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We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting for: Inner Light in a Time of Darkness

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  727 ratings  ·  66 reviews
A New York Times bestseller in hardcover, Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker’s We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For was called “stunningly insightful” and “a book that will inspire hope” by Publishers Weekly.

Drawing equally on Walker’s spiritual grounding and her progressive political convictions, each chapter concludes with a recommended meditation to teach us patienc
Hardcover, 257 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by The New Press (first published October 30th 2006)
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  727 ratings  ·  66 reviews

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Jul 26, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone with a soul and a political bone in their body/those who love Alice Walker
I'll start this off by saying that I love Alice Walker. She is the older sister I never had. She is also the only writer I buy in Hardback. Even when her hardbacks are 25 and up. This collection of essays and speeches cover the range of what it means to be black, to be human, to be soulful, the unifying of mind and soul with the power of yoga, the wrong doings of the church against children,all children, with a special look at Native Americans and the boarding schools started over 120 years ago ...more
Dele Haynes
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For by Alice Walker Non-fiction. This book is a collect of different speeches that Alice Walker had made during the 2000's decade. There was a lot of change going on at the time, it was good to get a look at that change from the eyes of someone who has been front and center to a lot of changes over the past half century. I've read many of her novels and have appreciated the look she gives the reader at some areas in which we were unaware. The same is true of ...more
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ribs, read-in-2015
My tolerance for reading about yoga is low so it speaks to the quality of Alice Walker as a person that I still enjoyed this book. Also, I'm drunk right now, full disclosure. But I'm sure I wouldn't be if I took all the healing advice in this book.
Nikita T. Mitchell
Favorite quotes:

"Even as I approached the lectern I had no idea what I would say. I was committed, however, to opening my mouth. After that... it was up to a power greater than mine." (8)

"To begin our long journey toward balance as a planet, we have to study the world and its peoples, to see that they are so like ourselves! To trust that this is so. That different clothes and religions do not create people who can escape from humanity. When we face the peoples of the world with open hands, and
Ernest Sneed
A collection of essays on humanity, the fate of civilization, and the responsibility each person has to make the world a more just place for all. The author combines personal stories and the painful history of various peoples to raise the consciousness of the world and how we either heal or harm the world. The essays draw sharp lines on the ethical behaviors of peoples and governments throughout history. The historical remembrance include up to the events of 9/11/01 and the Iraq war. The critiqu ...more
Olivia Brown
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book!!!!!!!!!!!! Please everyone go read - Walker speaks to much of the unspoken darkness deep within the history of the US and beautifully sheds light, hope, love, strength, understanding, peace
Stef Rozitis
This is a very liberated voice that colours outside of the lines in every way you can imagine. Walker gives us here her thoughts, blog-like and free-floating as likely to burst into poetry (her own or others) as not. Reoccuring themes are life, food, family, culture, justice as well as blackness and at times femaleness.

This is a spirituality anchored in yoga but respectful also of any spirituality ever that has advocated for joy, love and peace. At times Walker seems to contradict herself, at ot
Dec 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow...I can't remember the last book that I read that was this incredibly inspiring. Alice Walker has a way of turning words into art. After getting this book from the library, I had to go and buy a copy since this book has such an impact on me. This book is composed of an incredible introduction and numerous talks that Walker has given to a variety of people in a multitude of settings. It covers religion, politics, economics, world views, and is written in such a humble yet eloquent manner. Alt ...more
May 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminism, memoir
This book is not for everyone. But for someone who has been powerfully affected by Walker's work for nearly half his life, for someone deeply interested in both spirituality and politics and peace, Alice Walker speaks right to the soul.

