Every day in America someone is killed by police. Many of those killed are unarmed. A disproportionate number, of course, are Black, Latino, and Native American. Children are among the many victims. In the fall of 2022, it was announced that three Philadelphia police officers would stand trial for a shooting that killed 8-year-old Fanta Bility as she was riding in a car they mistakenly thought carried a criminal suspect.
An NPR investigative report in 2021 by Cheryl Thompson suggests that lack of accountability, and fear-driven policies by police departments, are key reasons the number of killings remains steady.
Even with, and perhaps because of, this depressing trend, authors are producing works for children and people of all ages to help us imagine news ways forward. And we’re doing it with faith, hope, love, peace, power, and positive Identities, or as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called it, “somebodiness.”
As a children’s book author, I’ve spent the past year sharing SAY THEIR NAMES with more than a thousand children, parents, teachers, librarians, and adults from many walks of life and diverse racial and ethnic heritages.
They’ve read with me, sang with me, cried with me, and been willing to enthusiastically spread the word about the importance of saying their names. I hope, as the magnificent Illustrator Adrian Brandon, Reycraft Books, and I celebrate the first book birthday of SAY THEIR NAMES, that you will support us. You can support us by buying books, posting about your experience with it, and inviting us to read, speak, and sing this country, this world, into a new day where we no longer, prematurely, have to say their names.