, below the loudly crashing waves of reactive motion, into the quiet and steady place of groundedness. In that space of internal calm, I’m reminded to recall the principles that have guided me through the toughest of times since I first became politicized at the age of eighteen. These grounding principles—ones I’ve learned, shared, and practiced in my own life and with thousands of people to catalyze meaningful change—are what I’ll unpack throughout this book. The language of social justice and the latest list of cultural faux pas will continue to evolve, but what I’m striving to share with you are the things that won’t change with the latest news cycle: the fundamentals of the work that will help you create your own list of action items no matter the context, anchor you to be critical in your understanding and approaching of any situation, and enable us to move together to create social change.

In the chapters to follow, we will explore how to think about pressing issues, from the ongoing grappling over inclusive language to the debate around diverse representation, with discernment and criticality. We will pressure-test our proclaimed commitment to this work by asking ourselves what we are willing or unwilling to give up. We will learn about the difference between “cancel culture” and accountability and how to apologize and recover from mistakes. We will deep-dive into learning about white supremacy and its unrelenting manifestations in our society and within ourselves. We will challenge ourselves to go beyond intellectualizing this work to actually doing the work, and to actively participate in the disruption of toxic cycles of oppression that are killing all of us. We will grow our capacity to hold multiple truths at the same time and to stay in complexity and nuance rather than demanding simplicity or quick, self-congratulatory fixes that we have been taught to crave. We’ll ditch the rigid “best practices” that only apply to a particular context with a preselected audience and replace them with frameworks and questions that can be applied to any situation. Finally, we will work to build resilient relationships to cultivate a community of values-aligned individuals with whom we can continue the work in solidarity, while allowing ourselves to experience joy, healing, and freedom along the way.

My ultimate goal is to make these foundational principles accessible and actionable for as many people as possible so that we can spend more time working toward our collective vision and less time trying to recover from the same cycles of misunderstanding and hurt that have us backtracking time after time.


As we march toward the ultimate vision of our collective liberation—a world where all of us, beginning with the most marginalized among us, can live free from oppression of all kinds and with uninhibited opportunities, respect, dignity, abundance, safety, and joy—we will experience many rude awakenings. They typically begin with our sudden realization of others’ suffering that we’ve been snoozing on, followed by our becoming aware of the choices we have to make, now consciously, to either alleviate or exacerbate it. In other words, we wake up first to the external world, which offers us an opportunity to wake up to who we are in relation to it.

I write to you from a place of shared learning, as everything I’ve written for you applies squarely to me too. Each time I wake up to a different reality that many have been living and fighting in without my awareness, I feel an overwhelming sense of guilt for being late to the battleground. And though my personal reckoning makes me want to scream to awaken others, sometimes I hesitate, afraid of saying the wrong thing. I desperately want to do something to make a change right now, but quickly realize the answer isn’t so simple. I am eager to learn and go deeper, but I don’t want to be an added burden. I fumble, and each time I cause unintended harm, it hurts.

I imagine that this feeling of vulnerability, fear, discomfort, and inadequacy is quite common among people trekking through the social justice journey—and especially among those in the midst of their own waking up, activated and provoked by different alarms. Many of us want to do the right thing so badly, and yet sometimes it feels like we cannot predict the outcome of our well-intended efforts. So, some of us bottle up all of our good intentions and hold on to them, waiting for someone else to tell us exactly what to do, while others mistakenly end up burdening those already carrying more than their fair share in our rush to help. In these messy, uncomfortable struggles, however, we can awaken our capacity to do the deep work of transforming ourselves in order to change the world alongside others. And we learn that though mistakes and contradictions are inevitable, we also have the capacity to practice accountability and sharpen our discernment. As most of us already know, the work of living in alignment with our values rooted in equity and justice is an ongoing journey without a destination, and one that cannot be reduced to a checklist.

