Sherilyn Bennett, compiling author of “boy: Defending Our Black Sons’ Identity in America” is coming to Dallas for a book signing at the Pan-African Connection on Saturday June 12th (Noon-3 PM). As the world watched George Floyd’s life slip away beneath the knee of now-convicted former officer Derek Chauvin, Bennett knew that she needed to do something. After hearing the once again infamous epithet, ‘I Can’t Breathe”, Bennett sprang into action.
What began as a call to action to other mothers on social media morphed into the book project affectionately referred to as “The Boy Book.” Bennett’s two sons were victims of systemic racism and racial profiling on their respective college campuses, so Bennett wants to ensure this behavior doesn’t continue. In the process of hosting conversations with mothers, Bennett discovered that her son had withheld details of what he’d experienced, desiring to protect her from secondhand emotional horror.
Bennett not only included stories from mothers around the country, but she has also included ahistorical perspective from foremost African-American historian and lecturer, the late Dr. Patricia Hilliard Nunn, a mental health perspective from Stephanie Brinkley Wellon, LMHC, and a legal perspective from Najah Adams, ESQ.
“There is a history of black men being sacrificial lambs…it has to stop. The lynching, the shooting, the disregard of their humanity. They are our sons, brothers, husbands, fathers, uncles, grandfathers, and leaders. They were never American boys.”Dr. Patricia Hilliard- Nunn
What Ms. Bennett hopes to spread is not only awareness of the pervasiveness of racism but hope to mothers whose children have experienced the degradation of systemic racism and police brutality. Mrs. Gwen Carr (Eric Garner’s mother) has lent her voice to the book as foreword author. Along with Ms. Bennett, Mrs. Carr is traveling the country informing citizens of their power. As a testament to her tenacity, Mrs. Carr along with her family and citizens of New York celebrated the passing of the Eric Garner Anti-Chokehold Act which not only banned the chokehold that killed her son.In a major victory for citizens and perhaps the heftiest point in the legislation, the act made use of the chokehold a felony if not used employed when an officer’s life is not in danger. Ms. Bennett and Mrs. Carr will be in Dallas to not only connect with readers but to hear the stories of survivors, connect with families seeking justice, and galvanize citizens, encouraging them to know that justice can be won and empowering them to get in the fight for justice. It does take tenacity and grit, but most importantly the decision to move as Mrs. Carr says, “from demonstration (protests) to legislation.”
Books can be purchased on Amazon and all other major book retailers.