I've read this book several times already, usually just a chapter at a time before bed. Any chapter is a good place to start. Walker makes me think and makes me feel good. She challenges me to act. Actually, I wouldn't have my second cat, Talulah, if not for this
Nov 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: global, women, poetry
It’s incredible… the connection I have felt with Alice Walker’s words was powerful. During the reading of these essays I was moved to tears quite a few times… even though I am not black, even though I can only imagine what it is like being black or Amerindian in the States or anywhere else in the world. Maybe I have been feeling this connection because, as Edward Said says: “One does not have to be a triangle to understand geometry"… or maybe ‘cause I am a woman or because, like Alice writes in ...more
Alison Fox
Jan 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
In dark times and in light, Walker adds an inspirational perspective, a back to basics guide to life. Enjoy the simple pleasures of life, take time to be introspective, to meditate, and above all know the value that lies in forgiving those that have wronged you. I recommend this book often. Walker is conversational, not preachy, personal, rather than riding the high horse of academia. She brings this otherwise heavy conversation into your life, transforms it to a light chat with a friend over co ...more
Apr 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
Inflammatory speech rules this collection. For one saturated in a self reflexive life more transparency about her on attention to ecology would make her argument more credible. The piece about appreciating a pause on life is moving, if poorly vetted for logic. Worth reading to come to your own inclusions.
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Pause. The moment when something major is accomplished and we are so relieved to finally be done with it that we are already rushing, at least mentally, into The Future. Wisdom, however requests a pause.
Miranda Wilson
Jan 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This was a very powerful book that made me think about prejudice, how it can be manifested in so many different forms, and the strength that we have as individuals to combat it. It also has a lot of comments on the state of the world. Of course all this is through very personal stories and speeches that she has given at different events. Would recommend it to anyone that would like to spend some time thinking about the state of the world and what change means to you.
Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
Similar to Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark (its first edition was written at a similar time), We Are the Ones seeks to inspire hope but, for this reader anyway, didn’t reach that goal from a big-picture perspective. I finished it with no grander insight or new way of dealing with the hopelessness of incompetence in power.

But I liked We Are the Ones better than Hope in the Dark, partially because Alice Walker focuses more on individuals over societies. The thing I enjoy about Alice Walker's wri
Camille McCarthy
Jun 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Everyone who is an activist today needs this book for some "inner light" in a very dark time. Anyone who isn't an activist should also definitely read it. It is a great book because it's very personal, very relevant to today, and it talks about things like the Feminine and anti-capitalism, things that are not usually mentioned in our society. I have incredible respect for Alice Walker, especially after reading this book - I had only read "the Color Purple" and had no knowledge of her as a person ...more
Feb 11, 2018 is currently reading it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Picked by: R. Eric Thomas
Beverly J. Harris
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For ....

The series of lecture notes and reflections of Alice Walker was very insightful. One is able to see how much her globalism has expanded and her thoughts help to broaden our understanding of the world we live in.
Marianne  Haney
Jun 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! Should be on a nightstand in every home.
Maughn Gregory
Walker is one of the authors / activists who sees most clearly how practices of radical social change and practices of radical, spiritual personal transformation are integral to each other.

"What is my practice? What is steering this boat that is my fragile human life?" (p. 110)

"Looking about at the wreckage, it is clear to all that in enslaving us, torturing us, trying to "get ahead" on the basis of our misery, our oppressors in the past had no idea at all what they were doing. They still don't.
Jean Marie Angelo
Aug 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Alice Walker has a way of writing that makes me feel as if I am sitting down to talk with an old friend. She is open, warm, and truthful. That isn't to say that her content is soothing or easy. She tackles some of the most hidden and unspeakable subjects — female genital mutilation, sexism, racism, child abuse, the rape of women and the earth, the butalization of Native Americans. This book is a collection of commencement speeches and lectures she gave thoughout the 2000s at various colleges and ...more
Georgia Roybal
Jan 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is a series of essays and presentations done by Alice Walker. I found it to be most thought-provoking and insightful. Some of her themes include racism, self-development, Buddhism, feminism. She includes a lot of poetry as part of the narrative. Some of my favorite quotes are:

"If my mind is crowded with ideas or thoughts or plans or other people's creations there is less room for my own."

"Do you believe that you can learn to trust a mind that isn't always speaking to you?"

