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‘No Innocent Bystanders’ provides guide for social justice work

New book explores the roles of advocates and allies

Westminster John Knox Release

LOUISVILLE — Can the people who benefit from unjust social systems actively work for justice with those who are oppressed by those systems? No Innocent Bystanders: Becoming an Ally in the Struggle for Justice (Westminster John Knox Press) by Shannon Craigo-Snell and Christopher Doucot is a start-up guide for spiritual or religious people who are interested in working for social justice but don’t know how or where to begin. Drawing on history, the framework of Christian ideas, and the insights of contemporary activists, it offers practical guidance on how to meaningfully and mindfully advocate alongside all who struggle for a more just society.

In some struggles, such as the movement for LGBTQ rights in the United States, allies have played a vital and welcomed role. In other contexts, such as the ongoing struggle against white supremacy and racism, allies have played a more ambiguous, complicated, and sometimes unwelcomed role. Craigo-Snell and Doucot explain what allies legitimately can accomplish, what they can’t, and what kind of humility and clarity is required to tell the difference.

For many Americans who are unsure where to begin and afraid of offending, No Innocent Bystanders provides a clear and accessible introduction to systemic injustice. By framing the call to justice and the approach to justice in light of Christian theology, it offers concrete guidelines for how to get involved.

No Innocent Bystanders is now available for purchase through Westminster John Knox Press and other major retailers.


Shannon Craigo-Snell is Professor of Theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

 Christopher J. Doucot is co-founder of the Hartford Catholic Worker community in Hartford, Connecticut.

Creative_Commons-BYNCNDYou may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.

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