Co-written with asha bandele, the activist and co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement patrisse khan-cullors draws a clear line, from her early life to her political activism, about being black in a country militarized against her community.
In When They Call You a Terrorist, Khan-Cullors recalls the shame she felt as a child for her silence in the face of racial injustice. Her deeply felt memoir is a blueprint of how that silence exploded into a scream heard around the world ... Co-written by poet and journalist Asha Bandele, this personal and political book, subtitled 'A Black Lives Matter Memoir,' is also timely. It comes during a still-unfolding moment when women are demanding to be heard... She learned early all the ways African-Americans are barred at the door, and how their lives are under constant threat from the police, the government, and the institutions that are intended to protect but instead oppress ... Yet what she also experiences is the strength of a community that understands it can best take care of its own ... Like Baldwin, Khan-Cullors wants only for her nation to live up to its ideals, and afford everyone the same opportunities and protections.
In her new book, When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir, Khan-Cullors explores her own personal journey, from her childhood in Van Nuys, California, to becoming one of the leaders – if perhaps not as well known as others – of the latest incarnation of the US civil rights movement ...Khan-Cullor also reflects on her father, Gabriel, his struggles with addiction, his own incarcerations for drug offenses and the social and political conditions that fuel abuses of drugs and the justice system ... In this way, the memoir hints at many of the broader ways black lives ought to matter – not just when a police officer or vigilante kills an unarmed black teen, but in the broadest sense: to matter every day ... Toward the end of the memoir, Khan-Cullors reflects on the intention behind those actions, and how they make people outside of the movement uncomfortable or purposely inconvenience them in the service of an argument.
Khan-Cullors’s memoir is gorgeously nonlinear. She tells her story in the voice of the clear-eyed analytical adult, as if responding to the very relevant question 'How did I get here, you ask?' with, 'Well, let me tell you.' Memoir is a tricky genre: It narrates both a particular set of linked occurrences and an ongoingness indicating that similar things have happened across time. By juxtaposing Khan-Cullors’s childhood memories with the activism to which she has devoted her adult life, the memoir gives us the events as well as their social and historical contexts.