Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
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.
When They Call You a Terrorist is Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele’s reflection on humanity. It is an empowering account of survival, strength and resilience and a call to action to change the culture that declares innocent Black life expendable.
This memoir is infuriating, emotional, and thought provoking because Khan-Cullors is unapologetic in her writing of events that have happened to herself and those around her. When They Call You a Terrorist is a stark look at what it looks like to grow up in a society that sees your skin colour first and implements every trick in the book to disenfranchise you and everyone who looks like you.
I went into this memoir thinking it would be a detailed account of the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement and the work they’ve accomplished thus far. Though, When They Call You a Terrorist does touch upon the genesis and work, this memoir focuses heavily on Khan-Cullors’ life. The reader is privy to intimate knowledge of her upbringing, familial relationships, romantic relationships, and sexual identity and how all of her experiences converged to create the passionate and intelligent person she is today.
I like to think of myself as someone who isn’t ignorant to the injustices and institutional racism that black and brown folks are subjected to everyday. However, every time I read a book similar in topic I’m flabbergasted and infuriated at the horrible experiences these people are forced to endure.
When They Call You a Terrorist highlights all of this and more as Khan-Cullors walks you through a very real and very alive culture that thrives on disenfranchising whole segments of people because it’s based on the notion that people are not all created equal.