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April 29, 2019 @ 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
D. Watkins discusses his new book We Speak For Ourselves: A Word From Forgotten Black America.
Praise for We Speak for Ourselves
“D. Watkins is uniquely equipped to communicate our political and social challenges of urban America, not only through the lens of academia but through empirical knowledge as well. He is the voice of the future seamlessly blending the wisdom of the streets and intellectual prowess in a way I have never experienced before.” —Jada Pinkett Smith
“Reading We Speak for Ourselves, I can’t help but admire D Watkins. He is not another elite voice for the voiceless. He is, this book is, an amplifier of low income Black voices who have their own voices and have no problem using them. He dares us to listen.” —Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning author of Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America
“In a time of blunt-bladed posturing and hyperbolized impact, We Speak For Ourselves, is a sharp gash into the psyche of America. Written as a relentless slice of his own life, Watkins avoids pretense as he puts language to his jagged experiences, not to encourage voyeurism, but to instead push people to grapple and wrestle with the real lives so many talking heads attempt to muzzle, then fictionalize. Watkins has come to remind us, everyone deserves the opportunity to speak for themselves. Everyone.” – Jason Reynolds, New York Times bestselling author & National Book Award finalist, Long Way Down
“We Speak for Ourselves is full of insight into the America that serves as grist for the American dream. Its pages are abundant with wisdom and wit; integrity and love, not to mention enough laughs for a stand-up comedy routine.Over and over again, I found myself saying ‘yes, yes, he’s right’ and ultimately finished feeling inspired to do better, to be more. D Watkins proves, once again, why he isn’t just a writer of the people but a people’s literary champ for the here, now, and tomorrow.” –Mitchell S. Jackson, author of Survival Math: Notes on an All-American Family
About We Speak for Ourselves
From the row houses of Baltimore to the stoops of Brooklyn, with searing conviction and full compassion, D. Watkins, New York Times bestselling author of The Cook Up and The Beast Side lays bare the voices of the most vulnerable and allows their raw, intimate stories to uncover the systematic injustice threaded within our society. Honest and eye-opening, We Speak for Ourselves makes us listen, feel, and create a course toward change that starts right where we are.
Watkins introduces you to Down Bottom, the storied community of East Baltimore that holds a mirror to America’s poor black neighborhoods—“hoods” that could just as easily be in Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, or Atlanta. As Watkins sees it, the perspective of people who live in economically disadvantaged black communities is largely absent from the commentary of many top intellectuals who speak and write about race.
Unapologetic and sharp-witted, D. Watkins is here to tell the truth as he has seen it. We Speak for Ourselves offers an in-depth analysis of inner-city hurdles and honors the stories therein. We sit in underfunded schools, walk the blocks burdened with police corruption, stand within an audience of Make America Great Again hats, journey from trap house to university lecture, and rally in neglected streets. And we listen.
Watkins shares the lessons he has learned while navigating through two very distinct worlds—the hood and the elite sanctums of prominent black thinkers and public figures—serving hope to fellow Americans who are too often ignored and calling on others to examine what it means to be a model activist in today’s world. We Speak for Ourselves is a must-read for all who are committed to social change.