Cover Image: When They Call You a Terrorist

When They Call You a Terrorist

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I started this one a few times and I was just not interested in finishing it. Just not the right book for me at the time I tried to read it. I’m thinking it would bd easier for me Id it was an audio book
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This is an absolute MUST read for white folks, especially those who don’t get what white privilege truly is and how destructive white supremacy has been to BIPOC communities. 

The author is one of the creators of the #BlackLivesMatter movement and puts the issue of discrimination into perspective from her own personal accounts. The way her family and community was ripped apart by over policing, racial profiling, the war on drugs, inequality from healthcare, mistreatment of mental illnesses and being labeled predators & treated subhuman based on skin tone was beyond tragic, heartbreaking, and downright appalling. 

The whole time I was reading, I couldn’t fathoming living under such conditions and I understand why BIPOC folks feel the way they do and need & want change. This is NOT right! They are human and deserve to be treated equally. Black Lives Matter is a way of bringing to the forefront that black folks indeed matter where white supremacy has been ruling the roost. As white folks we need to see this and adjust/change. 

This book is so incredibly powerful in its voice and showing the need for all of us to stand up for such injustices. We are all human after all.

Thanks to Netgalley, publisher and author for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. When I chose to request this book, I did so because I am the mother of a young Black man whose life has always been in danger and whom I have always had to warn how to act in the presence of law enforcement, even when he is in the right. This book is a memoir  by Patrisse Khan-Cullors covering her life from her childhood, watching her father and mentally ill brother mistreated by law enforcement and discussing differences in sentencing, education, housing, and other institutions between the races. Patrisse is a very well-educated and socially involved woman and one of the founders of the Black Lives Matters movement. Especially now, when BLM has been vilified by the current administration, this book should be required reading for people of all races. Black Lives Matters is clearly not a terrorist organization and the author demonstrates clearly why and how it was formed. I have always been a supporter, but never has my resolve to be involved been greater than now.
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This book is an absolute must read. It is moving, captivating, and so beautifully written. While the book covers such difficult topics and is at times an absolutely heartbreaking read, it’s also a very easy read in that the writing flows so well and I couldn’t put it down. I would recommend this book to everyone.
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A really really strong memoir from Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele, this book was captivating from start to finish. I loved that Khan-Cullors built up to the establishment of the Black Lives Matter movement by first telling us about her personal story, and tying it into how the movement came to be. 

I will echo other criticisms of the book being presented as a queer memoir, as Khan-Cullors mentions this but doesn't really talk much about how those experiences led to the founding of this movement, especially since queer black women had such a huge role to play in it. 

This was a heart-wrenching memoir every step of the way and offered such great insight into how BLM came to be and why it matters so much.
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This is an ARC provided to me by Netgalley 

I wanted to read this book to find out more about the infamous hashtag  #BLM. In this book we get the background information of the author and what lead her to  what is now one of the most infamous movements of our lifetime. Typically I don't like memoirs/autobiographies, but this was a good read. I think everyone should give this book a read to understand that it's more than Black Lives Matter.  It's about us being counted and not being shamed and victimized due to the color of our skin
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This is one of the best memoirs I have ever read. Patrisse Khan-Cullors writes about her experience growing up in Los Angeles as a Black and Queer woman. Her story had me hanging on to her every word from the beginning. I ended up downloading the audiobook so I could continue to read without stopping. I appreciate how vulnerable and open she was with sharing her story. The way she wrote all this and narrated was very powerful. She has made me want to become more involved in the fight for justice. 
She takes us through her childhood, growing up with the constant policing of her neighborhood as a result of the war on drugs. She discussed how Black people are the most vulnerable people in America, constantly hunted by the criminal justice system and punished with long sentences for small crimes, while white killers of Black people go free daily. While this memoir is about how she, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi co-founded Black Lives Matter in 2013 when Trayvon Martin's killer went free, it is more about her and her family's experience with police brutality and her life as a social justice activist and performance artist and how all those experiences led her to the co-finding BLM. In fighting for justice, they are called terrorists. Which is so outrageous, because it is they that are being terrorized by the police. This is a story of her survival, strength, resilience and she calls us to action to fight for Black Lives. 
I recommend this book to everyone. This is an important story to read and it has made a huge impact on me. Please read it and share it with everyone. I have bought a few copies to share with friends and put in my local Little Free Libraries. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the digital book in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a Black Lives Matter (BLM) origins story. Patrisse shares with readers her early years and what brings her to start BLM. We hear about her mentally ill brother and his interactions with the police and the lack of mental health care provided to him. We hear about her stepfather and the trauma of loosing work and never being able to replace it. She shares so many more real life stories about the trauma of poverty, food insecurity, lack of safety and security, lack of housing, and lack of health care. Patrisse paints a very clear pattern of black lives being disregarded and purposefully targeted. 

In her 2009 TED talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie shares about the danger of a single story. I feel like this book opened my eyes to the single story narrative I have been living. I cognitively knew some of these things. There were other connections I had not yet made. I am so grateful to Netgalley and St. Martin’s press for providing me this free copy in exchange for my honest review. This was an emotionally difficult book to read but I have grown in my reading of it. I will be recommending this to others to read.
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“What is the impact of not being valued? How do you measure the loss of what a human being does not receive?