One of my favorite movement facilitators and thinkers of our time, adrienne maree brown, quotes Maurice Moe Mitchell in We Will Not Cancel Us, who said, “We have to have a low bar for entry and a high standard for conduct.”1 While everyone’s bar will look different, my prerequisite for anyone wishing to be a part of the journey is their earnest desire to change themselves with honesty and accountability. If you’ve been outraged by the cruel reality of inequity and oppression but haven’t quite figured out a way to turn your rage into action; if you are earnestly looking for answers as to why we sometimes don’t seem to be on the same page despite our proclaimed shared values; if you are no longer satisfied with the empty promises of surface-level diversity programs; if you are frustrated by the ever-ubiquitous yet changing lists of “things you can or cannot say” that leave you feeling unsettled and more confused; if you are feeling overwhelmed while trying to process your own life, now freshly contextualized through your growing consciousness; and if you find yourself wanting to say, “I know I’m late. But I’m here now and ready to get caught up,” not from a place of entitlement but from a place of genuine desire to connect without causing unintended harm, then, my friend, this book is for you.

While I believe this book will be beneficial to many on this same path, it’s important for me to clarify that I did not write this book specifically for a white audience. Throughout my life, I’ve seen how centering whiteness can have damaging outcomes that replicate patterns of violence: diluted words, ahistorical analysis, co-opted movements, prioritization of comfort over truth telling, hyperintellectualization of human trauma—all in the name of pragmatism and meeting white people where they are, which ensures that we all remain in the status quo. Instead, I’ve committed myself to writing outside the white gaze, so that the words and lessons I share with you will have the sustainability and effectiveness we need to disrupt.

At the core of this book is the belief that we cannot transform the world without transforming ourselves and our relationships to one another first. So many visionary thinkers and leaders have repeated this mantra—among them, Audre Lorde, Grace Lee Boggs, Ericka Huggins, Mariame Kaba, Mia Mingus, and adrienne maree brown—and you’ll see repeated validation of this truth from the universe of stories I share here. The poison of oppression doesn’t just live in the systems; it lives within each of us and in the way we interact with one another and inside our spheres of influence, be it our workplace, school, family, or neighborhood. We must recognize our complicity in harmful systems as much as we see ourselves as part of the solution. Only from this place of honesty can we truly commit to living our lives in alignment with our proclaimed values.

Our waking up to others’ suffering isn’t enough; change requires that we wake up to ourselves—our complicity, our power, and our capacity to transform ourselves and the world around us.

Change means growth, and growth can be painful. But we sharpen self-definition by exposing the self in work and struggle together with those whom we define as different from ourselves, although sharing the same goals.

—Audre Lorde2


I am a queer, Korean American, immigrant, abled, cisgender woman with class and education privilege. I grew up in Korea and moved to the United States when I was a teenager, where I grew up low income and became politicized as a queer youth activist. After college, I began my career in the corporate world with deep shame and guilt, believing it was the only way to make enough money to support my family and bring my mom to the United States from Korea. Over the years, I’ve had the honor of serving on and working with many incredible community organizations, from San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s LGBT Advisory Committee to local nonprofit boards working on critical issues led by marginalized communities.

My entire life, I’ve straddled starkly different spaces, people, and cultures, whether as the bridge between my Korean immigrant parents and the English-speaking world or as an Asian person in America living in a hyphenated space sandwiched between neither-Black-nor-white. As a bisexual, queer woman, I’ve been told I’m not gay enough in queer spaces and not woman enough in straight spaces. As a grassroots youth activist turned management consultant, I’ve been called too radical in corporate spaces and pegged as a sellout in organizing spaces. I’ve been inside fancy boardrooms overlooking the New York skyline with some of the wealthiest people in this country, and I have stood face-to-face with riot cops ready to baton me down, my eyes watery from rage and air polluted with tear gas and pepper spray. What I have come to know is that the distance between these paradoxical spaces is always ocean wide and yet paper thin, and similar dynamics repeat inside them, albeit through different expressions. And though I often yearned to be embraced by and to fit into one home ground, it is in the in-between spaces that I am able to connect the dots, with my mixed-and-matched lessons serving as a bridge to possibilities rooted in compassion. My work over the last few years as an independent consultant has been focused on creating connection without distortion and understanding without dilution. My purpose has been to accelerate the mobilization of people earnestly wanting to join the movement and to share the lift of education and foundation building required for sustainable change.

