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Revolutionary, Gifted and Black

Meet one of the queer founders of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Khan-Cullors.


It stands to reason that when Patrisse Khan- Cullors, a founder of Black Lives Matter, sat down with her co-author, asha bandele, to write a memoir of this burgeoning nonviolent movement, the subject of who gets to label whom would inspire their title, When They Call You a Terrorist: a Black Lives Matter Memoir. The love-drenched narrative style of this powerful memoir charts the course of Khan- Cullors’s life, growing up in Los Angeles; hers is a narrative pierced personally by headline issues that are often glossed over, even in liberal circles, issues like structural poverty, the war on drugs, the war on gangs, mass incarceration, unequal education, and police brutality. Although Khan-Cullors, a queer woman and the recent recipient of the Sydney Peace Prize, is certainly a victorious example of how to survive racism, classism, sexism, and heteronormativity in America, she knows all too well that many others did not or are still fighting to get free. The memoir is a compelling series of stories that sketch out the life of a black girl child who becomes a woman, told in her own words, using her own life to illustrate what it means to be black, poor, and socially conscious in the 1980s, ’90s, and 2000s, while working on building the community and safety that most people long for.

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