One mom created a picture book to help young black kids stay A-L-I-V-E during encounters with police officers.
It's definitely a disheartening sign of the times. A mom of three and social worker named Sanya Gragg has penned a new book for kids between the very-young ages of 4 and 8 called, Momma, Did You Hear the News? And the book has been selling well on Amazon.
In the tome, a little black boy sees a police shooting of an unarmed man, who is black, too. So to keep him and his brother safe, his parents have what Gragg refers to as "the talk." It's about how they can stay safe if an authority of the law approaches them.
The dad in the story tells the boys they must memorize "the 5" in the word "alive."
A – Always Use Your Manners
L – Listen and Comply
I – In Control of Your Emotions
V – Visible Hands Always
E – Explain Everything
Sadly, Gragg told NBC News that even if black youth follows this advice, they aren't guaranteed a problem-free encounter. "You may still end up with an officer who just has a problem with you because of how you look. But I strongly believe that if you do these things your chances of survival are much greater." She added, "And as a mom, I just need you to walk through that door ALIVE!!"
I came away from my introduction to this book thinking, "But isn't 4 years old too young to have 'the talk?'" Gragg's answer to that question is sobering. She told NBC News, "I think parents are having this conversation much sooner now. It used to be 'the talk' Black parents would have right before their teens started driving. But now our sons are being approached just walking to the park. So we HAVE to have the conversation sooner rather than later."
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This mom and first-time author wants people to know she is not anti-police, just anti-police brutality. And she wants to use her voice to help kids survive the reality that, sadly, faces too many of them.