"But on this
Nelda Pearson
Mar 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: silent-worship
I picked up this book mainly for the title which it turns out is actually from at June Jordan poem which in fact is better than this book. The title also appears in a message from Hopi elders which apparently is not Hopi-- see other reviews here.
Full confession. I am Quaker with strong Buddhist tendancies so the meditation dimension in this book speaks to me. As does the concept meeting hatred with love. However,meditation is not self improvement. Further, even Thich Naht Hahn said not to fool
Feb 17, 2009 rated it liked it
Many of the essays in this book are even more relevant today. Unfortunately we haven't made much progress, except we did elect Barack Obama.

I loved the essay "All Praises to The Pause; The Universal Moment of Reflection". It speaks to honoring the effort spent on a difficult project or life event, stepping back and allowing your mind and body to re-group.
"What it (the I Ching) is referring to in this hexagram is something that I am going to call 'the pause'. The moment when something major is ac
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
At first I was thinking this collection of primarily previously delivered speeches was a bit uneven, each individual speech even somewhat rambling. However, I stuck with it. It's Alice Walker, after all!

And ultimately, to me, We Are The Ones We Have Been Waiting For does reflect all that she has come to embody for me: a deep spirituality, a profound connection to and respect for nature, a fearless willingness to look the world's most brutal suffering in the eye, and most remarkably, an unshakab
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was ok
I mostly enjoyed this book, but Walker prints and discusses a 'Message from the Hopi elders' that ends with a line taken from a June Jordan poem: "We are the Ones we have been Waiting For".

I am no expert, but the 'Message' didn't ring true, and research on the web revealed this interesting link: where you can see the whole 'Message from the Hopi Elders' and a rebuttal, in which the suggestion is made that the speech probably "originate[d:] from an Cherokee e
Sep 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
I read this book in a time of my life where I really needed some guidance and was just experiencing and exploring many different lenses in which to look at life; Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, etc. Alice Walker is incredible! She shares various yogi, african american women retreat speakings that she has done and each of them offers some sort of gold to help and empower one to ppush throught he rough patches and search for the truth in each of ourselves. I feel this book is a must for anyone and e ...more
May 26, 2008 rated it liked it
I enjoyed most of the points in this book, and I would say that it definitely offers up some great arguments and points. However, Walker goes on and on sometimes, laboring points to the extent that I got the feeling she was just talking for the sake of hearing her own voice. Much of this is speeches made at some point, and sometimes speeches just don't translate as well on page. I don't know. Interesting, but I was sick of it about half way through.
Jul 31, 2011 rated it it was ok
This may have been the wrong time for me to finally finish Walker's book. I found it authentic in all the horrible things that blacks have lived through, but it took a long time to get to any dissertation on what we can be today. Definitely, the title is appropriate for all of us - we must live in today to the most we can be.
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Alice Walker, one of the United States’ preeminent writers, is an award-winning author of novels, stories, essays, and poetry. In 1983, Walker became the first African-American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize for fiction with her novel The Color Purple, which also won the National Book Award. Her other books include The Third Life of Grange Copeland, Meridian, The Temple of My Familiar, and Possessi ...more
“...there is no resistance to the idea that what is foreign can be known. Can be understood. Can be held in the embrace of love that holds the Universe. Given this Earth on which we live and grow, given its beauty and generosity, its majesty and comfort, how can one doubt that one is loved? That in fact there is an abundance, not a scarcity of love? It is all anyone ever wants, really, I believe, and it is all around us as we starve.” 10 likes
“Today Americans, who used to feel welcomed wherever we went, travel abroad with trepidation. We know we are not trusted or liked, that we are even hated, by millions of people around the globe. We must ask ourselves why this is so and do the work of discovering our historical behavior toward the other countries and peoples of the planet. As disturbing as this will be, it is a first step toward a peaceful existence. Not because we can make peace for our country, but because we can make peace without ourselves by changing any harmful behavior or attitudes that contribute to our present predicament. Choose any country on the map that appears to hate America. Listen to what people are shouting at their rallies and read what their banners proclaim in the street. Sit with their anger until you can see America through their eyes... Remember that you, yourself, are America. The U.S. Behave as if you are the entire country and carry yourself with humility and dignity.” 3 likes
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