"If you guys realized what truly happened to Eric, and what came out in that courtroom, this world would be livid," author Sherilyn Reed said as she recounted the words told to her by Gwen Carr, the mother of Eric Garner.
It was the stories such as these, like that of Eric Garner (who was killed by the chokehold of a New York City police officer), and many others that gave entrepreneur, now-turned-author Sherilyn Bennett, the motivation to pen the book "boy. Defending Our Black Sons' Identity in America". The author, along with Gwen Carr, will head to Dallas' Pan African Connection on June 12th for a book signing, and to connect with area families seeking justice on the multitude of racial and social inequities that currently exist within society.
"There is no greater loss than the loss of a child (no matter their age), and the pain is deeper when that child is taken prematurely and unjustly," Gwen Carr said. "I still endure this pain...but I now understand the purpose."
"The Boy Book", as it is affectionately called, features the letters (and pleas) of Black mothers across the nation, detailing traumatic stories of their Black sons, with some as young as the age of five.
"For African-American moms, there is a burden that we have that other moms don't have. Our sons will have to hashtag their name if they make the wrong move," Bennett explained. "It took me a long time to read most of the stories [in the book] because it was very emotional...and the trauma for all of us that exists. I don't want us to stay traumatized though. My goal is for us to figure out how to survive."
Birthed shortly following the death of George Floyd, The Boy Book materialized after Bennett hosted a Facebook Live for mothers, with a special appearance by her older son. It was during that live stream, that he revealed a personal experience -- detailing an incident that he had never shared with anyone -- when an elderly white gentleman called him "boy" during a college visit.
Stories like that of Bennett's, Carr's, and many other mothers fill the pages, along with reknowned references from African-American historian and lecturer, the late Dr. Patricia Hilliard Nunn; mental health perspectives from Stephanie Brinkley Wellon, LHMC, and a legal breakdown of the issues by Najah Adams, Esq.
Both Bennett and Carr will be at the Pan African Connection bookstore in Dallas (4466 S. Marsalis Ave., Dallas, TX 75216) on Saturday, June 12th from 12:00 p.m. to 3 p.m. signing copies of "The Boy Book" and inspiring actions that move (in the words of Mrs. Carr) "from demonstration [protests] to legislation."
"My black sons plight dictated that I write the 'boy' book," Bennett said. "I had no choice. I don't need others to understand that. As long as I do."