When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

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THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER.
New York Times Editor’s Pick.
Library Journal Best Books of 2019.
TIME Magazine’s “Best Memoirs of 2018 So Far.”
O, Oprah’s Magazine’s “10 Titles to Pick Up Now.”
Politics & Current Events 2018 O.W.L. Book Awards Winner
The Root Best of 2018

“This remarkable book reveals what inspired Patrisse’s visionary and courageous activism and forces us to face the consequence of the choices our nation made when we criminalized a generation. This book is a must-read for all of us.” – Michelle Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of The New Jim Crow

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 inequality 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.

Specification: When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

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89 reviews for When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

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  1. The Deans List @ariannadeans

    I’m glad I picked up this book to add to my social justice library. Such a great book and great insight into the authors.

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  2. Sherrie Miranda

    I forced myself to read this over about 10 days because I didn’t want to just rush through it. I wanted to savor every chapter.I knew life was hard when you live in the ghetto, but this book really brings home how hard it is. I did learn a lot about being LGBTQ as a black woman. And the story of her brother broke my heart.I cried all through the loss of her dad, knowing that I had 60 years with mine & she had less than 10.I believe this book should be taught in high school. Read it; study it; write your own memoir!Patrisse Khan-Cullers is my newest hero! Thank you for telling us your story & the Black Lives Matter story.

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  3. Annalon

    What a powerful book! It is unfortunate that probably the only readers of this book will be people interested in Racial Justice …. there were a number of things that spoke to my heart. I, as a young, white adult, lived in Van Nuys, CA, during the time the author was a young child living only a few blocks away. I remember the helicopters …. we would sit on our apartment balconies at night at watch the helicopters buzzing around, spinning around their searchlights in what seemed like a bizarre dragonfly dance against the dark sky. I, living in my white-gender-privileged cocoon, didn’t understood WHY…my ignorance and lack of caring back then was astounding! (I have spent my life evolving!) This only reinforces my belief that we must LISTEN to the pain in the words when people tell their truths. I personally think this book should be read by all young people! Patrisse Khan-Cullers is an amazing person and writer and this book is powerful testimony.

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  4. D Carr

    Moving, touching, uncomfortable, frequently painful, this memoir recounts the experiences of Patrisse Khan-Cullorsgrowing up black, female and queer in the poor neighborhoods of LA,and how that experience, her subsequent experience as a community organizer,and the national outrage (at least among the black community) of the killings of Trayvon Martinand Mike Brown led her to co-found Black Lives Matter.This is a book every white person in the US should read.It’s a book that deserves to be assigned reading in every middle or high school across this country.I recommend it highly.

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  5. Poema

    Patriss makes this an easy read by grappling your attention and thirst to know more despite the heavy content at times. Each paragraph flows so easily, you can almost hear the words being said to you verbally. Amazing read and you feel like you get to know at the core how Black Lives Matter for Patrisse began.

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  6. Andrea Fischer Mateluna

    Tapa blanda pero libro en perfecto estado

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  7. Love

    This was such a powerful book and such an important read. This book brings up so many important conversations that need to be had about mental health, racism, sexism, so many isms. When I think about how people do not realize the impact that racism has on this world I’m in disbelief. There are so many people forced to hold things together when they are falling apart, to live with so much trauma that could be avoided if they were given the tools to succeed. I loved how this book got so personal yet addressed so many issues.

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  8. sue g

    The memoir of a person and a culture.

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  9. LilySardothien

    Phenomenal powerful read that should be read by every American. Khan-Cullors and bandele write artfully about a life permanently shaped and born into the war on drugs which could just as easily be named the war on blacks. Read it. Be shaped by it. Be changed by it.

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  10. mfg

    This book provides concise, knowable insights. More, by presenting those insights embedded in personal context, these become vivid, and create a sense of action, making the path to greater values based praxis more available.

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  11. Bob koshin Hanson

    A moving, real witness to Th sainthood of BLMAS A VETERAN OF CIVIL RIGHT AND BEYOND I LEARNED SO MUCH FROM THIS BOOK! AS WE CARRIER AMRI AND OTHERS TO THE LINES THEN I AM ALWAYS CARY THIS BOOK WITH ME AS WE RESIST AND LIVE THE REVOLUTION! THA KS U SISTERS

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  12. Jo

    This is an open examination of black life in America. This is the story of one woman, open, raw, not toned down for comfort. It opens the eyes to what is really going on, reminding me that I have not been able to imagine the depth of damage systemic racism has done to people. Read it. You will be grateful you did.

