A young adult author’s video interview discussing how race, socioeconomic status, and history are the root of the latest civil unrest has gone viral.
Kimberly Jones, the co-author of the young adult novel I’m Not Dying With You Tonight along with Gilly Segal, passionately spelled out why people are protesting, rioting, or looting after the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, who was killed by police officers in Minneapolis. His death has sparked nationwide civil unrest as the U.S. slowly comes out of the COVID-19 quarantine.
In a George Floyd tribute T-shirt, Kimberly says she supports both viewpoints from black people saying they don’t want rioting or looting in our communities and they don’t want to support mainstream white-centric businesses. She then breaks down the difference between protestors, rioters, and looters—a definition that the media struggles with in its reporting, which leads to people misunderstanding the situation such as in the example with the Red Sofa Literary Agency founder who called police on people she classified as looters last month.
“Let’s ask ourselves why in this country in 2020 the financial gap between poor blacks and the rest of the world is at such a distance that people feel like their only hope and only opportunity to get some of the things that we flaunt and flash in front of them all the time is to walk through a broken glass window and get it,” Kimberly says in the video.
“But they are so hopeless that getting that necklace, getting that TV, getting that change, getting that bed, getting that phone, whatever it is they’re going to get because in that moment when riots happen and they present an opportunity of looting that’s their only opportunity to get it. We need to be questioning that. Why are people that poor? Why are people that broke? Why are people that food-insecure, that clothing-insecure?”
What also helped the video go viral is the her Monopoly comparison to how economics work in America.
“If I right now decided to play Monopoly with you and for four hundred rounds of playing Monopoly, I didn’t allow you to have any money,” she says, pointing to the four centuries that black people have been in the U.S. dealing with injustice after injustice. “I didn’t allow you to have anything on the board. I didn’t allow for you to have anything. And then we play another fifty rounds of Monopoly and everything that you gained and you earned while playing that round of Monopoly was taken from you.
“That was Tulsa, that was Rosewood. Those were places we built black economic wealth, and we were self-sufficient. We owned our stores. When we owned our property. And they burned them to the ground.”
She refers to the race massacres in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921 and Rosewood, Florida in 1923 in which white mobs destroyed thriving black communities. Descendants of people who were impacted by those massacres are calling for reparations.
In a tweet, Kimberly wrote, “I just took the time to go through the first hundred or so responses in this thread and I am FLOORED! The support is so welcome and overwhelming.”
I just took the time to go through the first hundred or so responses in this thread and I am FLOORED! The support is so welcome and overwhelming ✊🏾💜 https://t.co/j7oocmpCwc
— Kimberly Jones (@kimlatricejones) June 6, 2020
Titled “How Can We Win,” the video interview is on YouTube via David Jones Media and has a timestamp of being posted on June 1 and the interview conducted on May 31. David Jones wrote in the video’s summary:
“On day two, Sunday the 31st, he activated his dear friend author Kimberly Jones to tag along and conduct interviews. During a moment of downtime he captured these powerful words from her and felt the world couldn’t wait for the full length documentary, they needed to hear them now.”
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Matthew A. Cherry, who recently received the golden Oscar statue for his six-minute film and accompanying book Hair Love illustrated by Vashti Harrison, shared the video on June 5.
Listen to what this sister has to say.
I added captions to the video for anyone who needs it.
— Matthew A. Cherry (@MatthewACherry) June 5, 2020
Authors like Angie Thomas and Jason Reynolds were quick to point out that Kimberly is a black author who deserves the support with the purchase of her book. Harper Collins Publishers’ Epic Reads even chimed in.
According to the book’s description, “I’m Not Dying with You Tonight follows two teen girls―one black, one white―who have to confront their own assumptions about racial inequality as they rely on each other to get through the violent race riot that has set their city on fire with civil unrest.”
The video is approaching half a million views on YouTube.