Anti-Racism Conversation: An Interview with His Name Was Quincy Author Keisha Green
January 22, 2021
The Anti-Racism Conversation — talking with our kids about racism can be difficult but it’s no doubt an important conversation we must have. As we continue to mourn the deaths of black Americans like George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless others, big movements such as #breathewithme and #sayhisname have sparked up to raise awareness. Still, the conversations parents and caregivers are having with kids can differ depending on a family’s experiences and their racial and ethnic background. The one thing that is really important is that we’re not hiding the truth from our kids. It’s really important that we don’t sugar-coat what’s going on with vague explanations and half-truths. Our kids deserve better! And the way we make this world better for our kids is by having those tough conversations about racism and uncovering our own biases.
To help us talk with our kids about racism and discuss some of the injustices we’ve seen flashing on our screens these past few months, and years, I want to share with you a new resource that can help you raise anti-racist kids. The new children’s book His Name Was Quincy is an easy but powerful read. A great book for families to read together and a game-changer for teachers who bring it into the classroom.
His Name Was Quicy was written by my good friend Keisha Green and today I’m so honored to share her new book with all of you. Read on to the end of this post to learn how you can enter to win your own copy of Keisha’s new book, His Name Was Quincy.
Keisha is an outstanding educator, a dedicated mother, a great friend and mentor, and now also an author of a children’s book. I’m so proud of her and can’t wait to see what she does next! I recently had the opportunity to sit down to chat with Keisha and got to ask her some questions about her new book, the idea behind her book, and why it’s an important anti-racism book that we should all have on our kids’ bookshelves.
An Anti-Racism Conversation with Author Keisha Green
NYCTM: Thank you Keisha for taking the time to answer some of my questions about your book and agreeing to share a copy of your new book His Name Was Quicy with my readers here on NYCTechMommy. Tell us about your new book.
KG: This book is a project of love dedicated to children of color, especially little black boys and young black men, like my two sons. Just like my sons, I want young men and little boys of color to know that, WE SEE YOU. The world sees you. You are important. You are valued. You are loved.
NYCTM: I know that this book was also born out of the horror and disbelief you felt after the murder of George Floyd. We were all really affected by that horrific scene but I want to know more about your thoughts and feelings when you saw what happened to George Floyd.
KG: There’s no doubt that there’s been a racial reckoning that has surged through our country in light of the George Floyd murder. On Monday, May 25th, I probably, along with many of you sat in horror and disbelief, with bated breath as we watched the modern-day lynching of George Floyd. Derek Chauvin, an officer sworn duly to serve and protect, sat with his knee on the neck of George Floyd for over 7 minutes as he called out for his mama and I probably along with the rest of the world, watched him take his last breath right in front of our eyes. My soul set on fire because I knew, regardless of whatever the incident was that led to THIS, the underlying cause was RACISM.
NYCTM: How were you moved to take action?
KG: Later on I turned to social media and actually found many people, white people, my own white friends with comments such as he should have complied with the officer, if he wasn’t doing something illegal then that wouldn’t have happened to him and other comments basically blaming George Floyd for his death. With an aching heart, and my soul set on fire, I knew I had to do my part. I realized that some non-POC (people of color) were really disconnected from what the black experience may sometimes be in America. I wondered, how did we get here and what can I do to not only bring awareness as to why this happened but also what can I do to fight against the injustices that people of color so often endure. And like a bolt of lighting, that’s when it hit me. I knew as an educator I had a moral responsibility to use my influence to dismantle any system that continues to marginalize and perpetuate violence against BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color).
NYCTM: Sounds like that’s when your book for children was born? Tell me more.
KG: My book was not my only plan of action. So what did I do, I grabbed my computer and applied to graduate school. I am currently pursuing my doctoral degree in Educational Leadership Administration and Policy and I started my journey as an author and entrepreneur. I wanted to ensure that I would position myself in a place where I could create policies in education that wouldn’t continue to harm students in urban communities and that I could create a child friendly text that touches on relevant real world issues yet specifically highlights families of color in a positive way. Being an educator with over 20 years of experience in an elementary setting, I know there’s a void in finding materials that touches on real world issues such as death, racism, biases and stereotypes.
NYCTM: So tell us more about your book, His Name Was Quincy and the story it tells.
KG: His Name Was Quincy tells a beautiful story about the power of a brother’s love from the perspective of Tyrique, Quincy’s younger brother. The main character, Quincy, the family sadly learns from a news broadcast that he has passed. Tyrique is awakened by the shrill cries of his mother and father only to see his older brother plastered on the TV. However, Tyrique is confused by the word used to describe his brother on TV, ‘THUG’. Tyrique then sets off to share with readers stories of his brother Quincy as he knew him. He develops an understanding of the #sayhisname and help the world to say his brother’s name.
NYCTM: How do you envision your new book being used by families and educators to teach anti-racism?