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  13. jan salvay

    My niece recommended this to me. I was mesmerized right from the start. I bought it after reading the sample. Can’t wait to recommend it to my daughters and others. It’s not only timely; it’s a first hand account of what it’s like growing up in a city I know well but from a different perspective. I want to know what life is like for people of color; for people who work three jobs in order to survive. We need to understand in order to facilitate real change. It’s the humane thing to do. We are at a cross road. This book is a testament to why we need to be more informed.

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  14. Amazon Customer

    Words seem inadequate. Amazing and powerful and vivid and compelling. Want to understand what we’ve done to our black communities, there are so many wonderful books out there but this one is special.

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  15. Amazon Customer

    I expected this book to focus more on the work of BLM from 2013 and on, but was pleasantly surprised to see it focus mostly on Patrisse Cullors’ childhood and adolescence, highlighting the harrowing experiences that necessitated the creation of BLM.

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  16. Tammy Moldovan

    This memoir of the BLM movement shows on an extremely personnel level the stark reality of growing up as a POC in Los Angeles. This is not the first book I have read about racism or even the first one that made me look hard at my white privilege. It is however the first book that allowed me to feel on a visceral level the difference between my upbringing – white, middle-class, suburbia – and the upbringing of POC. This is an essential book to understand the genesis of BLM but also to understand the dichotomy that we need to change for all of us.

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  17. Julie W.

    An incredible read, deeply grounded in love. This should be REQUIRED reading in every high school, for every politician, every book club. I do hope that a study guide will be made available. I grew up in a conservative, white, Rush Limbaugh blaring household. It took 20 years for me to begin to understand systemic oppression but, once you see it, you cannot unsee it. Thank you Patrisse for telling your story and for writing your own script. You are in true author-ity. Thank you so much for waking us up, or at least trying your damndest.

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  18. Holly A. Delaney

    A beautiful, poignant, articulate & emotionally captivating read. Honest, compassionate, painful, riveting & yet hopeful. A rare chance to gain some emotional understanding of the devastation, marginalization & divestment, growing up in a culture & environment reflecting centuries of untold abuse, unimaginable for most of us. It is an amazing & compelling book; astonishing authors. I think everyone should read it!

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  19. Linda G

    I highly recommend this powerful memoir by one of the founders of #blacklivesmatter. Her personal story and that of her family are very touching. I am hopeful reading this book will increase understanding of the challenges faced by Blacks in the US and the need for change.

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  20. Lady D

    Mesmerizing, poetic and powerful prose !

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  21. Kindle Customer

    This is one of the most powerful books I have read. I am learning much recently about the role of white supremacy in our country’s evolution. This book hit me in my gut with it’s heart wrenching and brutal description of the experience of being Black in America. I am beyond words.

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  22. alfienumeric

    Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele eloquently tell Patrisse’s story on her involvement of the co-conception and birth of the Black Lives Matter movement and I couldn’t put the book down. From childhood to adulthood, many of her experiences, many of which are so heartbreaking, provides an understanding as to what lead her and her comrades to organize and unify under than name of LOVE. A few times, I teared up, held my breath and sigh in a deeper understanding to the work being done by not only the organizers of this movement, but beyond the hashtag and by each and every one of us.

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  23. Amazon Customer

    The disparities in the treatment of people of color is soooooo overwhelming that it makes me feel truly disheartened. However, the courage and strength of the Author gives an unbreakable power of hope. The power of our ancestors as well as, us as a people today who are part of the human race to persevere, finding means and ways to be heard and enforce our human rights are evident in this wonderful book

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  24. EMC

    It was a good reas

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  25. Jim

    I read this book to discover first hand what motivates Patrisse and to understand her point of view. A friend asked me to define systematic racism. I am sending this book to him.

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  26. Amazing Grace

    Very real! Every person in America who wants to understand how racism impacts the lives of black people should read this book!

