There are contradictions as I write about the Napa land and my ancestors’ relationship with genocide. One of them is in our language—the word “settle,” the idea of settling and the settler. There may be hidden potential in that word, a way to heal.
When I started this book, the term “settler” filled me with shame. It evoked my great, great grandfather, Nathan Coombs, the one who came here in the […]
“How did you get so lucky?” There’s awe in the voices of friendly tradespeople in small trucks, who find their way up to our place to fix the sprinkler system or check for termites—and look around in wonderment. Their work takes them to so many places tucked away in the Napa hills, but somehow this one stirs them. Maybe it’s the unpaved road winding through the huge […]
Undoing the Silence: Six Tools for Social Change Writing, New Village Press, 2007, available anywhere books are sold.
For over a decade, Undoing the Silence has been a source for writers who aspire to change the way we think and act. It offers tools honed by people in some of the world’s most elite universities as well as the environmental groups, labor unions, and local organizations that drive change from the grassroots. It tells the stories of people in all walks of life who’ve used the tools to develop critical thinking, gain comfort with their own powerful voices, change entrenched opinions, and work together across difference. Book events took place at eighty venues in fifteen states and three countries. Currently it’s being used in college and graduate courses, while helping women in South African townships and centering an international online writing workshop for street vendor organizers in Brazil, India, and more.
Chapters in Other Books
“Language and Power,” in Breaking the Boundaries: A One-World Approach to Planning Education, ed. Bishwapriya Sanyal, Plenum Press, 1990. Following Paulo Freire’s call to decolonize the mind, this essay explores the complexities behind “critical thinking” in U.S. graduate schools for students from the Global South and the U.S. alike. How do the structures of language influence the ways we address problems and how can we decolonize our thinking and expression of ideas
“Advocacy and Neutrality,” in Writing, Teaching and learning in the Disciplines, ed. A. Herrington and C. Moran, Modern Language Association, 1992. Examines how professional communication among planners often adopts “neutral writing,” which works against critical thinking and expression of challenging ideas and influences the models for writing that students imitate.
Louise speaks about silencing, her book Undoing the Silence, and its role leading up to the national elections of 2008.
Louise offers a Dharma talk, “Lift Every Voice,” at the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, NM, in 2009.
Louise speaks outside the Bechtel Corporation headquarters in San Francisco on January 20, 2013, following a peacewalk she co-organized after the Fukushima disaster.