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How Books Can Help Us Grieve & Take Action

Kevin Peterson, Jr., was murdered by police in Vancouver, Washington, last night. We live just across the bridge from where he died. Kevin Peterson, Jr., a young Black man, a father, a son, a beloved, was murdered by police last night.

And we are grieving. We are angry. We are activated. Sometimes, books can help us grieve. They can help us understand. They can be part of our process. This morning, Kim Johnson's This Is My America was really speaking to us. Kim Johnson is from Oregon. Her book is about systemic racism, violence, and incarceration of Black men and criminalization of Black boys. It is also about a sister, a daughter, a young Black woman who is not silent, who fights for her dad and her brother and against this system. My daughter Vera and I spent some time talking about how to honor and Kevin Peterson, Jr., and all of the other Black folx murdered by police...and we made this as part of our share with you.

I was talking to a friend at a local bookstore about what books are selling now; there has been a decrease in sales of books about anti-racism and race in the U.S. Readers want lighter fare. But it is not the time to stop our learning, showing up, and fighting. It is not time to stop the resistance. It is the time to fight harder.

If you have a stack of anti-racist reading on your shelf or by your bedside and you haven't been reading, start again. If you jotted down some titles that you heard that felt important, put them on hold at the library or pick them up from your local bookstore. And don't just read but talk. And don't just talk but show up. Show up with your voice, with your body, with your sign, with your love, with your anger.

And if we at Reading Is Resistance can support you in any way as part of this showing up, let us know. Join us in our winter Read for Justice reading and action, build your anti-racist and anti-bias vocabulary, read with your kiddos or your students. Never again is now. It's right now.


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