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  27. BreAnna

    This reads like a novel but it’s also so informative! So much of this broke my heart. Her stories about Monte felt like they tore my heart out of my chest. One of the hardest things for me as a public defender has been those moments when I feel totally helpless to actually help someone with mental health issues. Our criminal justice system is set up to punish, not to rehabilitate and that’s an absolute tragedy.I learned so much about Patrisse Khan-Cullors and the Black Lives Matter movement but I also learned some things about myself. Am I doing enough? Am I really even doing anything? I think I have some soul searching to do. Genuinely.

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  28. Ella Mc

    Patrisse Khan-Cullors life story is not an easy one. Living in Los Angeles with her family, including a brother who we learn suffers from schizoaffective disorder and a mother who works from sun up until well after dark to keep her children together, sheltered and fed is not easy, but it is what she knew as a child. There are far too many examples of things that should not happen in this book. Sadly, none of it is surprising, despite the shock that these things happen – repeatedly.I found the story of her brother, a gentle man with a misunderstood illness which was criminalized, most upsetting. Through the years I have desperately tried to get some of the larger mental health organizations to understand that police should be the very last people involved in mental health checks or emergencies. I have often been met with complete agreement and little, if any, follow-through. So I gritted my teeth as I heard yet another story of a person penalized for being ill and the trauma brought on the entire family because of the stupidity and arrogance of those involved in this system.While reading this book it’s easy to see how many ways this system is broken. It’s easy to feel almost beaten down and deflated. But what makes Patrisse Khan-Cullors and her fellow BLM founders, as well as others who have organized and planned behind the scenes to push for change to happen is the hope she clearly still has. She would not be working so hard if she didn’t believe that things could change, and that’s how I left this book. Her final words are uplifting, spirited, nurturing, gentle and kind – even as they continue to push us toward what often feels like insurmountable change. Knowing that women like this exist in the world is one more thing that gets me to the meeting after work when I’m tired and would rather veg out.This is one woman’s story. Hers is typical and entirely unique. Her story tells us much about our current political and structural systems in the US, and how much needs to change. I hope she is a harbinger of the generations to come. I think she is.

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  29. RobinRedbird

    This powerful book is a good counterpart to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “Between the World and Me” giving the woman’s perspective on the same situation. I I wish all pale people would read them to get a sense of what African Americans go through in Amerika. They live in a police state we pale people never experience. Would you want helicopters hovering over your neighborhood? Your kids constantly stopped and searched by police? To be hauled out of bed at 2 am because “there was a robbery in the neighborhood?” Me neither.

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  30. Miles Hart

    Read this for school. And honestly it was amazing. I cried at times, I felt I was in the book like a movie. Super worth it

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  31. Teran Chapis

    Can’t recommend it enough. It’s a piece of art, and world changing.

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  32. Leah A

    This book has enlightened me beyond what I could have imagined. An absolute must-read for anyone dedicated to anti racism work and the desire to understand where the Black Lives Matter movement was born. It’s a beautifully written story that puts the reader in the moments that Ms. Cullors experienced as a child, young adult, organizer, and mother.

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  33. Dandara

    Very good. Students really enjoy this memoir and say it helps them understand context and background for the start of the BLM movement

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  34. Advocate for the marginalized

    Thank you patrisse and asha for manifesting and validating our deplorable plight that we (African Americans) have had virtually no control over in our country. BTW, these two ladies can weave a story – so interesting. This book reads almost like a novel that you don’t want to put down. It illuminates experiences that most African Americans (AA) have gone through – I refer to our pain as collective PTSD that everybody just pretends ‘we alright’ mainly because we have no words and we turn the pain inward. I must say that I use to think of CA as being the most liberal state but the more I hear about the structural racism/policing that occurred there I am convinced it was worse than racist Ohio where I was brought up. Unfortunately, what this book expounds on is what we’ve been going through and discussing since – forever. I have discussions with my more mature civil/respectable friends that totally frown on ‘get in your face’ tactics of which I remind them that we’ve tried being nice for over 150 years, to no avail. I also inform them that I don’t want my children having these tired azz conversations about the same injustices we’ve witnessed and discussed – forever.I really cringe when I hear that old ‘personal responsibility’ argument as if specific legislations (slavery, Jim crow, racist housing policies etc.) did not get us into the cesspool that most of our people reside. I totally agree with your view on the Alcoholic Anonymous 12 step program (“…they do not account for all the external factors that exacerbate chaotic drug use, send people into hell…’), again it places the onus directly and only on the individual. I teach policy and I consistently advocate for specific policies to support our plight out of white supremacy and structural racism. It’s jobs and humanity we need NOT more policing. We can’t be responsible of that we have no control over. While BLM cohorts are “… maligned with the label of terrorism. No white supremacist purveyor of violence has ever, to my knowledge, been labeled a terrorist by the state.” One could compare BLM with the Black Panther Party who considered themselves ‘vanguards’ of our people and, just like BLM, they eventually had alliances in other countries that support our plight as well as their own. And as for you liberals out there who talk but execute no action to actually dismantle this white supremacist system, as MLK said:“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.” AMEN