Raised by a single mother in an impoverished neighborhood in Los Angeles, Patrice experienced first-hand the prejudice and persecution Black Americans endure at the hands of law enforcement. 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.

When They Call You a Terrorist is a powerful memoir about what it means to be a queer Black woman in America.
This book opened my eyes, educated me and made me realize that there are a lot of things I still need to learn, that I will never know or will fear to be ripped from my bed in the middle of the night just because the police think I might fit the profile of someone who commited a crime.
This book broke my heart. 
A must read.
Black Lives Matter.

“I feel like I have to be particular kind of strong Black people are always asked to be. The impossible strong. The strong where there’s no space to think about your own vulnerability. The space to cry.”

Thank you Netgalley, St. Martin’s Press and Patrisse Khan-Cullors for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I picked this book up at the library about a year ago.  I read the insert and put it back.  It was on my list of books to  read, and that is where it remained.  It looked slightly intimidating, and I wanted an easy read.  I did not realize how easy of a read this book is.  I am not saying the content is easy.  The content is heartbreaking.  The way the author writes makes everything so real and easy to imagine, however unfortunate.

This week, our country is at what I am hoping is a turning point.  Khan-Cullors did a fantastic job of explaining just what we are all fighting for.
I can relate to dealing with a mentally ill family member-though as my father is rich and white, we had a very different experience.  The doctors and hospitals are still terrible to work with-but the police have helped us through the toughest of times.  I struggle to understand that not everyone can just call the police to help them.  I grew up thinking that they help us.  Maybe not always in other countries, but here in America.  This book has helped my eyes to open wider.
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I first experienced the Black Lives Matter movement as a Library Director in Berkeley, California. I didn't know how the movement started, but I certainly experienced its power. Protest marches are very common in Berkeley, but I had never witnessed the ability to shut down roads, business, and even major highways with just the power of numbers. The movement had more specific origins borne out of frustration. Patrisse Khan-Cullors tells her origin story along with Black Lives Movement. It starts with her life in Southern California, but it is focused on the treatment of her brother. When mental illness begins, it demonstrates how society and specifically the police are often ill-equipped. Worse, the cruelty that is compounded with the lack of resources is the lack of care and we see how her brother's life can be so destroyed as a result. 
She grows up poor as a result of her father being laid off from his Van Nuys, California job. She laments the fact that the factory can pull up shop and destroy lives just to make it more profitable. Her brother grows up developing psychological problems that are later diagnosed. Seeing him growing him, she sees how he is treated differently because he is a black boy. She sees him and his friends arrested and harassed for just standing on the street. His mental illness worsens over time resulting in rougher police interactions. After an episode following a car accident, he is arrested and charged as a terrorist. Police would claim that is shouting and ranting during his breakdown resulted in this classification. How easily it seems to create a charge and thus partially the reason for the title of this book. He deteriorates in custody without proper medical care. When he is sentenced to prison it firms up in her mind that black lives don't matter. She starts the movement for her brother. She accuses the local sheriff of racism and harassment protesting their treatment of her brother. It is only after the Ferguson case when the officer who killed Michael Brown was not indicted did the movement crystallize into Black Lives Matter.
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I loved this book. It was moving and insightful, staying honest to the issues but also giving hope to the future. Her bravery to look into the face of danger, the face of Los Angeles Policing, was scary. And to hear her words on the world that was created around her and her family was heartbreaking. 

As a newcomer to LA, this book shook me to my core. I knew of some of the issues she spoke about, but I hadn't known they went on for so long. I currently live close to where Cullors grew up, so I felt like I was walking with her as she spoke her truth. 

I highly recommend this book to anyone. Hearing these issues first hand is necessary and life-changing.
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Khan-Cullors give context and personal history to the Black Lives Matter movement, producing a book that is both history and memoir. A small detail I loved about this book was the quotes chosen to introduce chapters, placing her in conversation with the civil rights and literary leaders of our time. Khan-Cullors writes with immediacy, but also demands a patience and acceptance of this story.
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Stunning but heartbreaking memoir. Patrisse’s bravery and ability to stand in her truth are empowering.  I’m grateful for her passion to uplift black women, her impactful voice on social injustices and her relentless work on prison reform.
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This is a great read  due to brillant and honest, raw writing. It’s relevant and a must read. You’ll learn something from the very start, such as like this line “I have prayers of gratitude for the Black Panthers, who made Breakfast For Children a thing that schools should do.” It’s gems of observation, as well as gems of critical thought interwoven in the pages. Dive in and digest it.
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What a beautiful story and an even more beautiful message. I really felt connected to it and it gave me insight on the way I look at the world around me, especially other races.
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(I received a free copy of this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.)

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 inequality and a movement fueled by her strength and love to tell the country—and the world—that Black Lives Matter.

This is a tricky book to review. 

