American Identity in Crisis: Notes from an Accidental Activist (Paperback)

American Identity in Crisis: Notes from an Accidental Activist By Kat Calvin Cover Image
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A trailblazing activist’s passionate and incisive look at why she started a movement to ensure that 26 million Americans have access to the IDs they need to escape poverty and live healthy and productive lives

American Identity in Crisis weaves together three remarkable stories: the making of an activist in the wake of the 2016 presidential election; the fight against the onerous rules that are being used to keep vulnerable and targeted populations from participating in all facets of American life -from obtaining jobs and housing to going to the polls- and how we can solve a problem that impacts millions of American adults.

Kat Calvin ties all of these threads together in profound ways. In American Identity in Crisis, she takes us on a cross-country tour as she and her team uncover one of the biggest secrets in America and learn how to solve it. We meet veterans, the unhoused, and senior citizens, and learn the story of the fierce advocate who insists on recognizing their humanity and seeing them as souls who are resilient and striving for change. 

Told in a voice that is strong and vulnerable; funny and fearless, confident and self-deprecating, American Identity in Crisis is a defense of human dignity and everyone’s right to have access to the pursuit of happiness.

About the Author

Kat Calvin is the founder and executive director of Spread The Vote + Project ID and the cofounder and CEO of the Project ID Action Fund. A lawyer, activist, and social entrepreneur, she has built a national organization that helps Americans obtain the IDs they need for jobs, housing, life—and in some states, the voting booth. Kat and her work have been featured in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Essence, Glamour, and Marie Claire, and on NPR, PBS, BET, and many other outlets. She has been a guest commentator on MSNBC, CNN, Headline News, Sirius XM, and more, as well as a frequent keynote speaker and a sought-after voice for her expertise and opinions on politics, voting, ID-related issues, and more.

Praise For…

“Ella Baker. Fannie Lou Hamer. Gloria Richardson. These intelligent, strategic and effective activists and organizers would all be proud that folks like Kat Calvin have stepped up and filled in a void as current day champions for the voiceless who fight for those who are unseen and unheard everyday by many policy makers and political leaders. AMERICAN IDENTITY IN CRISIS is a revelation of not only a powerful new leader to watch but also as a treatise that is a must-read for anyone who cares about equity and democracy.” — Bakari Sellers, author of the New York Times best-selling My Vanishing Country

“Kat Calvin has been doing the work. Like, really doing the work—the backbreaking, administratively maddening work of helping individuals without ID get the documentation they need to live, work, and vote. Now she has produced a tremendous, invigorating chronicle of how her life as an ID activist took shape. For all those who look at this broken and unjust world and ask, “What can I do?” Calvin offers a resonant, moving, historically grounded answer.” — Rebecca Traister, New York Times Best-Selling Author of Good and Mad

“The centuries long fight for all Americans to have access to the vote—a core principle of a democracy—is as valid now as ever. Kat Calvin is on the frontlines of this battle and is fearlessly and forthrightly making the case why millions of Americans without IDs should have access to the franchise. In AMERICAN IDENTITY IN CRISIS, she brilliantly makes her case and demonstrates with power and compassion why every human and vote counts.”--April Ryan, author of Black Women Will Save the World: An AnthemApril Ryan, author of Black Women Will Save the World: An Anthem

"In these divisive times, many of us wonder if anything can get done. Kat Calvin has not only lead the way on practical solutions, but now, she has written down the path, so each of us can take part in making our democracy more equitable for all. Don't miss this inspiring book." — Piper Perabo, Actor and Activist

"In this stunning book, Kat Calvin shines her light on ID-less Americans, an issue that could have changed the shape of the 2016 election, and currently affects the lives of over 26 million people. Calvin writes with a courageous heart that leaps off the page, as she incisively lays out the contours of this crisis of personal agency, while managing to provide inspiration, and a delightfully whacky sense of humor. Between her work spearheading Spread The Vote, Project ID, and this wildly generous political guidebook, I think it's only fitting to identify Kat Calvin as an American hero." — Lauren Duca, Author of How to Start a Revolution: Young People and the Future of American Politics

"I've made a habit out of reading whatever Kat writes — op-eds, newsletters, and now books — because I know that whatever she tackles will be funny, smart, and eye-opening. She makes a habit out of finding the clearest, most brilliant solutions to complex problems. As a reader, I'm just happy to be along for the ride." — Ben Sheehan, Author of OMG WTF Does The Constitution Actually Say

"I used to view the absence of a valid ID as no more than a minor, annoying inconvenience - a wasted afternoon at the DMV or scrapped overseas travel plans. Oh, how Kat Calvin has opened my naively privileged eyes to see the vast inhumanity and indignity the absence of state-issued ID really is. Thank you, Kat, for not simply shining a light on the problem, but relentlessly working to solve it too." — J. Kelly Hoey, Author of Build Your Dream Network

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063341920
ISBN-10: 0063341921
Publisher: Amistad
Publication Date: September 15th, 2025
Pages: 192
Language: English