An innocent black teenager is accused of murder in this provocative and compassionate thriller that skillfully probes issues of race, class, crime, and injustice and offers a searing portrait of modern America. Read more about Endangered.
Endangered was born out of research I had done for a local weekly radio show that I hosted in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Back in 2009, there had been a bump in the number of murders in Fort Wayne and almost all the victims and their perpetrators were young black males. The local residents wanted the murders to stop and had joined the police in an effort to rally against the violence. Around the same time, the beating death of Chicago honor student Derrion Albert made national news. People had begun to wonder out loud what could be done to curb the inner city violence in much the same way we are grappling with mass shootings today. It wasn't until after the research for the show, when I could not shake what I had learned, that I realized that there was a story waiting to be told. I broadened my research to include not only the violence in the inner city but the imprisonment of black males. What I discovered was that at every stage in the criminal justice process black males are disproportionately represented and adversely impacted. Memories of my stint as an assistant district attorney, during which I saw a lot of black males go before judges, confirmed for me that this was the story I wanted to write.
With Endangered, I didn't want to write a story about violence, bias and the criminal justice system per se but how they impact the lives of people living in the inner city. I wanted to write about a segment of the American population that I believe is too often ignored or castigated. Real-life statistics on the rate of black male juveniles who are tried as adults and the percentage of black males caught up in the criminal justice system compounded the main character¹s fear for her son as she sought to prove his innocence.