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  35. Cara

    The writing style was phenomenal- she captivates the reader from the first page. As a white female, I really appreciate learning and knowing the reality of the lives of so many. I didn’t have a great understanding of the Black Lives Matter movement before reading this and so I thank you for sharing yourself and I encourage everyone to educate themselves so we can all be a part of the change that is an absolute necessity. This is a heart wrenching reality check and we should all be outraged at these atrocities that continue to exist. Well written. I’ll be sharing this with everyone I know. Buy it. Read it. Now. Be a part of the change

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  36. Mari Solve

    I have never been more in love with someone’s writing style than I am with Patrisse Khan-Cullors’. Beautifully written. Eloquent. Heartbreaking. Inspiring. A different perspective for people who have grown up privileged. It’s an important read for anyone advocating for intersectional feminism. I have a list of people I am handing this book off to. I highly recommend it. You won’t be able to put it down.

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  37. biohike

    a beautifully written and important book that captures the impact of the war on drugs (and the war on poor people) in 1990s Los Angeles, what it means to navigate the US as a queer, Black woman who can imagine a different future, and the utter failure of our “justice system.” The book’s central premise is the profound cognitive dissonance produced by the fact that BLM is called a “terrorist organization” when the policing system terrorizes families and tortures incarcerated people. essential reading.

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  38. Amazon Customer

    This memoir brings the fight for justice to a personal level. The memories are stark and the realities that black folk in America face become overwhelming in their horror. The book brought me to tears and to anger and at last to hope.

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  39. peggy seeger

    I bought this book to support BLM and didn’t know if I would actually read it. I am glad I did. I thought I understood somewhat the wars on gangs and drugs and mass incarceration. Patrisse Cullors’ story of growing up in LA tells powerfully how these affected her, her family and community, led her to activism and confounding BLM movement, and how these governement policies are connected and their purpose. She also explains how not to get burned out and how the movement includes healing and self care. I cried a lot and will now buy copies to share with my loved ones.

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  40. Steve Beaverton OR

    This is an important narrative of those who have lived in another America, an America that has not only failed them and their communities but also an increasingly greedy and desperate America in which basic rights are trampled and a police state is turned on the communities it’s supposed to serve and protect. We should all be both outraged and horrified.History, including our own, is full of examples where the oppressed have reached a tipping point. The American Revolution, the French Revolution, Tiananmen Square, and Syria to name a few.We continue this great repression at our mutual peril.

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  41. Jessica Hirst

    I had the very great honor and privilege last year to spend an entire semester being educated by Patrisse and her partner Future. The information, experiences, and questions they raised in our class opened my eyes to so many things that I, as a white, middle-class, supposedly ‘woke’ woman hadn’t known or understood. I am beyond excited to read this book, and see it on the New York Times bestseller list. It should be read by all people who call the US home. As someone who suffers from serious mental illness, even with excellent treatment, I was especially horrified to learn how mistreated and abused Patrisse’s brother Monte has been. We all need to work together to change things. The Movement is called Black Lives Matter because US institutions act as if Black lives DON’T matter.

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  42. Amazon Customer

    This book has to be one of my top 5 favorite books of all time. This memoir dissects the lack of compassion for people of color in America while highlighting the struggles of LGBTQ members, poverty, and mental health. I’ve recommended this book to all of my friends and plan to reread it.

