Demonstrating the connection between history, lived experience and the necessity for present-day activism, “When They Call You a Terrorist” is the powerful memoir by Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter movement.
The book is the 2021 selection for UCSB Reads and is both the focus of, and directly related to, multiple events throughout the winter and spring quarters. Free copies are being distributed to students this week at the UCSB Campus Store walkup window, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Black Lives Matter is rooted in the fatal shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin and the subsequent acquittal of the man who shot him. Cullors’ memoir describes her experience as a Black, queer woman in the United States, who was raised in Los Angeles by a single mother. She recounts her experiences with racism in the criminal justice system, as well as the origins of the movement for racial justice that inspired an unprecedented number of protests across the country after the death of George Floyd.
“When They Call You a Terrorist,” written with asha bandele, provides an intersectional analysis of the Black Lives Matter movement that UCSB Reads organizers hope will stimulate timely and important discussions with students, faculty and the Santa Barbara community.
From January through May, the UCSB Library will sponsor virtual talks, panel discussions, film screenings, book clubs, exhibitions and other events to explore the book’s themes. It all culminates on May 12 with a free, live, virtual public lecture by Cullors, an artist, organizer, educator and popular public speaker. She is co-founder and executive director of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, and founder of the Los Angeles-based grassroots organization Dignity and Power Now.
Upcoming UCSB Reads and related events — all being held online — include:
• Wednesday, Jan. 13, 4 p.m. — “Pacific Views: Social Justice Advocacy and the Culture of Outrage,” a lecture by Professor Tania Israel, offers a blueprint for dialogue-based social justice.
• Monday, Jan. 25, 4 p.m. — Sameer Pandya and Terence Keel discuss Pandya’s recent novel “Members Only,” which engages with issues of racial politics and campus culture and considers the nature of brownness.
• Tuesday, Feb. 2, 4 p.m. — A talk with book artist and printmaker Tia Blassingame, of Scripps College, whose work explores the intersection of race, history and perception.
• Wednesday, Feb. 10, 12 p.m. — The Revolution Will Not Be Theorized: Cultural Revolution in the Black Power Era, featuring Errol Anthony Henderson of Penn State University. Part of the ongoing series “Anti-Blackness: Difficult Dialogues,” in partnership with UCSB Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
• Friday, Feb. 26, 12 p.m.: How ‘Diversity’ Underdeveloped Higher Education, with Joyce Bell, of University of Minnesota. Part of the ongoing series “Anti-Blackness: Difficult Dialogues,” in partnership with UCSB Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
• Wednesday March 31, 12 p.m.: We Charge Genocide!: The Mental and Physical Tolls of Racial Battle Fatigue among Black People, a talk by William Smith, University of Utah; part of the ongoing series, “Anti-Blackness: Difficult Dialogues,” in partnership with UCSB Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
• Friday, April 23, 12 p.m.: Intersectional Iconography: Promise, Peril, Possibility, featuring Jennifer Nash of Duke University; an “Anti-Blackness: Difficult Dialogues” event, in partnership with UCSB Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
• Friday, May 7, 12 p.m.: Using Data to Fight Racism and Police Violence, with Samuel Sinyangwe, co-founder of We the Protestors; an “Anti-Blackness: Difficult Dialogues” event, in partnership with UCSB Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
“There’s a lot of enthusiasm and interest around the 2021 pick and a desire to explore the themes of racial justice, equity and activism,” said Alex Regan, events and exhibitions librarian at UCSB Library. “Faculty across many departments are incorporating the book into their teaching this winter and spring, which shows how relevant this year’s pick is for our current time.”
Now in its 15th year, UCSB Reads aims to bring the campus and Santa Barbara communities together to read a common book that explores compelling issues of our time.