KG: His Name Was Quincy is a book that allows educators and parents to check their own racial blindspots and really start to question where and how they come up with those ideas about BIPOC and start to debunk those false narratives that they may hold. For children of color this book is important because it highlights black families in a positive way, showing some of the important values that families hold and the trauma that families endure when a loved one, especially a child is lost and how heart wrenching it is to see their loved ones displayed for the world in a negative light. You know there are two sides to every story. Oftentimes when BIPOC have lost their lives they are not portrayed in a positive way. Simply look at the pictures they use, the terms used to describe them or the disparaging things in their lives that they decided to highlight. In recent years, the media has gotten better but we are still not there! For Non- BIPOCs this book is an important conversation starter because parents sharing this book with their children will help them to see that BIPOC families are no different from their own and help them to see how harmful the process of associating stereotypes or attitudes towards categories of people without conscious awareness could be.
NYCTM: It seems that there are many texts out there right now that tackle the topic of anti-racism. What sets your book apart from the rest?
KG: The beauty of this book is that it’s written in a way that doesn’t further traumatize children or perpetuate harmful ideas. For example, we all know Quincy the main character in the story passes on and his little brother is telling the world the story of who his brother truly was, but the text intentionally leaves a lot to the imagination such as, how does Quincy die. This question alone, helps to uncover implicit biases that we already hold based on our past experiences. So my question is, how do you think Quincy died and where did you get that idea from? This is a great starting point for breaking down implicit biases that we hold. I considered, “His Name Was Quincy” to be one of the “realest books on the market.” I wasn’t afraid to tackle a complex issue such as racism but wanted to do it in a way that children would understand and begin to question their own ideas and where they come from and stop deficit thinking about themselves or of BIOPIC people. Racism is taught and if we can teach children how to identify how implicit biases manifest, through priming, association and assumption then we can teach children how to be anti-racists!
NYCTM: Why did you think the story of Quicy was an important one to tell?
While teaching children how harmful the media can be in perpetuating the false and dangerous narrative that young men of color are ‘thugs’ after their demise thus justifying their death. I wanted a call to social justice and an understanding of the importance of the #sayhisname. The hashtag is important because we are literally forcing the world to say the names of our loved one in an effort to humanize who they are.
NYCTM: Keisha, I am so proud of you and I’m so happy to call you my friend. The work you are doing is important! Thank you for being open to answering my questions and I appreciate you sharing this powerful story with our children. I have to agree with you that His Name Was Quincy is a great conversation starter, a great way for parents and educators to kick off difficult conversations around racism, and good way to begin doing the important work of breaking down harmful biases and stereotypes so that we can build a better world for all our children.
NYCTM: Today we’ve talked a lot about your book but for those that may not know you, tell us more about Who Is Keisha Green? I’d love for our readers to learn a bit more about the author behind this powerful book.
KG: I am a wife, a mother of three, a motivational speaker, a committed educator with over 20 years of experience with the New York City Department of Education, and now a children’s book author. I am fiercely committed to improving our world by educating and leading in a way that disrupts and dismantles systems of oppression and policies in education that continue to marginalize people and communities of color.
I currently hold a BS, two Masters Degrees and I am currently pursuing my Doctor of Philosophy in Government and Educational Policies. I am aiming to CHANGE THE WORLD!
NYCTM: Thanks so much Keisha! I know that you are definitely on your way to changing the world! Keep going! And now let’s tell the people how they can enter to win their own copy of your new book His Name Was Quincy
How to Enter to Win Your Copy of His Name Was Quincy by Keisha Green
This is a giveaway for (1) copy of the book His Name Was Quincy. This giveaway starts Thursday, January 22nd, 2021 at midnight EST and ends on February 6th, 2021 at midnight EST. Entrants must be a USA resident and at least 18 years old. One winner will be randomly selected by rafflecopter.com from all qualifying entries and contacted via the email they provided. The email will come from [email protected]. The winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. Good Luck!
[THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED — Thanks for your entries! Winner notified via email.]
Here’s what readers are saying about, His Name Was Quincy,
This book fills a void that’s been missing for far too long in home and classroom libraries ~ Casandra Grosskopf (parent)
I could empathize because the book used language we could understand ~ 5th grade student (from the Bronx)
We’re reading your book in class and I’m in tears. The world needs to hear this book, very well written ~ Shana Baker (NYC Teacher)
This is such a poignant story told in a thoughtful and thought provoking way. The author did an amazing job of making the serious content digestible for all ages! This book should be required reading in classrooms! ~ Fila McMillan (Certified Life & Relationship Coach
This is a great fictional book that teaches youth about a real subject in our world and society. It highlights how the media will crucify a person of color, before humanizing them. the book is a quick read that allows for in-depth discussion. I think it’s a must read for anyone above the age of 10. ~ Oron Bell (parent)
About JDX Publishing Company LLC
To learn more be sure to follow along on Instagram @jdxpublishing or visit the JDX Publishing Company website. JDX Publishing Company is a small independent children’s book publishing company creating books to represent BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) characters. JDX Publishing Company looks forward to sharing their mission of providing diverse stories with people everywhere as the publisher continues to grow. More information about book releases can be found on the JDX Publishing Company website.