Social justice is an ideal. It's not a reality. And while there are moments that make it feel tantalizingly close, the moment that follows often punts it right back to the far distance. Growing up black in south Seattle, journalist and essayist Marcus Harrison Green has a keen sense of exactly where and how things break down. From his own experience in the classroom and at the hands of police to his fierce dissection of the racism baked into media and journalism, Green makes poetry of the clarity that comes after long reflection.
In this collection, Green bears sharp witness to the Black Lives Matter movement, his own journey into and out of religious faith, his grandmother's lessons, his battle with bipolar disorder, human mortality, blatant hypocrisy, and much more.
He shines a light on what hurts the most deeply in us: not only the brutal injustice of a world built by the powerful for the powerful, but the close proximity of that brutality to a persistent kernel of hope.
Yet because there is hope, there is conviction. Green never falters in the knowledge that the struggle itself is something to tie ourselves to and define ourselves by. With astute analyses, evocative imagery, profound empathy, and the ability to laugh at it all, these essays, even with their collective weight, leave us much lighter than they found us.
Finalist for the Washington State Book Award for Creative Nonfiction