For as long as I can remember, I have been living in a perpetually escalated state of being, experiencing extreme switches of emotions, ranging from shock to despair, numbness to rage in any given day or hour based on the latest crisis against humanity. One unmistakable feature of systemic oppression is the cumulative anguish and exhaustion endured by marginalized people as a result of the persistent and rapid onslaught of violence in society. This can’t be sustainable, I often think to myself, and yet, in some twisted way, it signals that I am alive, alive and human enough to feel and care. Remarking at the unrelenting nature of this work, people often ask, “What motivates you to keep going?” My answer is simple, though crude. I do this work, and continue doing this work, because people are dying. People I love are dying. Our young and elderly people are dying. Too many Black and brown people; Indigenous people; Asian and Latinei people; women and femmes; queer, trans, and nonbinary people; poor people, disabled people, and many living at multiple intersections of marginalized identities are dead or are in the process of dying because our systems and cultures were built to dehumanize, violate, exploit, and ignore those who do not conform to the norms of white supremacy. I don’t know if there is any other reason more compelling or urgent than not wanting to see people we love die. And I also know the forces that are killing the most marginalized among us are omnipresent in my life, their weight crushing me in subtle and overt ways. Against this backdrop there is undeniable desperation in my work, and knowing all of us are needed, I yearn for deep solidarity beyond the pretense of performative unity.

I didn’t always believe that such solidarity was possible to achieve, not with privileged white people or with anyone I saw as being “colluders” in systems of oppression. At my first job out of college, a senior manager thought LGBT stood for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Together. The same person, a cis straight white woman, once asked me, the only person of color on the team, to fish out a document from her trash can. When I formed a women’s employee group at a men-dominated tech company, I was told by a C-level executive, a straight white man, to not bring politics into the workplace. “Don’t create problems that we don’t have,” he said as we walked past a large glass boardroom filled with only men. I was once told by a woman of color executive that I should put my hair down more often, smile more, and wear heels. I was sexually harassed during my first week at a new company, and the pattern has continued at every workplace I’ve been a part of except my own.

As my rainbow bubble ripped, I became jaded. I found myself asking, “What’s the point?” It got increasingly difficult for me to believe that a better, more just world was possible. I started losing my appetite for change, consumed by my growing disappointment toward the people and systems that were causing harm. And I thought that in order for me to stay critical, angry, and less complicit, I couldn’t offer compassion, not to myself or others, because it felt like an excuse or a betrayal to the movement.

Years later, I realized that my cynicism about people’s intentions and their ability to transform had made me a terrible agent for change. I realized that we can, and must, be critical, angry, and compassionate all at the same time to keep ourselves from getting stuck and to allow ourselves to hope, heal, and forgive—not just for others but for ourselves too. Today, I believe striking the right balance between compassion and criticality is imperative to creating sustainable change while inviting more people to be part of this important movement, and I’ve tried my best to model this in this book.


As Audre Lorde, a self-described “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” and my greatest influence, said, “There are no new ideas, just new ways of giving those ideas we cherish breath and power in our own living.”3 None of the concepts that I share in this book are new: they are lessons I’ve learned and practiced over the years from and with mentors and visionaries who have dedicated their lives to this work. What I offer instead is my synthesis, interpretation, and practical application of these principles based on my lived experiences. I invite you into my personal journey of living them out, with both triumphs and shortcomings. While I cannot promise perfection, I have written with honesty.

