Summary: Chapter 11
Hailey’s brother, Remy, plans to protest Khalil’s death as an excuse to play hooky. Hailey’s excited, although she isn’t happy they’re protesting a drug dealer’s death. Hailey believes Khalil’s dealing explains the shooting. Starr asks why Hailey wants to protest if she thinks Khalil’s murder was justified. Hailey dismisses Starr’s anger. Starr storms off, furious her classmates can use Khalil’s death as a break from school. Starr cannot take a break from her reality.
During first period, students leave the classroom, shouting, “Justice for Khalil.” Starr feels sick at her classmates making light of Khalil’s death. She remains in her seat. Chris asks Starr if she knew Khalil, and she admits she did. The teacher asks if Starr would like to go home, but Starr wants the distraction of school. Some white students explain to Starr that they aren’t protesting because they don’t want to use Khalil’s death as an excuse to play hooky. She hates being treated like the token black person.
When Starr and Seven pick Sekani up, Sekani asks if they will be on television because a news crew is covering the protest. They tell Sekani no, and drive to the family store. From the window they see reporters interviewing Mr. Lewis. Mr. Lewis tells reporters that King Lords attacked some police officers unprovoked in retaliation for Khalil. He blames the King Lords for all the neighborhood violence. Mr. Lewis names King as the leader of the King Lords, which could put Mr. Lewis in danger of retaliation from King.
Maverick asks Mr. Lewis why he put his life in danger. Mr. Lewis claims that he’s not afraid of King because he lived through worse during segregation. The police overhear the argument and intervene, ignoring Mr. Lewis’s insistence that they were having a conversation. Their expressions change when they read Maverick’s ID. Starr realizes they know he’s related to her, Khalil’s witness. The police pin Maverick to the ground. The police order the gathering residents to go back to their normal business. The residents insist that this is their business. The police pat Maverick down and then let him up, warning him that they’re watching him.
Maverick storms into his office and pounds on the table. Mr. Lewis encourages Maverick to let his anger out. Starr remembers how Maverick says since slavery, all black men have carried this rage. One of the neighbors comments that the police attacked Maverick because of Starr’s witness statement. Maverick is shaken that people know about Starr. Kenya asks Starr why she hasn’t told anyone that she’s the witness. Starr says she’s afraid, and that talking to the police changed nothing. Kenya shouts that Starr would defend her Williamson friends, but won’t defend Khalil. Kenya argues that Starr has the chance to change the neighborhood. Starr feels ashamed.
Starr heads to Maverick’s office where he is giving Sekani the police talk. Maverick hates that his children saw what the police did to him. Starr tells Maverick that Kenya called her a coward, and that she believes there’s truth in the accusation. Starr tells Maverick that she’s afraid, especially after seeing how the police treated him. Maverick tells her that she should not let fear be the reason why she doesn’t talk because that is what the police want. He promises he will have her back when she’s ready.