When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors & Asha Bandele | SLJ Review

Khan-Cullors, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, was raised in a family and community impacted by poverty.

redstarKHAN-CULLORS, Patrisse & Asha Bandele. When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir. 272p. St. Martin’s. Jan. 2018. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781250171085.

Khan-Cullors, one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, was raised in a family and community impacted by poverty. Her parents worked multiple jobs, and the family struggled with job, housing, and food insecurity. At age nine, she saw the police beat and arrest her brother Monte. Although Monte has schizoaffective disorder, he was placed in solitary confinement without access to necessary medication. This interaction, as well as her time at a predominantly white school, forced Khan-Cullors to see the different ways blacks and whites experience the world. She contrasts Monte’s story with the police’s treatment of white mentally ill inmates who receive better treatment. The brutality her brother endured, along with the acquittal of George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin’s killer, made her realize that the fight for change needed to begin within her own community. This insightful firsthand account of the creation of BLM deftly exposes the injustices of the United States’ social structures and calls for an end to a judicial system that leaves black men and women unprotected and their families broken. VERDICT An excellent look at the history of this movement, especially for those who appreciated the social commentary of Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Between the World and Me.–Desiree Thomas, Worthington Library, OH This review was published in the School Library Journal May 2018 issue.

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