Grateful to the amazing women who shared their stories, analysis, hopes and dreams in this oral history collection. From the frontlines of social justice struggles, each chapter offers nuance and fills in gaps in movement history.


Nine women who have dedicated their lives to the struggle for social justice–movement leaders, organizers, and cultural workers–tell their life stories in their own words. Sharing both vulnerable and affirming moments, they talk about the origins of their political awakenings, their struggles and aspirations, insights and victories, and what it is that keeps them going in the fight for a better world, filled with justice, hope, love and joy.

Featuring, from top left to right: Betty Yu, Vanessa Nosie, Roz Pelles, Priscilla Gonzalez, Malkia Devich-Cyril, Terese Howard, Yomara Velez, Loretta Ross, Hilary Moore

Women Who Change the World: Stories from the Fight for Social Justice
I love this book cover, and the beautiful, powerful faces of each of these women!


“I love this book. I love that every chapter is the voice of an incredible woman at the forefront of social justice, sharing her story directly with me and in her own words. And I love that each woman gave me new ideas about everything from organizing and family life to how I think about grief. This is a necessary and radical book for our collective futures.”–Daisy Hernández, co-editor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism

Women Who Change the World is oral history at its finest. The stories will draw you in; the profound insights about self-care, collective action, trauma, and power will stay with you.”–Amy Starecheski, author of Ours to Lose: When Squatters Became Homeowners in New York City

“Lynn Lewis’s longtime organizing experience, political insight, and loving heart shine brightly through this collection of oral histories. She introduces nine changemakers from across the United States whose lives reflect the intersection of personal experiences with the legacies of history. Each woman describes her transformative journey to becoming an activist and community builder. These inspiring accounts offer urgently needed ideas, strategies, and actions that women pursue to create a more just society.”–Iris Morales, author of Revisiting Herstories: The Young Lords Party

“A bevy of brilliance and tactics to be learned and used by new and emerging generations of activists, Women Who Change the World is at once a gift of witness and a Social Justice master class for a world in need.”–Theodore Kerr, co-author of We Are Having This Conversation Now: The Times of AIDS Cultural Production

“Lynn Lewis’s book is a gift of cool clear water to a world parched of movement histories. If, as Dorothy Allison wrote, telling a story all the way through is an act of love, this collection is a great big hug for all those thirsting for inspiration. The women here are heroes, but as their oral histories reveal, heroes are all around us, made of regular and radical stuff. The voices here will stay with you: personal, political, persuasive.”–Laura Flanders, host of the Laura Flanders Show

“This rich oral history collection of nine women social justice activists is a must-read for our challenging times. The narratives of these working-class leaders speak to the passions, struggles, deep knowledge, and love that shape their practices of resistance and organizing for a just world.”–Tarry Hum, author of Making a Global Immigrant Neighborhood: Brooklyn’s Sunset Park

“Lynn Lewis has gifted us with a treasure of powerful narratives by nine brilliant, fierce, and caring women dedicated to social justice–some that I know, some I now know better, and some I want to know. Their individual and collective journeys leave me with radical hope that each of us can and will do what is necessary to keep changing the world.”–Lynn Roberts, co-editor of Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundation, Theory, Practice, Critique

“Women indeed ARE changing the world! This truth comes through loud and clear, gently and subtly, humbly and proudly in the oral histories that make up Women Who Change the World, edited by Lynn Lewis. You have got to read the narratives of the nine powerful, fierce women organizers included in this oral history! They tell stories of true social justice heroines whose lives and actions are transforming society from the bottom up.”–Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, pastor, organizer, author, Director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice and Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival

“Lynn Lewis knows that listening and asking questions can spark a revolution. These stories contain all the clues we need to build a better world.”–James Tracy, co-author of No Fascist USA! The John Brown Anti-Klan Committee and Lessons for Today’s Movements

“This powerful collection of oral histories provides firsthand accounts of how social change is won through movement organizing. The women at the heart of this book share inspiring life stories behind the barricades, picket lines, and protests. It is a narrative of global resistance.”–Benjamin Dangl, author of The Five Hundred Year Rebellion: Indigenous Movements and the Decolonization of History in Bolivia

“In Women Who Change the World, Lynn Lewis has worked in the grand oral history tradition of Studs Terkel and the Lomax Brothers, but with an explicitly feminist and intersectional lens. An outstanding collection harvested with great care, the women in this book remind us we are not alone in our struggles against empire–that we have contemporary sisters and ancestral mothers waiting to share plans for liberation. If ‘we must love and support each other, ‘ as the great Assata Shakur is quoted in the introduction, a great way to start doing so is by listening to the stories Lewis presents in this powerful book and taking them as a call to action.”–Steven W. Thrasher, author of The Viral Underclass and former editor at the NPR StoryCorps project

Earlier Publications

NOTE: To turn the pages of each publication, hover over the bottom left hand corner of the PDF and click!

Love and Collective Resistance: Lessons from the Picture the Homeless Oral History Project


Vol. 53 No. 108 (2020): Special Issue: “Activist Lives: Social Movements, Oral History, and Biography”

Redistributing Vacant Housing, with Jenny Akchin

On Redistributing Vacant Housing

A chapter in the Radical Housing Manifesto, as part of the Imagining De-Gentrified Futures Exhibit, curated by Betty Yu.