Hello! I know this isn’t my usual day to post, but I wanted to share with you a post that I saw on my Instagram feed today. This video, posted by Columbia University, shares one man’s take and reflection on his experiences as a black man in a world of police brutality. His name is Marquavious Moore. His words are extremely powerful and shine a light on police brutality and white privilege when it comes to the police. I hope you take the time to listen and reflect on this!
Books are a form of political action. Books are knowledge. Books are reflection. Books change your mind.Toni Morrison
Here are some book recommendations that focus on the subject of Black Lives Matter and Black History.
*note I have taken the summaries from websites like goodreads and amazon
- Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption – Bryan Stevenson
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
This book has been turned into a film, and you can watch the trailer here.
- When They Call You A Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir – Patrisse Khan-Cullors
A poetic and powerful memoir about what it means to be a Black woman in America—and the co-founding of a movement that demands justice for all in the land of the free.
Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in Los Angeles, Patrisse Khan-Cullors experienced firsthand the prejudice and persecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. For Patrisse, the most vulnerable people in the country are Black people. Deliberately and ruthlessly targeted by a criminal justice system serving a white privilege agenda, Black people are subjected to unjustifiable racial profiling and police brutality. In 2013, when Trayvon Martin’s killer went free, Patrisse’s outrage led her to co-found Black Lives Matter with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi.
Condemned as terrorists and as a threat to America, these loving women founded a hashtag that birthed the movement to demand accountability from the authorities who continually turn a blind eye to the injustices inflicted upon people of Black and Brown skin.
Championing human rights in the face of violent racism, Patrisse is a survivor. She transformed her personal pain into political power, giving voice to a people suffering in equality and a movement fueled by her strength and love to tell the country—and the world—that Black Lives Matter.
- An American Marriage – Tayari Jones
Newlyweds, Celestial and Roy, are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive and she is artist on the brink of an exciting career. They are settling into the routine of their life together, when they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
This stirring love story is a deeply insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward- with hope and pain- into the future.
- The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
This book has also been turned into a movie. You can watch the trailer here.
This is an essay that my friend Rachel wrote that talks about the events that are going on in America. If you want to hear more from Rachel, check out her blog!
We the People
We are all human. Humans have evolved throughout time and have become complex creatures of the earth. We have shaped the earth in correspondence to how this world shaped us. How can we shape a world that is incomprehensible to us? The answer to that question remains a mystery, but all humans on this earth have done it and are continuing to do it. Let this empowering statement inspire you to do more regardless of your race. Not only black history, but human history is now.
Growing up as a white female in a small town has sheltered me and caused a lack of diversity in my life. Over time I have been exposed to the history of the world and the people that have impacted these changes. Much of this history regards the civil rights movement. I was repeatedly reminded of the terrible things that people have endured simply because of their skin color, and that became ingrained in my head. Although that should never be forgotten, I wish I had learned more about the revolution these people single handedly started and the strength and courage they had. This should be a more widely spread lesson to people of all races because it really shows that anything is possible with perseverance. I am continually amazed at how much the times have changed, and ever since the year 2020 started, I have begun to realize that the times have not stopped changing.
Racism is not genetic, it is taught. It has and continues to be taught to the younger generation by adults who are supposed to be mature. If we have truly been educated correctly on this topic, then why do these injustices keep recurring? This lack of maturity is exemplified in a video of a black man being physically abused and killed by a cop who is supposed to be protecting ALL American citizens. The fact that it has taken not only this black man, George Floyd, but multiple black people unjustly being killed to call attention to the injustice and corruption in our society today is despicable. This is why I find this movement so important. It is an opportunity for everyone to come together peacefully as one and provoke much needed change. Doing this will spread love in order to heal and grow together in the present and future.
America is the home of the brave, and to me, the bravest people are the black people in this country. Not only have they had the courage to stand up for what they believe in, but they are the ones constantly fighting for the American dream to be a reality. They have not stopped fighting for their freedom and equality. This is the most inspiring thing to me, and always will be. It shows me that my generation can be the one to change the next and not teach ignorance and fear of expression, but rather accentuate the lesson to be a big person without making others feel small. My goal is to celebrate black history and stand proud together simply as humans. I want the next generation and all the generations after that to see how determined, courageous, and brave black people are. They have defied what white people thought of them in the past and we have them to thank for so many things in our everyday lives. I don’t want to only hope, but I want to be involved in the change that needs to happen. My generation was being taught to live in the shadows and simply go through the motions to achieve the American dream, but that will not make America great again. We the people must come together to create the change that has been long awaited. Instead of fearing the diversity in our world, we must appreciate, respect, and celebrate our differences. Human rights apply to every beautifully unique human. History is not done and neither is the fight to end injustice.
Take time to remember all of the black lives that have been wrongfully persecuted, recognize your own value and capability as a person, educate yourself and learn from the past in order to grow, and most importantly, stand by one another with love.