Saturday, June 22, 2024 Jun 22, 2024
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Michael Waters Helps You Talk To Your Kids About Police Violence

The South Dallas reverend wrote For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World a few years ago, but it's just as timely now.

The first children’s book by the Rev. Dr. Michael Waters, senior pastor at Dallas’ Abundant Life AME Church, feels like it might have been written over the past few months, in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in May and the protests it inspired. It wasn’t. Unfortunately, For Beautiful Black Boys Who Believe in a Better World (illustrated by Keisha Morris), is as timely now as it was when Waters wrote it a couple of years ago, and it would have been just as timely in the years and decades before that.

The story—a mother and father trying to talk to their little boy about gun violence and racially motivated killings, inspired by the author’s own son Jeremiah—hasn’t stopped being relevant. But the message in it, the better world it believes in, will hopefully one day make it obsolete, something that will make those who happen upon it screw up their face in confusion that we ever let this happen.

But right now, it remains essential reading. For Beautiful Black Boys touches on the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Edwards, and more, but manages to end on a hopeful note, providing a gentle way of broaching the topic with kids. For more help, the book includes a discussion guide put together by Louisville’s Muhammad Ali Center.

Since Louisville has been another flashpoint in these past few months—over the killing of Breonna Taylor, shot and killed in her bed by police who have still not been arrested or charged—it only deepens the resonance to our current moment. If you have young children, I suggest keeping a copy at hand for whenever the news comes on. And I suggest you help them keep dreaming. And I suggest that you help them make that better world.