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  43. Heather

    Great book and very informational about the Black Lives Matter movement and how systemic racism is still an issue today!

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  44. Debra Bryer

    I don’t know what to say about this book except that it is amazing, wonderful and has made a real difference in my thinking. I highly recommend the audible version so you can hear Patrisse’s voice reading her own words. It has been an incredible experience, and I’m so appreciative for the opportunity to hear her story and her analysis.

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  45. Laurasaridavis

    I picked up this book as part of my own social justice education and was richly rewarded with a moving, painful, inspiring, beautifully rendered and scrupulously honest memoir. I will recommend this book to everyone in now and start donating to black lives matter today. This book makes me want to be part of the solution.

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  46. R. R. McCray

    This is a must-read for anyone who cares about justice. The book’s honesty is transformative and moving, and it will inspire you to take action. Beautifully written, this book will give you insight into the real harm done by police violence, mass incarceration, and the war on drugs, as well as the lack of adequate healthcare in our country. Khan-Cullors weaves together a compelling case that those things are what actually constitute terrorism. I highly recommend this book, which is full of love, facts, anger, and artistry. It will make you dream of a new world where we can all be free.

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  47. Venitta

    EVERYONE regardless of race, culture, gender or gender identity should read this book. It’s Thought provoking, and transformative. It lay bears our country’s painful history and calls us all to action. I learned so much and I am grateful for the lesson.

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  48. Ali

    Read for perspective and understanding of why Black Lives Matter is a movement and open your eyes to how you can make a change.

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  49. Trebleclef

    Well written and hard to put down, Patrisse’s story is a first hand accounting of the life that so many people of color experience daily while those of us who are white remain clueless. If this doesn’t help people understand why Black Lives Matter came to be, what the movement is and is not, and why it is so very necessary, I fear nothing will. Follow Patrisse on Facebook – she does podcasts and will answer questions about her book!

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  50. Patricia Brooks

    Those of us who care know most of the dirty truths about America experienced in this book, but the author’s family knows them ALL. They have experienced them all as a family: the constant threatening police presence in their lives — driving around and around the neighborhood, helicopters flying over it, officers with dogs prowling up and down the school halls, using every opportunity to grab kids off the street and put them in juvenile detention, then in prison, maybe for the rest of their lives — for a single possession of marijuana, something a white kid can do every day and have nothing happen to him. The author is one of the co-founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, and that is far from a catchy name. She knows from her entire growing up that black lives DO NOT matter to the ‘power structure’, that the War On Drugs was really a war on African Americans, an excuse to lock up as many as they possibly can — for life if possible. Her brother was schizophrenic and had periods when he didn’t know what he was doing. In one such episode, he tried to crawl into an open window, was arrested and put in prison. The family brought his medications and explained that he needed them, but they were denied him in prison. Instead they bound up his torso and put him in solitary confinement. His pleas for his drugs went unanswered. When he was brought into court for a way-delayed sentencing, he was strapped to a board. The judge was disgusted and told them to take him back, but his treatment didn’t change. The author was so bright, she earned admission to a white school in the neighboring community — as different from her own as they could get. Her neighborhood had no meeting place for young people, no after-school activities, no basketball court. There was no place for young people to meet, so they hung out on the street and were immediately called a gang and sent to juvey… These are less lives than nightmares, and their intention is clear: to rid the country of the descendants of slaves once and for all. Prison is the new slavery, and the constant oppression is enough to drive anyone to crime. A circular reasoning that is anything but accidental. READ IT and then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!

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  51. Joan Greenbaum

    This is a must read–extremely well written, engrossing and as close to the experience of true life in a black poor community as has been written in the last few decades.

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  52. TooCute

    This book had me fired up! I wanted to read and listen to everything by this author. It’s so important to know how a movement started and how we fit in it. I was inspired to keep doing my part to make change happen in my community.

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  53. Phyl

    I’m beginning to read more books focused on the racial injustices black lives have endured. This memoir is gripping.

