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A project promoting racial consciousness, justice and restitution.

In the tense month and a half it took the authorities in Sanford, FL to arrest George Zimmerman for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a bounty was put on his head, armed neo-nazis patrolled the community where the killing happened, innocent black men were gunned down in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a road sign was changed to call the dead teenager the n-word in Michigan, and so on. 

Despite the fact that this incident and the frightening responses it generated suggest that America is one or two racially charged incidents away from widespread civil unrest, it seems that often only the loudest, most extreme voices are the ones heard in these important moments, meanwhile the overwhelming majority of Americans remain uncomfortably silent. (As an example of this, I couldn't resist the irony of shooting the above video in front of a man holding a confederate flag at a Patriots Day Tea Party rally on Boston Common).

Because race is such a difficult issue for people to rally around, I have launched a project that will allow Americans of all backgrounds and races to work towards racial justice and reconciliation in word and deed, without all of the awkwardness and silence. You can do it from your couch, at a music venue, or art gallery, and you can do it with a t-shirt or a hoody.  

The project started as a work of fiction that explores what happens in a future where racial reconciliation has not happened. It is set in 2028, when the last living victims of the Jim Crown era are about to pass away, and it explores what the failure to make restitution to these victims means in a nation founded on principles of equal justice and access to the courts (stay tuned in the updates section where I will be posting sample chapters).

But the project is much more than that. It is a movement based on the idea that true racial reconciliation requires an honest accounting and restitution for the great crimes that were committed in this nation's past. And this is where this project enables Americans of all backgrounds and races to get involved.

As part of the advocacy of this project, I am launching a website, dearwhitepeople.com, that will partner with activists, artists, designers, musicians, and so on, in order to create art installations, exhibits, musical performances, amazing apparel such as the hoody I wore on my march from Boston to Sanford (see the updates section), t-shirts, hats, etc., with ALL profits from sales and tickets going towards three things that are necessary to achieve true racial reconciliation: 

1) Organizing and funding protest actions and demonstrations consistent with the non-violent principles of the Civil Rights movement, such as sit-ins and boycotts, in order to change structural and systemic racial biases, such as widespread stops and frisks by police of young black men who have done nothing wrong, disproportionate levels of arrest and incarceration, etc.;

2) Funding advocacy and lobbyists in Washington, DC calling for a full and fair investigation into unprosecuted human rights violations and other state-sponsored crimes against persons and property committed against African Americans, Latinos and other immigrant groups from America's founding until the present day, and for full restitution to be made for these crimes;

3) An interest bearing fund will be created and held in escrow and it will be used to compensate African American and other minority victims and their heirs for the unprosecuted crimes committed against them. This means that one-third of all of the profits from the purchases made on the site will actually be used to make restitution once the government has determined what is owed. As you can see, the bigger the fund gets, the more pressure it puts on the government to conduct and complete the investigation, and it allows Americans of conscience to begin showing financial support for restitution now.    

But before I can get the site up and running, and begin to really get this movement to take off, I need to hire a web designer, finish the content, get the designs for the apparel finished, and so on, and in order to do that, I need your help to fund the launch of this project! So please make a donation, however small, to this important cause, and share it with your friends and networks that believe in racial justice and reconciliation.

My last venture of this kind, The Clapham Set, was featured in the The New York Times Fixes section as an effective way for courts to prevent recidivism, and it is now in the planning stages of becoming a demonstration project at the Vera Institute of Justice. I assure you that I will bring the same level of commitment, passion and integrity to this project, and that your donation will be used responsibly and strategically to have the greatest possible impact.

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YOUR CONTRIBUTION WILL FUND:

1. The completion of the finished manuscript;

2. The website, dearwhitepeople.com, described in detail above;

3. Original artwork, designs and music that will be used in the movement;

4. A New York Times bestselling publishing consultant;

5. Ghostwriters and editors to review the final manuscript in preparation of publication. 

6. A short film promotional book trailer.

___________________________

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    #1) Special invitations to readings from the book and other speaking events, and your name will be used in an original art installation inspired by the book, by artist Roberta Jones, creator of followitthrough.net.

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    #3) Reward 1 & 2 plus a limited edition button with artwork inspired by the book, by Aimee Monko, creator of iamcolossusdesign.com.

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    #6) Reward 1 & 2 plus an invitation to a live presentation in Brooklyn of scenes from the book, set to original live music from the score, written and performed by Holly Hamper and Marlon Hurt of the Brooklyn Blues Project, trumpet master Clynt Yerkes, and more.

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    #8) Reward 1-6 with choice of t-shirt AND hoody, plus a signed, personalized collectors edition of the finished manuscript, special recognition for you or your organization in the acknowledgments section, VIP access to launch parties, signings and premiers, and an invitation to a private dinner party hosted by the author in Brooklyn.

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