Social Change Now: A Guide for Reflection and Connection by Deepa Iyer

Thick Press


Softcover / 8.5 x 6.5 inches / 172 pp

ISBN 978-1-7320666-3-2


To engage in social change at this moment in time requires consistent attention, deep reflection, and committed collective action.

We are living in a period of overlapping social, economic, and environmental crises, accompanied by failures in public systems and institutions. It’s not surprising, then, that when we attempt to engage in social change efforts, many of us feel like we are on a seesaw, swinging from outrage to overwhelm. For those who are just beginning their social change journeys to those who are weary and disillusioned, how can we effectively anchor our commitments to equity, solidarity, and justice?

This is the entry point for Social Change Now: A Guide for Reflection and Connection, Deepa Iyer’s heartfelt offering to individuals and groups seeking to initiate or deepen their actions in service to social change values. Relying on two decades of work supporting social movements, Iyer introduces a new approach called the social change ecosystem framework, which includes a map of ten roles, from visionary to storyteller to disrupter to experimenter, as well as practices to identify values and strengthen our social change ecosystems. Over the past three years, people and organizations around the world have used the framework to respond to the pandemic, express solidarity during the uprisings against anti-Black racism, and support multiracial coalitions struggling for reproductive rights, immigrant and refugee protections, and climate justice.

Social Change Now goes well beyond presenting ideas and frameworks. It’s also a practical guide that contains detailed descriptions and real-world examples, reflection prompts (with room to write responses), and accessible tips that can immediately be put into action. Social Change Now is a resource that will accompany individuals and organizations not only in times of crisis, but throughout their lifelong social change journeys to build connected communities and equitable systems in our world.

Deepa Iyer is a weaver, frontline responder, storyteller, and guide. Through her work at the Building Movement Project, Deepa creates narratives, provides trainings, and facilitates networks around social change and solidarity practice. Her political and community homes include Asian American, South Asian, Muslim, and Arab spaces, where she spent fifteen years responding to the backlash of the September 11th attacks. Deepa served as executive director of South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) for a decade and has also held positions at Race Forward, the US Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division, the Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center, and the Asian American Justice Center. Her first book, We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim, and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future (The New Press, 2015), received a 2016 American Book Award. In 2019, Deepa received an honorary doctoral degree from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. An immigrant who moved to Kentucky from Kerala (India) when she was twelve, Deepa graduated from the University of Notre Dame Law School and Vanderbilt University.