Beyond humanizing the cultural experience, how were you inspired to write this book for a greater purpose?
My students were the ones who inspired me to write young adult literature.
Working with Black students at the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement, I recognized the need for a deeper understanding of systemic racial issues.
Each year I welcomed new cohorts of students who were about to be exposed to critical issues in society for the first time—and they felt cheated that they had not learned about these things before college.
After reading about the inspirational work of Bryan Stevenson in Just Mercy, I felt called to use my platform to write a novel about what I consider to be the most critical issue of our time: racial justice and equity.