Behind The Book


Stories and Strategies for Racial Justice and Authentic Community

Part memoir and part social commentary, Dr. Amanda Kemp's short book provides insight and strategies for creating racial justice and a strong sense of shared community. Her voice is vulnerable and personal as she reflects on her own interracial relationship, parenting her Black teenaged son, and making art in the age of Black Lives Matter. Her short essays leave you cheering and hopeful.

Dr. Kemp’s searing and tender commentary about herself, life within her interracial family, and racial justice take the reader on a rare journey into an African American boundary crosser. Kemp grew up in poverty in a predominantly Black and Latino neighborhood but went on to graduate from Stanford University and earned a PhD from Northwestern University. Now married to her European American husband, Kemp watches the way that race plays out in her family, her work as a performing artist and professor, and in her spiritual journey.

This intimate short collection of essays will leave you pondering deep questions long after you stop reading. A great conversation starter, this short book is a must read for people concerned with racial unity, making Black Lives Matter, and educators and youth development professionals.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]

“Thank you for all the good and beauty you release into the world. We appreciate your work and rely upon your partnership.”

—Dr. David Mellot, dean of faculty, Lancaster Theological Seminary


Amanda Kemp graduated from Stanford University and earned a PhD from Northwestern University.  She has taught at the University level for over a decade and served as a Pennsylvania Commonwealth Lecturer.  The Founder of Theatre for Transformation, Kemp has reached over 25,000 people in her artistic and academic residencies at schools, colleges, and faith gatherings.  She is currently touring INSPIRA:  The Power of the Spiritual.  When not traveling, she resides in Lancaster, PA with her husband violinist Michael Jamanis, their five children and chocolate lab Jake.  

“Say the Wrong thing is not a pat guide to multicultural appreciation, it is a vibrant, commanding invitation to be the change that we need, right now.”

—Lisa Graustein, M.Ed., educator

“I finished reading your book and loved it so much. Thank you for putting this beautiful writing into the world, for sharing your truth and your vulnerability and your courage.”

—Danni Green

“I am so grateful for your mindful and soulful presence as you invite people to engage in crucial conversations across the color line.”

—Tony Hernandez, educator

“Thank you for these vulnerable, powerful posts . . . I'm moved by your level of honesty. It makes me think a lot about how intertwined the individual and collective journey of brokenness and healing are.”

—Frances Miller, musician, East Chestnut Street Mennonite Church

“I love that you are putting these stories out in a book! I think they are wonderfully instructive and written in a way that makes them easy for the reader to take in. In fact, writing this endorsement has made me wonder if meetings might use it to foster conversation.”

—Eileen Flanagan, author of Renewable: One Woman's Search for Simplicity, Faithfulness and Hope, and member of Earth Quaker Action Team (EQAT)