Patrisse Khan-Cullors, author of “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir,” will discuss her book tomorrow night on “Horizonte.”
Growing up in a Los Angeles immigrant suburb, Khan-Cullors talks about being young and living in an over-policed area where many people were over-incarcerated. She remembers what it was like to be handcuffed at age 12, and watch her brothers be directly criminalized.
“I realized that our communities were only given criminalization,” Khan-Cullors says. “We weren’t given after school programs, care and dignity. [There was only] a path that was focused on incarcerating our communities.”
The full interview will be shown on “Horizonte” on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 11:30 p.m.
BLACK LIVES MATTER CO-FOUNDER PATRISSE KAHN-CULLORS IS OUT WITH A NEW BOOK, IT'S TITLED "WHEN THEY CALL YOU A TERRORIST: A BLACK LIVES MATTER MEMOIR." SHE JOINED HORIZONTE HOST JOSE CARDENAS TO TALK ABOUT HER BOOK, HER LIFE AND THE BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT.
JOSE CARDENAS: Let's start with the survivor part. You grew up in Van Nuys, the Los Angeles area, surrounded by mostly affluent white area, and you were part of both worlds.
PATRISSE KHAN-CULLORS: Yes, I'm just grateful to be on the show. Thanks for having me. I grew up in Los Angeles, but when people hear Los Angeles, they think south central but I grew up in a suburb outside of the city called Van Nuys that was mostly Mexican immigrants, a few sprinkles of black communities, some poor white folks, but everyone was in poverty. My experience in that community was that it was overpoliced and so many in my community and my family were overincarcerated.
JOSE CARDENAS: The first few chapters of the book focus on interaction with police, particularly your brother Monte and your biological father Gabriel.
PATRISSE KHAN-CULLORS: That's right. I think for me growing up in Van Nuys, those early years shaped how I would understand my work, how I would understand this movement work. I grew up in a neighborhood, the police circled and patrolled every hour on the hour whether it was through cop cars or helicopters. I had my own experience at 12 years old, where I was handcuffed by the local police department in my middle school, and walked down the hallway in handcuffs. Up to that point, I had watched my brothers be directly criminalized so to be criminalized and puncture the myth that black girls aren't impacted by criminalization unfolded before my own eyes. In that experience, I think that I realized that our communities were only given criminalization. We weren't given after-school programs. We weren't given care and dignity. We were given a path specifically about incarcerating our communities.
JOSE CARDENAS: You talk about when you were arrested when you were 12 and in middle school, Milliken, a mostly white school. That drew contrast between how blacks and Latinos are created by the police and for the most part, whites are. You talk about one of your friend's brothers who was a drug dealer and you were shocked that he was never concerned about being arrested by police.
PATRISSE KHAN-CULLORS: I mean the memory is so etched in my mind. I remember walking into this home. It probably was his room, but all I remember was trash bags worth of drugs, whether it was marijuana or pills, and he was sorting it out with money. I had this moment like in my neighborhood if you are selling a nickel bag, the police are there. In this neighborhood, he is a drug dealer, and there is nobody here that is criminalizing him.
JOSE CARDENAS: Another aspect of the interaction with the same family. You talk about having dinner with your friend and her father and he asked you and her what do you want to be when you grow up, a question you were never asked and never thought of.
PATRISSE KHAN-CULLORS: It was a different family. I was very close to this person. I went to her home probably every weekend, had dinner with her and her siblings and her father and mother. It was a very nuclear family dynamic that I had never experienced, but what I would figure out and find out in that conversation, that was our slum lord. I was shocked. I couldn't fully reckon with this family living this very middle-classed life, and also being nice -- it was a nice family, and him being a landlord allowing for our building to be dilapidated.
TED SIMONS: You can watch the full interview WITH PATRISSE KHAN-CULLORS, THE CO-FOUNDER OF BLACK LIVES MATTER, TOMORROW ON HORIZONTE, AT 11:30PM. THURSDAY ON ARIZONA HORIZON, A CORPORATION COMMISSIONER TALKS ABOUT HIS PLAN TO INCREASE "CLEAN" ENERGY IN ARIZONA. AND A PEDIATRICIAN TALKS ABOUT THE LINK BETWEEN CHILDHOOD TRAUMA AND ADULT ILLNESS. THAT'S THURSDAY, ON "ARIZONA HORIZON." that's it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thanks for joining us. You have a great evening.
Patrisse Khan-Cullors: Author, “When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir”