Summary: Chapter 26

The next morning, Ms. Ofrah calls to apologize for putting Starr in danger and for the grand jury verdict. She tells Starr that she’s proud of her and thinks Starr has a future career in activism. Starr stares at the Tupac poster that she bought to remind her of Khalil and the message of Thug Life. She reflects that all the hate last night hurt everyone, and now they must figure out how to fix it.

Starr checks her texts. Maya texted enthusiastically after seeing Starr on the news. Chris texted to tell her he’s grounded but has no regrets. Hailey also texted to apologize. Starr wants to know what she means by her apology. Hailey says she’s sorry about the decision and that Starr is mad at her. Hailey wants their friendship to go back to how it was. Starr realizes Hailey isn’t taking responsibility for her hurtful words. Starr texts to say that things will never be the same and deletes Hailey’s number from her phone.

Starr asks Maverick whether his roses survived the move. The roses are a bit damaged, but Maverick assures Starr that the new soil will be a reset for them. Lisa tells Starr that she has been on every news channel, and Maverick calls her “Li’l Black Panther.” He almost swears talking about a news channel that insulted Starr. Sekani demands money for the swear jar, but Seven stops him. Lisa asks why Seven’s worried, and Sekani says Seven told him they need to be careful with money to afford their new neighborhood. Lisa and Maverick promise they’re not moving back. Starr asks if it’s OK to leave Garden Heights when they could stay and fix it. Lisa and Maverick say they can help Garden Heights without living there. Maverick dreads meeting with the claims agent at the store. Sekani says the family will go with Maverick so he doesn’t have to face the damage alone.

The family stares tearily at the ruins. Faced with the immensity of the damage, Maverick falters on whether he wants to rebuild. Mr. Lewis tells Maverick that he’s retiring and wants to give him the barbershop space to expand the store. In return, Mr. Lewis wants Maverick to put a picture of Martin Luther King Jr. alongside Huey Newton. Mr. Lewis tells Maverick that the neighborhood needs more men like him. The claims agent comes to inspect, and the family begins to clean out the store.

Kenya arrives. She tells Starr she’s proud of her for speaking out. Starr asks after Iesha. King beat Iesha badly enough to put her in the hospital. Kenya apologizes for always calling Seven her brother instead of their brother. Kenya worried that Seven was a brother to her out of obligation, but a brother to Starr out of love. She thought Seven was ashamed of her just like Starr was ashamed of her and Garden Heights. Starr decides to acknowledge the painful truth. She admits she had been ashamed but is not anymore. She promises Seven loves Kenya, Lyric, and Iesha. Lisa calls Starr back to work and asks whether Kenya wants to help them. Kenya asks what Starr’s family will do with the store. Starr says they’ll rebuild.

Starr brings the story back to Khalil and vows that she will not give up on fighting for a better ending. She names several real-life victims of police violence and Emmett Till. She believes that change will come because people will keep fighting and refusing to forget. She vows to Khalil that she will never forget and never give up.