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Further Learning

To complement the first-person learning of peoples' lived experiences, these resources can help you explore various aspects of the system, from macro and micro perspectives. While it is not exhaustive, this list is here to help you begin further exploration and learning about various aspects of the issue.


5 Habits of the Heart That Help Make Democracy Possible

Healing the Heart of Democracy: The Courage to Create a Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit, book by Parker Palmer  - also available through W&M Libraries.

You're More Powerful Than You Think: A Citizens' Guide to Making Change Happen by Eric Liu

Democracy - Our World in Data and Global State of Democracy reports

Listen to a democracy-themed podcast such as Democracy Works (NPR), Politics is Everything (Center for Politics at UVa), or The Land that Never Has Been Yet (Scene On Radio). Many more are available through The Democracy Group, a network of podcasts united around the goal of helping listeners understand what’s broken in our democracy, and how people are working together to fix it.

The Virginia Center for Investigative Journalism

The nonprofit Virginia Public Access Project elevates public understanding of politics and government by organizing and presenting information in ways that are easily accessible and free of partisan bias

Climate Change & Water

What Climate Change Means for Virginia

Virginia Climate Threat - Inland Flooding

Community Climate Outlooks

Our Climate Our Health

At a Crossroads - Coastal Virginia and Flooding

Flooding Farmland: Eastern Virginia Farmers Navigate Sea Level Rise

RVA Green Glossary

The Repair: A Podcast Series on the Climate Crisis from Scene on Radio, Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University

The Changing Coast: interactive map depicting impacts of sea-level rise in the southen United States from the Southern Environmental Law Center

What to Do About Eco-Anxiety: 10% Happier podcast with an interview with Jay Michaelson

Apocalypse Creep: Episode of the This American Life podcast, reporting the lived experience of people experiencing the effects of climate change on water in the Lake Tahoe area, California coast, and Miami.


Ability & Disability

Learning to See Unseen Communities 

The works of John Elder Robison 

TED talks on disability

Spoon Theory essay and performance by author Christine Miserandino

The Arc of the United States The Arc promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supports their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.

Flat Hat Video on Campus Physical Accessibility

Americans with Disabilities Act

Resources from the National Association of the Deaf

Hearing Loss Association of America 

disAbility Law Center of Virginia

Special Education Resources from the Virginai Department of Education 

Introduction to Universal Design For Learning UDL is an approach to curriculum design that can help teachers customize curriculum to serve all earners, regardless of ability, disability, age, gender, or cultural and linguistic background. UDL provides a blueprint for designing strategies, materials, assessments, and tools to reach and teach students with diverse needs

Addiction, Substance Use, and Recovery (Spring 2019)

Dopesick, Beth Macy
"An instant New York Times and indie bestseller, Dopesick is the only book to fully chart the devastating opioid crisis in America: 'a harrowing, deeply compassionate dispatch from the heart of a national emergency' (New York Times) from a bestselling author and journalist who has lived through it." (from

Identifying The Gaps: No Mother Should Have to Choose Between Shelter and Motherhood. Richmond Times Dispatch. Reed Williams. 

National Institute on Drug Abuse

Addiction Guide

The Addiction Policy Forum

 Facts About Addiction

Addiction is defined as a process whereby a behavior which can create pleasure or escape from emotional pain is repeated, despite negative consequences and attempts to control the behavior (Goodman, 1990).

Approximately 19.7 million people aged 12 or older have a substance use disorder related to alcohol or drug use

  • Of that population, 8.5 million adults had a co-occurring mental health problems (SAMHSA, 2017)
  • In 2017, there were 70,237 overdose deaths, a 9.6% increase from 2016
  • Currently opioids are the main driver of overdose deaths (CDC, 2018)
  • In the criminal justice system, nearly half of the inmates meet criteria for a substance use disorder

While terms like substance abuser or addict can conjure up negative images and stereotypes, the majority of individuals with drug or alcohol use addictions are indistinguishable from nonusers and function in society However, continued use is associated with job loss, relationship problems, health problems, and early death (Brooks & McHenry, 2015)

Of the 1 of 13 people considered in need of substance use treatment, only a fraction (1 of 8), receive treatment, with stigma playing a major role in preventing people from accessing services (SAMHSHA, 2017).  Despite the criminal treatment of individuals with addictions, researchers now understand addiction as rooted in an complex interplay of biological, psychological, social, cultural and environmental causes. Over the past 25 years, researchers have identified there being a strong genetic predisposition to addiction as well as a link between childhood trauma and addiction

Communities of Color tend to experience greater burden of mental and substance use disorders often due to poorer access to care; inappropriate care; and higher social, environmental, and economic risk factors (SAMSHA, 2018). Although men have higher rates of substance use than women, the gap has decreased in recent years; women are more likely to face barriers to treatment related to childcare responsibilities, financial status, and social stigma. In LGBTQ communities, experiences of discrimination and social stigma are associated with higher rates of substance use in these communities.

There are many pathways to recovery from addiction; it’s is most commonly defined by abstinence, personal growth, and service to others; numerous factors can be related to recovery such as the development of  greater health and wellness, spirituality, purpose and meaning, and social involvement. Approximately 10 percent of the population define themselves as being in recovery from substance use. Mutual aid groups such as AA/NA, Women for Sobriety, and Smart Recovery play a prominent role in promoting long-term recovery

Criminal Justice (Spring 2017)

Worse than Slavery: Parchman Farm and the Ordeal of Jim Crow Justice - David M. Oshinsky

Condemnation of Blackness - Khalil Muhammed

Slavery By Another Name - Douglas Blackmon

Are Prisons Obsolete? - Angela Davis

New Jim Crow - Michelle Alexander

Lockdown High - Annette Fuentes

Invisible Men - Becky Petit

Women Behind Bars: Gender and Race in US Prisons - Vernetta D. Young and Rebecca Reviere

Chokehold: Policing Black Men


Mass imprisonment and the life course: Race and class inequality in US incarceration - B Pettit, B Western - American sociological review, 2004

Racism on trial: New evidence to explain the racial composition of prisons in the United States - PA Langan - J. Crim. L. & Criminology, 1985

And Justice for Some - E Poe-Yamagata, MA Jones - 200

Post-racial racism: Racial stratification and mass incarceration in the age of Obama - IFH López - California Law Review, 2010