On the one hand, it is a memoir of one of the bravest women I know of - to stand up and say "No More" injustices to people of colour. To stare racism in the face and call it for what it is - especially in an America that is going through a massive cultural shift AWAY from inclusion. It is a story of the friendships she has forged, the partnerships she has created, and the movement that she has made into one of the biggest social justice movements in the world today.

There is no denying any of that.

However, as a writer - she isn't very good. Nor is her co-author. It is choppy. It swaps between perspectives, from "I" to "you" on so many occasions, it made it hard to keep track. The word choices are very simple, there isn't a lot of substance to what she writes. 

I think this story would have been far better if it had been written by another person, rather than the way it was presented. That is no reflection on the story itself - that is important. 

As a matter of historical record, I would recommend it. As a book that is easy to read and totally enjoyable...not so much.

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I picked this up hoping to find out about the history of the movement that has shed light on the lives lost unnecessarily because of systematic racism. What I found instead was a memoir about a woman's life, her observations about how she, her friends, and her family members have been treated because of the color of their skin. The last third of the book explains how Black Lives Matter came to fruition, its goals, first manifestations, and--perhaps most important of all--its necessity in today's cultural landscape.
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When They Call You a Terrorist by Patrisse Khan-Cullors absolutely gutted me. I couldn’t breathe in so many parts of the book. I was holding my breath in sorrow, anger, outrage. With all this, you should know that I’m not a particularly emotional reader. I cry while reading maybe once a year. And this book was a punch in the gut and a wake up call. It did the opposite of making me cry—it made me angry.

Patrisse Khan-Cullors tells her deeply personal story with such eloquence. Her writing is direct and forthright, as I imagine she must be. But in her straightforward way, the love she feels for her family, friends, community, and the world is utterly palpable. But this book, and this movement, isn’t about just love. It’s about the anguish of loss. In Patrisse’s experience, there is loss of beloveds to drugs, prison, mental illness, and death come too soon. In some cases she has lost the beloved person to all four things.

Khan-Cullors tells about her family life, with two brothers, a sister, and a mother working two or three jobs. She talks about the men in her mother’s life, including her own father. And as she develops connection with her father and his family, she learns about a world outside her Los Angeles hometown.

Our school experiences also forge our identity. Khan-Cullors begins the journey that brings her into adulthood in a truly unique high school. The students study history and culture as it applies to them—with emphasis on challenging classism, racism, sexism, and heteronormative thinking. They read authors like James Baldwin, Nelson Mandela, bell hooks, and Emma Goldman. It shapes Khan-Cullors and gives her the connections that begin her journey to Black Lives Matter.

Throughout all that she’s learning, Patrisse still lives with suffocating emotional pain. At least, I think I would suffocate. But she does not, because ultimately this is the only world she knows. There have always been problems, often without solutions. Her gentle brother descends deeper into mental illness. The world around her becomes harder, with the advent of the prison industrial complex fed by racist policing policies. As Khan-Cullors shares her story, I imagine a young woman wise beyond her years. Not because she wanted to be, but because she had no choice. The world forced this on her. Racism and classism forced this on her. I mourn for her lost childhood.

A review of this book wouldn’t be complete without some discussion of Khan-Cullors’ writing on sexuality. As a teen attending a school that encouraged students to challenge heteronormative thinking, she also had a cousin who was an out gay teen. She tells what it was like to find her sexual identity, while also managing all the crises in her life. She is raw and vulnerable about the relationships she’s had along the way, including her current one. This experience also shaped the principles of Black Lives Matter, because LGBTQIA+ people of color are often subjected to tremendous brutality.

As I began this book, I thought I had a fair understanding of the underpinnings of the Black Lives Matter movement. In fact, this book taught me just how limited my knowledge really was. Khan-Cullors improved my understanding with stories, history, herstory, and activism. She and her fellow founders are women pushing for change, in whatever way they can. Black Lives Matter has thrived under their guidance and passionate leadership. They have grown to include chapters in the U.S. and other countries. The work they do is needed more than ever.

Perhaps Black Lives Matter has thrived because the pain is still a daily reminder for each activist. Khan-Cullors makes it clear that no one in the movement is likely to be untouched by pain. I would encourage everyone to make the time for this book. Not only is it an important record of the fight for social justice, it’s an amazing AF memoir.

Thanks to NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press, and especially Patrisse Khan-Cullors for opening her heart and soul to the world in this book. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review the digital advance copy. I also listened to the audiobook, narrated by the author, and would recommend it as well. As always, my opinions are my own.
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I am drawn to memoirs by people challenging "the system"-- I hate that term, but it's still accurate. I was inspired by Malcolm X in high school; Angela Davis, Assata Shakur and Huey Newton in college; the contributors to 'What We Do Now' just last year.  I am reverently adding Patrisse Khan-Cullors to this group. The only, tiny critique I have of this book is a selfish wish for more information about the Black Lives Matter roots and movement. What I got, in addition to learning about the origins of BLM,  was a passionate, empathetic, often heartbreaking story of a family broken and rebuilt countless times. The story of enduring love and hope for change, of strength and courage.
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