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  54. David Southworth

    I am a 67 year old white man raised in the South. This is a wonderful book. I found it interesting to compare and contrast this book with Hillbilly Elegy. Both books describe a childhood hard for a middle class kid to adequately grasp; but the writers emerge into very different places. J.D. Vance escapes from his childhood hell, aided by a probably unknown and still unacknowledged privilege. Consequently, he elevates his ‘escape’ as a journey based on his own effort, integrity and intention. Patrisse Khan-Cullors, black and gay is born into similar economic circumstances… but the deck is stacked. She realizes that escape can only occur through commitment to community, a community she must cobble together herself. Together the two books provide a very real picture of white privilege. J, D. Vance doesn’t see it, doesn’t get it, because it would ruin his fairy tale story of self salvation. Both stories are tragedies of people thrown away by a heartless economic system. Vance rises above his circumstances aided by the invisible structures of privilege. The impoverished black community of Khan-Cullors family knows no such privilege; and that is our collective sin and shame.

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  55. Susan C.

    I cried through a lot of this book. As a daughter of privilege and a lifelong activist for social change I have seen the beast at its source. I applaud you Patrisse Cullors, from one American sister to another. We will realize that beacon on the hill and bring this nation to a far truer multi racial/cultural democracy. Thank you for your amazing work.

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  56. GeeBilly

    Beautifully written memoir of a young, sensitive black girl growing wise in a family buffeted by the drug war and economic policies of the Reagan & Clinton era. It’s so sad, but so warm. It’s so smart and full of heart too. Contextualizes her family struggles in terms of state and national policy. Very very effective. The best thing I’ve read in a very long time. (I just bought 4 more copies for friends and family).

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  57. Karina Guerrero

    SUCH A BEAUTIFUL MEMOIR!!!! I cried in almost every chapter. Very well written on the matters of today’s Hispanic and Black lives. I had to buy this book for a college English class but am not disappointed whatsoever.

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  58. Sharon Julius

    This was an excellent work describing the life experiences of Patrisse Cullors.We get a bird’s-eye view of how an activist is born, and the domestic terrorism in the United States against the marginalized people in our American society.

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  59. Donald Fye

    In terms of the nature and origins of the BLM movement. This white female liberal from the South has so much to learn about the ongoing consequences of trauma due to racism and patriarchy in our nation! This book inspired me to want to learn more and DO more.

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  60. MES0728

    This book is excellent. I can see the author’s care and love for her community and she fleshes out the injustices that white people don’t usually see. Her stories about her brother Monte are particularly compelling. The movement she began is centered on voices otherwise ignored. I highly recommend this book.

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  61. Dawn Knight

    This book was such a great read. Patrisse Khans-Cullors did a great job describing her childhood and experience living in an urban neighborhood. I found myself getting emotional when she discussed her mother working several jobs and father (the man at the time she thought was her bio dad) abandoning the family. She discussed in great detail how he did not help them financially which at times they had to eat cereal with water. I also loved how she incorporated her brother’s journey being targeted not only due to being a black man, but also having a mental illness. The social injustices he experienced as a person with Schizoaffective Disorder is something I’ve seen first hand working in social services and often gets overlooked. Patrisse also did an excellent job at incorporating the oppression of the LGBTQ community as they encounter daily injustices as well. Overall, I’d rate this book a 5 out of 5 as I feel it was super enlightening whether you have experienced/witnessed social injustice or not 📚🤗☺.

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  62. Sili

    Outstanding book by an outstanding human being! This is a book for those in the movement, for those in the fringes, and for anyone who has ever thought “all lives matter”. Here lies bare Patrisse’s truth and her life as witness, breaking down why that statement is beyond comprehension and deeply rooted in white supremacy.

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  63. Selena Richardson

    If you want to understand why we are angry. Why we are scares. Why we hide. Why we fight. Why we cry. Why we find strength. Then read this book.

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  64. Victoria Watson

    This book opened my eyes to aspects of life I should have known better, more deeply and more clearly, especially being an educated black woman. Thank you Patrisse an asha.

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  65. Hildi Hendrickson, Ph.D.

    This book is a miracle that rises from some of the most terrible truths there are about American life. With passion, honesty and generosity, Khan-Cullors and Bandele speak about the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. If anyone doubts that this movement is founded in devastating truth and peaceable to its roots, reading this book will change their understanding of both the reality that these activists are responding to and the humanist methods of protest they have chosen. I have just ordered this book to use in a Social Science Senior Seminar on Non-violence. While deeply and rightfully disturbing, this book and its message — right down to the gorgeous production given the text by St. Martin’s Press — are a triumph of healing, compassion and wisdom over violence as an institutionalized way of life in America. This book points the way to a better future.