I remind myself often of the countless teachers who have shaped my beliefs, approach, language, and experience, both consciously and subconsciously. My most profound lessons have come from those who have taught and lived in the world of grassroots organizing, philosophy, and poetry, and I’m excited to share what I’ve learned from them. To start with, I learned about my fear and fearlessness, queerness, and the power of language and discernment through the fiery words of Audre Lorde, whose book Sister Outsider shook my world upside down and rebuilt it when I was in high school. I learned about the importance of self-transformation and interracial coalition building from Grace Lee Boggs, whose legacy of visionary organizing I hold close to my heart as it reminds me of my dignified place in the solidarity movement as an Asian American woman. I am eternally grateful for the work of those who came before me, as well as those who are leading the continuously evolving journey of social justice, in particular queer and trans Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) movement leaders from whom I continue to learn today. I have tried my best to trace my knowledge back to its sources and credit my teachers throughout the book—a small yet critical act of preserving legacy, especially important for historically marginalized and erased people.

I write this book with extreme care to do justice to the teachings of these great minds, and also because I know what a privilege it is to be able to historicize my own stories, when stories of so many marginalized people are too often told by those who did not live them. Writing this book is my act of reclaiming, healing, and honoring not only my life but also my ancestral lineage and its intergenerational trauma and wisdom passed down without adequate institutional memory. Thank you for bearing witness, and for choosing to journey alongside me.


In this precarious time, I write to you with audacious hope in my heart. While I am no stranger to the deeply challenging nature of this work, I have also seen so much goodness in it. I do this work because I have witnessed how transformative it can be for individuals, organizations, and our society and how a courageous act by one individual can quickly snowball into revolutionary change when we work in principled solidarity. I do this work because on the other side of this arduous, emotional, breathtaking labor is abundance, joy, and humanity that can withstand the opposing force. I do this work because I believe in us. And I believe we are capable of learning and growing beyond our wildest knowing if we allow ourselves to truly commit to the principles of the work.

I invite us to turn inward and get our foundations right before we rush outward, not because we have to be perfect but out of deep respect for those who have been on the front lines before us, and because we each deserve to tap into our expansive humanity, live it to its fullest extent, and use it to uphold others’.

There is space for all of us here. You are needed in this work. So welcome, dear reader. Let’s find your seat and let me share my notes with you.

To make a revolution, people must not only struggle against existing institutions. They must make a philosophical/spiritual leap and become more “human” human beings. In order to change/transform the world, they must change/transform themselves.

—Grace Lee Boggs4

Note on content warnings: To create a safer and more choiceful reading experience, I’ve provided content notes for sections containing detailed descriptions of topics that may be particularly distressing. Given the subject of this book, I did not provide content notes for when these topics are mentioned as part of a statistic or without a graphic description. Despite my best efforts, I realize I may have fallen short as my decisions are undoubtedly influenced by my own biases and experiences. Nonetheless, I hope to make clear that an absence of a warning note does not invalidate your own needs and their importance. While I’m unable to anticipate every reader’s needs, I hope that some of these notes will help you to experience the book on your own terms.


i I’ve gone back and forth between the terms Latinx and Latine and have decided to use Latine after studying the requests of a number of trans and nonbinary Latine people who acknowledge the importance of using a gender-neutral term (versus Latino or Latina) while also using a word that is more pronounceable and conjugation friendly for Spanish and Portuguese speakers.






In 2017, I began a private Google doc entitled “Shit I’ve Heard” for my own diversion. It’s a bulleted list of, well, interesting things I’ve heard while working as an external DEI consultant and facilitator. Some still make me cackle (or want to take a nap), while others remind me of the urgent need for this work. Here are some that made the list:

• “I’m not white; I’m more, like, pink.”

• “Privilege? Shouldn’t people talk about that in therapy and not at work?”

• “We need to do something with white men first so they don’t feel excluded.”

• “Our current team? We have a diverse male.”

• “Talking about microaggressions makes me macroaggressive.”

• “Can we do an all-day workshop on all things diversity so we can learn everything there is to know about it? We want to be able to say we’re diversity experts by the end of the day.”


