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An Unspeakable Hope: Brutality, Forgiveness, and Building a Better Future for My Son (Hardcover)
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An unforgettable and stirring memoir in the vein of Free Cyntoia, Just Mercy, and The Sum of Us that both inspires and upends our understanding about the future of policing in the United States.
In 2012, nineteen-year-old Leon Ford was shot five times by a Pittsburgh police officer as he was racially profiled during a case of mistaken identity. When he woke up in the hospital, he was faced with two life-changing realities: he was a new father, and he was paralyzed from the waist down.
Now, Ford reveals how he faced these new truths and discovered the power of forgiveness and letting go of his hatred. He explains how his harrowing experience inspired his lifelong commitment to social activism. In the wake of countless similar shootings across the country over the years, he has dedicated himself to bridging the gap between the police and the communities they are supposed to serve.
With his compassionate voice, Ford not only offers fresh, counterintuitive advice for social change but also demonstrates how together, we can end police brutality and heal as a country. As he once said, “Lead with love. Start compassionate conversations even with individuals and systems that have caused you pain. I know from experience that you can make your pain purposeful.”
About the Author
Leon Ford, a native of Pittsburgh, is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, international speaker, community organizer, and activist who has devoted his life to the betterment of his community and ending police brutality. He is the cofounder of The Hear Foundation, an organization that brings community leaders, Pittsburgh police, and residents together to build a safe, thriving community for all. He executive produced the Cannes Film Festival award-winning documentary Leon in 2019 and is a member of The Aspen Institute’s Inaugural Civil Society Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter @LeonFordSpeaks.
“A timely book about resiliency that will find both advocates and detractors but is well worth hearing out.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“The cops may have shot Leon Ford but they did not kill him. He lives on for his son, for his community, for all of us. His remarkable testimony proves that there is a way forward. Ford takes us on a path that leads from rage through rehabilitation, all the way to redemption.”
— Rob Kenner, New York Times bestselling author of The Marathon Don’t Stop and Founding Editor at Vibe
“An Unspeakable Hope offers a remarkable demonstration of resilience, grace, and forgiveness. With powerful and insightful vulnerability, Leon provides a raw and riveting account of the arduous journey navigating life after injustice.”
— Cyntoia Brown-Long, NAACP-nominated author of Free Cyntoia: My Search for Redemption in the American Prison System
“If there is one voice, one story, and one person the world needs to hear from, it’s Leon Ford. This powerful and moving memoir will take you on an emotional rollercoaster. As Leon tells his story of healing, triumph, and resilience, you will find yourself crying and rejoicing.”
— Shaka Senghor, bestselling author of Writing My Wrongs and Letters to the Sons of Society
“Ford moves beyond reflexively hating cops, or uncritically advancing Black Lives Matter and modern social justice organizing to formulate a blueprint for the life he must find a way to live, and a new way forward for our country.”
— Deborah Douglas, author of U.S. Civil Rights Trail: A Traveler's Guide to the People, Places and Events That Made the Movement
“With searing vulnerability and insight, Leon Ford reveals his compelling life story, reminding us that the gift of hope often comes in not-so-pretty wrappings of pain, loss, and forgiveness. An Unspeakable Hope illuminates Leon’s inspiring journey as a Black man, a father, and a community leader, transforming his story of tragedy and injustice into a triumphant invitation for America’s racial healing and repair. Read it and you’ll certainly reap from Leon’s unflinching love and light.”
— Shawn Dove, author of I Too Am America: On Loving and Leading Black Men & Boys