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  66. TB

    Incredible book! 10/10 would recommend to anyone. There are a lot of people in my extended family who do not understand the Black Lives Matter movement, I will definitely be encouraging them to read this book and hopefully they will gain some perspective.

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  67. Alease

    This is such an amazing read for anyone who wants information on the BLM movement and who is discovering anti-racism.

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  68. Grace Schmid

    Such a good look at the black lives matter movement and a look at someone whose life was deeply impacted by ignorance and bigotry towards black people in our country. It makes me sick reading and knowing where we’re at in this country now but stories like this give me hope for the future.

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  69. S. MccoyS. Mccoy

    This book is required reading. Thank you Patrisse and Asha for writing your story to help illuminate all of our stories. This is a canonical work that needs to be amplified. I cried most of the way through this book out of shear pain and recognition.

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  70. Jeanne Guy

    I am at a loss for words after reading Patrice Khan-Cullor’s story. She is definitely an accomplished storyteller and offers the reader an honest, personal, and compelling assessment of the dehumanization of Blacks and the absolute need for abolishing that by creating a new and loving society based on equality for ALL people. One of the best personal and universally important memoirs I’ve ever read.

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  71. Elena Swan

    I read this book for class last semester in my Black Freedom Struggles course in college. This book offers a lot of context behind the Black Lives Matter movement and reveals a side of the police/justice system in the U.S. that a lot of people would rather turn a blind eye to or not talk about. My only criticism is that there are a lot of flashbacks and moments where the author will take a break from telling the present story to bring up a memory from her past. It was a little distracting, but I could still follow it ok. Aside from that, great book.

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  72. Amazon Customer

    This is a very insightful and great read. I learned a great deal about BLM and it’s genuine pursuits of justice and love for all.

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  73. Kindle CustomerMe.

    Thank you for teaching this 58 yr old white woman, of Sicilian decent, about life…about life as you, and those of Black descent, know it. I thought I was a basically open-minded, Democratic Progressive. Now I know why I NEED to be.My 23 yr old daughter and I co-read books (we live 2,500 miles apart) and then discuss. This book brought us closer in spirit.Thank you for everything you have taught/given to me, my daughter, and everyone else will stop to read, ingest and digest this book!

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  74. Laura S. Minor

    I put off reading this book for too long because others told me to read books that were being discussed more or which were on a bestseller list. I should have read this one earlier. Patrisse Cullors has an important story and message. I loved this book and I will continue my work to amplify Black voices and BLM values and will recommend this book actively.

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  75. Danielle D.

    This book is incredible. This is a story that NEEDS to be told. WHITE PEOPLE, ORDER THIS BOOK NOW. Thank you, Patrisse Khan-Cullors.

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  76. Jimmy from Buffalo, NY

    I saw the authors on Democracy Now! and the peek into the book made me want to learn more about BLM. Time and again I have heard their pleas for social justice followed by the dismissal, “All lives matter.” I have always rejected that notion. But growing up White, I had no clue what life was like for Black families. This book was a real eye-opener, and I could not put it down. It forced me to recognize and confront my privilege (how could I have been so oblivious?). We were poor, but our struggles were minor, compared to what Patrisse’s family endured. I so admire her and I thank her for bringing her world into my awareness. I thank her for sharing her love and her beautiful spirit.

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  77. Michael Sullivan

    I discovered this book just after arguing with someone who insisted BLM was a terrorist group! I have supported the main goals of BLM, but not all their tactics. This book helped me see how the life experiences of the author lead her to her views. I did not agree with every thing she said, but that is not the point. I got a lot out of reading this book. I’m am trying to get my friend to read it, but I’m not optimistic.

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  78. Ang_582_ela

    Everyone should read this book to view the human side of Ms Khan-Cullors to understand her mission in life to take a stance for others. She is her authentic self.

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  79. alexandra r.

