The Day Tajon Got Shot
Foreword INDIES Book of the Year 2018
“In the Margins” Book of the Year 2018
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?
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 child of the cop, who loves her 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 read it.
Authors at Work
Awards, Media, and Reviews
2018 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year (in the young author category)
2018 “In the Margins” Book of the Year (for books appealing to at-risk teens)
As well as being placed locally in every DC public middle and high school, this national attention has prompted over 1,300 educators, librarians, and booksellers across the country to order copies. Teen authors have been profiled on TV, radio, and in print, and are in demand as speakers, representing the youth voice in discussions about gun violence and #BlackLivesMatter.
School Library Journal – "10 Books to Read After The Hate U Give"
The Kojo Nnamdi Show, WAMU – "How Ten Teen Girls from D.C. Wrote a Novel About A Fictional Police Shooting"
WUSA 9 – "Local teens write a novel about police-involved shootings"
Rich in Color review
DC Public Library Author Talk - February 8, 2018
Black Lit Matters: Unheard Voices on Race and Justice - AWP Conference