Sheridan native publishes first book on activism
ROCHESTER — For Sheridan native KaeLyn Rich, the release of her first book in Rochester recently was a surreal experience as she was joined not only by friends and family, but also the population she’s looking to assist and inspire.
Over 150 people were in attendance Aug. 11 at the Avenue Black Box Theater to celebrate and get a copy of her book, “Girls Resist!: A Guide to Activism, Leadership and Starting a Revolution.” Proceeds from her book launch allowed Rich to donate 70 books to teenage girls.
A 2001 Fredonia High School graduate, Rich says her book is for those who are mad about the world, who are seeing things that are unfair and want to take action. Rich says the book’s a tactical guide on activism and building lasting change at home, at school or in a community — or perhaps one’s ultimate goal to change the world.
Rich shares a wealth of expertise that inspires as much as it teaches. The book includes quotes and tips from fellow teen girl activists to show how they stood up for change in their communities.
“My goals is to get ‘Girls Resist!’ into the hands of youth who are ready to lead the next movement of activism,” Rich said. “In particular, I want to make it available to young people who might not have access to information and ideas like this in their school or home. There’s really some basics of how to do activism and organizing that’s geared toward an audience.”
Rich is a staff writer for the popular queer women’s website autostraddle.com. She said her publisher, Quirk Brooks, had an idea for a team activism handbook and was searching for someone to write it.
“He liked my style and reached out to me. It was kind of like a cold email. We started working on the proposal together,” Rich said. “It comes a little bit out of my professional and personal background. The moment kind of came together kind of organically after that 2016 election.”
In addition to being a staff writer, Rich is the assistant advocacy director of the ALCU of New York. She’s also a feminist organizer, nonprofit leader and sexuality educator. She was the former community affairs coordinator for Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York.
She attended SUNY Oswego where she received her undergraduate degree in womens studies and creative writing. Rich lives in Rochester with her spouse and their new baby.
Rich says her book can be found at major book retailers, including Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
Rich says she enjoyed the venue where her book release was held. Avenue Blackbox Theater provides year-round free theater for kids, music and drama workshops theatre tech training and more. Reenah Golden, founder and artistic director of the Avenue Blackbox Theatre, said she was honored to host the first of many “Girls Resist” inspired days at the theatre.
“I was delighted with the ways in which young people were engaged through literature and art,” Golden said. “They witnessed art as activism on stage and through conversing with ‘artivists’ ranging from black woman professors to writers and organizers and lifestyle brand creators.”