  • “Michelle MiJung Kim writes with boundless courage and compassion on what it takes for us to build a better world. A world that practices intersectional liberation through intergenerational healing. Social justice advocates of all backgrounds and experiences will find wisdom, insight, and affirmation in the pages of this book. It is clear, full of care, and brimming with humanity, which is what this work is all about. A must have on any book list about changing the world. The Wake Up is the perfect book for fans of Me and White Supremacy! " —Layla F. Saad, New York Times Bestselling Author of Me and White Supremacy
  • “A useful meditation on navigating the often-turbulent energies that flow through our moral compasses, our human hearts, our equally human organizations, and the urgent demands of social justice.”—Resmaa Menakem, author of My Grandmother's Hands
  • The Wake Up is a must read for every educator wondering how to lead actionable change. It transforms you as you transform your institutions.” —Dania Matos, Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion at University of California, Berkeley
  • “For those doing the work of centering inclusion and belonging, The Wake Up will strike an immediate chord. Michelle MiJung Kim is a guiding light and promising voice for strategic change.” —Sheryl Evans Davis, EdD, Executive Director, San Francisco Human Rights Commission
  • “There are two things well-intentioned people need to become the sort of thoughtful, informed advocate that others doing social movement work look forward to collaborating with. The first is experience. The second is this book. Michelle MiJung Kim’s The Wake Up is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to find or reconnect with their ‘why,’ center their intentions with their actions, and show up effectively to make change.”—Lily Zheng, DEI strategist and consultant, & author of DEI Deconstructed
  • "The Wake Up is a powerful book that provides practical tips about showing up as our better selves in the fight for justice and equity. Kim's writing embodies years of experience in handling difficult conversations about white supremacy culture, as she exposes truths in a way that activates those with privilege and power to be a part of the solution."—Portland Book Review
  • “Challenging, empowering, and purposeful, The Wake Up makes the foundational principles of allyship, equity, and justice accessible to all readers willing to do the work. Michelle MiJung Kim is one of the strongest voices advocating for equity and justice for organizations and individuals." —Aiko Bethea, founder of RARE Coaching & Consulting
  • "The Wake Up by Michelle MiJung Kim should really be required reading for all who want to make lasting change—beyond having good intentions." —Ruchika Tulshyan, author of Inclusion on Purpose
  • "An absolute gift."—BookRiot
  • “Kim shares valuable ways to elevate our practice in the work of creating equitable, just spaces around us—at work, interpersonally, and within ourselves. In The Wake Up, she deeply and humbly reflects on her own journey and how we can break cycles that perpetuate harm and use our means to build a just, inclusive community."—Candice M. Morgan, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Partner, GV
  •  “Michelle is a practitioner that truly walks the walk. The Wake Up is a vulnerable exploration of activism, as raw and reflective as she is. I recommend for anyone ready to be pushed from just talking towards responsible action.”—Y-Vonne Hutchinson, CEO of ReadySet
  • “Our journey to creating connection and belonging has been inextricably linked to Michelle Kim's work with our teams. In The Wake Up, Michelle welcomes our imperfection and invites us on a journey to be become our better more awake selves.”—Melissa Thomas-Hunt, former Global Head of Diversity and Belonging, Airbnb; John Forbes Distinguished Professor of Business Administration, Darden School of Business, University of Virginia
  • “Michelle embodies and practices the entire spectrum of solidarity work and continues to invite and challenges others to join her in deepening our collective work. Michelle’s approach to the work of liberation is wrathfully compassionate and truly calls us to find our place in this movement.”—Kalaya'an Mendoza [He/Him/Siya], Director of U.S. Programs at Nonviolent Peaceforce
  • "Move from surface-level Diversity and Inclusion to meaningful change."—Forbes
  • "Offers sustainable frameworks that guide how to think, approach, and be in the journey as thoughtfully and powerfully as possible."—BookPal

On Sale
Sep 28, 2021
Page Count
256 pages
Hachette Go

Michelle MiJung Kim

About the Author

Michelle MiJung Kim (she/her) is a queer immigrant Korean American woman writer, speaker, activist, and entrepreneur. She is CEO and co-founder of Awaken, a leading provider of interactive equity and inclusion education programs facilitated by majority people of color educators, where she has consulted hundreds of organizations and top executives across various industries, from technology to nonprofits to government agencies to universities. As a lifelong social justice advocate, Michelle 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 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. Michelle lives in Oakland, California.

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