    I was always a supporter of BLM and unfortunately would regurgitate positive things I had heard about them without truly understanding their mission.Her personal story is integral as to why she helped found BLM.The specific examples of systemic brutality used again minority communities is insightful as to why this movement is needed.I’m glad I read this as I learned a lot from the specific examples given and highly recommend to anyone who doesn’t know what BLM is all about or to someone who doesn’t believe in the movement so they at least get a different point of view than what is portrayed in the media. #sayhername #blacklivesmatter

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  80. Sarhanna K. Smith

    This story is one that should be read and embraced by all. Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele are our community’s truth-tellers. I preordered this book and completed it the day I received it. I could not put it down. It is every bit of 5 stars! Please read this book and share it with others.

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  81. Loves2Read

    Patrisse opens up her life traumas in an accessible, compelling way that helps connect the dots between abstract concepts like systemic racism and real, lived experience. The book should be required reading for everyone who grew up with white privilege. It gives deep insight into the true depth of America’s commitment to white supremacy and the amazing work being done to combat it.

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  82. purpleeyore

    Wow. This book explains the systematic racism in ther usa with a real and emotional true story. Patrisse is a smart, driven, and motivational writer. I’m so thankful for this book and provoked to take action.

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  83. Jim Reader

    Beautifully written, deeply personal, often emotionally devastating, this book speaks to my mind and heart.It’s a brilliant beginning to educating oneself.I cannot recommend it highly enough.

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  84. Frank H.

    Well written and so thought provoking. Clearly lays out the issues with the law and people of color. I would love to recommend the book to many with the wish that they better understand the struggles described in the text. The case is made that we all need to act to end the injustice described in the book.

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  85. Arva J Davis

    I found this book very inspiring and hopeful. I am also glad I read it too, because it gave me a real understanding how and why this movement started in the first place. Once you become informed it makes a huge difference. I didn’t even know that Black Lives Matter (BLM) was created by three women. I listened to an interview Patrisse Khan-Cullors had on Sirius XM that played a role in me wanting to read this book. I think once you read her memoir, a lot of the myths and false stories about BLM will be clarified. “When we know better we do better.” (Words by Maya Angelou)

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  86. rosalynerosalyne

    I met Patrisse in 2004 when I was overseeing a federally funded study for transitional aged youth dealing with addiction and gang related offenses. Patrisse lit up a room with her laughter, her smile, her energy, and her love. Her and Jason were my favorite people at that job. I had no idea the power of this woman and the greatness her energy would be to make such a difference locally, nationally, and internationally. “When they call you a terrorist” is a brilliantly written book that should be used in race and class teachings, gender studies, anthropological studies, sociology classes, as well as self help books on how to truly use your energy wisely against all odds. This young bright colourful queer woman has done more in her young years than many of false privilege in their/our life time. Back then I was a little Leary of her posse, her community, in the way in which they all worked so closely together and appeared to be enmeshed. I had no idea the power of this village of young people and how they carried each other through life’s madness. My only wish is that I knew Mark Anthony was straight as I wouldve tried to turn on the charm and get that gorgeous man to have a taste for the old cougar of little colour LOL. Although I am sure I could never have competed with the power of Patrisse Khan-Cullors. I am so so proud of her and all of those surrounding. her that are truly making a difference….BravoRosalyne Blumenstein LCSW ACHP-SWAuthor Branded T

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  87. Buckeye99

    Great book. It has something every person can relate to; race, MH, sexuality, poverty, etc. if you can’t find something you aren’t human.

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  88. Marie G.

    I cried reading this book, perhaps even more than some fiction I’ve read in years. Patrisse has done an incredible job of helping us to understand what it’s like to live as a black person in the United States, especially in the ghetto. More than ever I am committed to my activism to save our democracy and improve social justice and humanity in our country. I also read “A Colony in the Nation” by Chris Hayes, yet another very enlightening book that helps white America understand what it’s like to be a black person in America, I recommend both of these books.

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  89. FEM PhD

    Eye opening, informative, and much needed in the current political climate. Khan-Cullors opens her own world to us and shares her most personal stories while demonstrating the incredible racial injustice that continues to exist in the US. I’ve adopted this book for a course I teach and my students have had a strong response. This is a must read for everyone.

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    When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir
    When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir

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