The Day Tajon Got Shot
We started writing this book in March 2015 with one central question: What happens in a community when another black youth is a wrongful victim of violence by police?
In other words, what if something like “Ferguson” happened right here in NE DC?
The examples in the real world just keep coming -- Mike Brown, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Freddie Gray. It’s happening. It’s complicated. One issue is the unnecessary use of force by police against anyone, of any gender or race or age. Another issue is the preponderance of such violence against one particular group: young black men. We ask: Why?
We know this is a highly-charged issue, and our interest is not to fan the flames of anger or division. Rather we want to get beyond the #hashtags and explore the complexity of how it feels to be a human being on all sides of this event. We want to walk inside someone else’s shoes and try to understand what it’s like:
- To be the black boy who is always assumed to be up to no good.
- To be the parent of a black boy who must always fear for his safety.
- To be the friend (or sister or girlfriend) who grieves/rages/defends, becomes an activist or slips into despair
- To be the cop who commits the violence--perhaps out of fear, perhaps out of bias--and has to deal with the repercussions of his actions, to privately self-examine, to publicly self-defend
- To be the wife or child of the cop, who loves her husband/father, but may have complicated reactions to what has happened
- To be a witness, directly or indirectly, who must consider how to respond in a community torn apart, who can choose to sow division or to build a bridge
This books builds on the tradition of Trinitoga--an insightful and uncensored view into the lives of smart, brave, passionate African-American young women in NE DC--with a new angle. In Trinitoga these authors explored the complex relationships between family, and they did so unflinchingly, and with heart.
With this book we wanted to do something more: to give these writers a chance to enter a national conversation that has become a new generation’s fight in our country's ongoing Civil Rights Movement. This book can make a powerful statement in a unique and compelling way, and it gives both these writers and their readers a chance to explore hot-button issues of race and violence in a way that is sophisticated and necessarily complex. These stories go beyond the headlines to explore the perspectives of people on all sides of the discussion. The book is powerful, and timely, and tremendously ambitious on behalf of these authors. We cannot wait for you to be able to read it.
Authors at Work
Help Us Make It Happen
This book represents our most ambitious project yet, both in its scope, its structure, its time, and its importance. It is a real investment. Since March 2015, our authors, story coaches, photo coaches, editors, and designers, have put in hundreds of hours of work. But we know it'll be worth it when our authors can engage other young people around the country to have honest, empathetic, complex, brave discussions about topics like race and violence.
If you believe this is a worthy goal, support this work. Help us empower a new class of authors, spark meaningful conversation amongst their readers, and diversify bookshelves everywhere with necessary unheard voices. Support the campaign for The Day Tajon Got Shot.