Yesterday a community engagement event was held in Ladera Park so the community could unpack themes and messages from The Hate You Give.
The Hate U Give is a coming of age novel by Angie Thomas which follows 16-year-old Starr Carter.
While Carter is dealing with the duality of her Black neighborhood and white high school, she is suddenly drawn to activism after witnessing the police shooting of her childhood friend. The book deals with the complexities of identity, code-switching, as well as police brutality.
The book was published February 28, 2017 by Balzer + Bray and debuted at number one on The New York Times best-seller list for 50 weeks. The book has also received several awards. Thomas expanded a paper she wrote in college while following police shootings of Black men such as Oscar Grant.
The session was led by community organizers that included people like Shamell Bell, a PhD student at UCLA. Bell led those in attendance through meditation exercises so people were focused on mindfulness.
Bell instructed people to form a circle and say positive affirmations about themselves while clapping to a rhythmic beat using their hands and thighs.
Attendees received a bag with a poster, were RSVP’d for a early screening of the movie Oct. 6 and a book that Angie Thomas purchased herself.
‘She saw on Instagram that we were holding this event and that I was going to buy the books myself so she paypaled me the money. She really cares about community.”
Bell worked as a consultant on the film and explained to those in attendance that certain aspects of the film may be triggering due to the content of police shootings and inner city community uprisings.
After the exercises and a light lunch, two teenagers sat in front of the crowd and read their favorite passages from the book. They also explained why those passages were impactful; touching on wanting to know more about the oppression of Black people and how much they related to the character.
“The movie is powerful, entertaining and touches on a lot of great topics, but I wanted to make sure that people were able to process it and they were able to have healing mechanisms,” Bell explained.