In a time of profound heartache, a collection of articles, books, and readings on the state of the world.

book recommendations

There is no doubt that we are living in a time of profound heartache. Our world is suffering so deeply, the amount of harm is incalculable. Our commitment to humanity is the driving force behind our efforts to protect our planet and preserve our democracy.

As we watch what is unfolding in Gaza, Israel, in the West Bank, in Sudan, Ukraine, Armenia and the Congo, in Pakistan, Tigray, Ethiopia and elsewhere––we are reminded of the way human beings are capable of so much harm amid so much life. We join the United Nations, Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International and so many more in asking for a ceasefire in Gaza.

As I sit in the relative comfort of my home, I’m asking myself ‘what are the depths and limits of my humanity?, should not all suffering be an offense to my conscience?’ Indeed it is offensive to my conscience, to my heart that works and to my firmly held belief that a better world is possible for all of us.

This time is harsh and painful, and so it demands of us to activate our better angels; to educate ourselves on the ways in which we are complicit in harm; and the ways we can do and be better. I’m comforted by how many Third Actors have reached out on behalf of humanity. What a gift to generations to come. In the words of our very own advisor Rebecca Solnit, “Hope is a gift you don’t have to surrender, a power you don’t have to throw away.”

If you, like many others, feel daunted by the enormity of what’s happening, one place to start is by educating ourselves. Knowledge breeds empathy, it’s difficult to remain apathetic when we know one another. Knowledge, like action, is an antidote to despair. Below you’ll find a series of articles, books, and readings to help you be better informed on the state of the world. This knowledge will crack open your heart, but in the words of the great poet Rumi ‘The wound is where the light enters you.’

I said: what about my eyes?
He said: Keep them on the road.

I said: What about my passion?
He said: Keep it burning.

I said: What about my heart?
He said: Tell me what you hold inside it?

I said: Pain and sorrow.
He said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.






Kafia Ahmed, on behalf of Third Act

Kafia Ahmed (she/her) is the CEO of Third Act. She’s been organizing for nearly 20 years in marginalized communities on issues ranging from housing, carceral abolition, racial justice, and immigration. In between years organizing stateside – Kafia worked in international development, working alongside pastoralist communities in East Africa affected by climate change and survivors of gender based violence. Her passion and pride for her Somali culture and family are part of her driving force for creating a better world – when she isn’t organizing she’s a voracious reader, an avid baker and a lover of chasing waterfalls.