Black Lives Matter Co-Founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors and Drug Policy Alliance’s asha bandele Publish Timely & Inspiring Book, With Critically-Acclaimed Reviews and Foreword by Angela Davis

Press Release January 4, 2018
Media Contact

Tony Newman, Drug Policy Alliance 646-335-5384
Gabrielle Gantz, St. Martin’s Press 646-307-5698

“Steeped in humanity and powerful prose … This is an eye-opening and eloquent coming-of-age story from one of the leaders in the new generation of social activists.” Publishers Weekly, starred review

“With great candor about her complex personal life, Khan-Cullors has created a memoir as compelling as a page-turning novel.” Booklist, starred review

“This searing, timely look into a contemporary movement from one of its crucial leading voices belongs in all collections.” — Library Journal Review, starred review

From one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, who helped turn a hashtag into global movement, comes a poetic memoir and reflection on humanity co-authored with award-winning author, journalist and activist, asha bandele. Necessary and timely, WHEN THEY CALL YOU A TERRORIST: A Black Lives Matter Memoir (St. Martin’s Press; January 16, 2018; $24.99 hardcover), asks us to remember that protest in the interest of the most vulnerable comes from love. Patrisse and other leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement have been called terrorists and a threat to America. But in truth, they are loving women whose life experiences have led them to seek justice for those victimized by the powerful.

WHEN THEY CALL YOU A TERRORIST takes an intimate look at Khan-Cullors’ childhood in in Van Nuys, California—an epicenter of the drug war. Surrounded by a devoted family and supportive friends, Khan-Cullor’s experience is woven into a larger narrative about the constant and hostile presence and actions of law enforcement against primarily young Black and Latino people. From the harsh actions of the police, to the lack of basic social and medical services, Khan-Cullors and bandele show how the absence of personal security and dignity makes daily life an act of survival.

The book is garnering extensive praise – chosen as one of the “Best Books of the Month” by Amazon, selected as one of “13 books to read in January” by Entertainment Weekly, and highlighted as one of the “most anticipated books of January 2018” by Vogue.

In WHEN THEY CALL YOU A TERRORIST, Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele seek to change the culture that declares innocent Black life expendable.

“In America, we incarcerate pain and trauma, rather than treat it. That’s what was done to my family and so many others. In many ways, this book is about exposing these kind of unacceptable choices and suggesting another way is possible,” said Patrisse Khan Cullors.

“The hope I have in telling this story, is that people will finally locate pathology where it belongs – with our nation’s drug war and criminal justice policies. They make us less safe, cause more harm than good, and have been used as tools to destabilize, rather than undergird, Black, Brown and poor people,” said asha bandele, a senior director at the Drug Policy Alliance.


PATRISSE KHAN-CULLORS is an artist, organizer, and freedom fighter from Los Angeles, CA. Co-founder of Black Lives Matter, she is also a performance artist, Fulbright scholar, popular public speaker, and an NAACP History Maker. In 2016, Patrisse received the Defender of the Dream Award from the AFL-CIO Executive Council Committee on Civil and Human Rights, the Revolution Award for Freedom from ImageNation Cinema Foundation, the Justice Award from National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Community Change Agent Award from BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Inc., and the Glamour Women of the Year Award for The Justice Seekers. In 2017, Khan-Cullors received the Sydney Peace Prize.

ASHA BANDELE, author of the best-selling and award-winning memoir, The Prisoner’s Wife, and four other works, has been honored for her work in journalism, fiction, poetry, and activism. A mother and a former senior editor at Essence magazine, asha serves as a senior director at the Drug Policy Alliance.

Two promotional videos are available:



January 12 at 7:00 pm – Los Angeles, CA
California African-American Museum
with Eso Won Books
Patrisse and asha in conversation with Melina Abdulla

January 14 at 3:00 pm – New York, NY
12th Annual WNYC Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration

January 15 at Afternoon TBA – Brooklyn, NY
Brooklyn Academy of Music
with Greenlight Books
Patrisse and asha in conversation with Rashad Robinson, Executive Director, Color of Change

January 16 at 6:30 pm – New York, NY
Schomburg Center
with The Strand
Patrisse and asha in conversation with Akiba Solomon, Editor-in –Chief, Colorlines

January 17 at 7:00 pm – Washington, DC
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Patrisse and asha in conversation with Michel Martin

January 18 at 7:30 pm – Philadelphia, PA
Philadelphia Free Library
with Joseph Fox Bookshop
Patrisse and asha in conversation with Dr. Marc Lamont Hill

February 15 at 7:30 pm – San Francisco, CA
Bay Area Book Festival and Mother Jones Speakers Series
Patrisse and asha in conversation with Jamilah King



AUTHORS: Patrisse Khan-Cullors and asha bandele
PUBLICATION DATE: January 16, 2018
PUBLISHER: St. Martin’s Press
HARDCOVER ISBN: 9781250171085; $24.99
EBOOK ISBN: 9781250171092; $11.99
DIGITAL AUDIO ISBN: 9781427294739; $23.99
AUDIO CD ISBN: 9781427294722; $39.99

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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