Fighting Injustice with Literature

Black Futures Matter

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Fighting Injustice with literature

By CROWN SHEPHERD

On May 26th, 2020, Minneapolis was rocked again with yet another police killing of an unarmed black man, releasing the city and the nation’s sorrow, confusion, and, most of all, rage!

I watched as my people stormed the streets, uplifting their voices, raising their fist and asking for Justice.

I joined in as people express themselves through art on the walls of burned and looted buildings; as they littered the streets with flowers and hand-painted signs. As they came together and started pop-up food drives and essential giveaways around the city, to ensure no one in the went without.

I cried with them as we marched the streets and screamed his name over and over again. I ran with them when MPD chased us from our peaceful protest.

And, I was scared with them when a semi came barreling at us 70 mph.

Throughout all of this, there was one constant. One thing that rang out through all the confusion and sorrow. One thing that MPD, the national guard, or the President couldn’t take from us and that was Hope.
Hope for change. Hope for Justice. Hope for Hope’s sake.

“At a time when we still have to shout that Black lives matter, I wanted to prompt the Black boys who I loved
to envision all the possibilities before them,” Shepherd explained. “I wanted them to picture a future of
positivity and hope—one of pride in their own greatness and power.”

A great friend of mine (Maxwell Mense), decided to do his part by spreading hope through Black Boy, Black Boy. Even before the protesting started, Mense would buy my book and give it out to little boys he saw around the city, “Every little black boy needs this book, and every chance I get, I hand one out. It’s the best part of my day sometimes. ” Mense said.

Seeing an opportunity to bless scared little rebels on the frontline, Mense grabbed a stack of Black Boy, Black Boy, and started handing them out at a peaceful protest on 38th & Chicago. Stating, “This is the best way I know how to protest.”

This simple, yet genius gesture, prompted me to open my eyes and see my mission. To see that everything I wanted for Black Boy, Black Boy was screaming his name, screaming for justice, screaming for their future.

We handed out books on 38th & Chicago, Lake Street & Minnehaha, Fremont & Broadway, and, during the 10k march in downtown Minneapolis.

In the midst of it all, I got to see little boys read my book in the middle of the street and say, “look, mom, it’s me.”

I got to see precisely the power my book holds.

Arming myself with over 200 books, and 1800 dollars in donation, I decided to peaceful protest by handing out signed copies of my book to every Black Boy I encountered. 

We were also gifted with books from Dr. Artika Tyner, so the girls weren’t left out. 

Artika not only gifted us with her book Justice Make a Difference, but she gifted us with a multitude of black girl books. 

We are still receiving donations and handing out books. 

To follow our story click the links below.

Fighting Injustice with literature

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