In Conversation with Dashka Slater 

click to enlarge Dashka Slater
  • Dashka Slater

In 2013, 16-year-old Richard Thomas set fire to 16-year-old Sasha Fleischman's dress, causing second- and third-degree burns on Sasha's legs. They were riding AC Transit's 57 bus, a route that connects Oakland's Black working-class neighborhoods and its affluent white enclaves. Richard is Black. Sasha is white. The attack shocked the city and drove a debate about hate crimes and restorative justice. Richard was subsequently charged with two felonies with hate crime enhancements because Sasha was agender — someone who doesn't identify as having a specific gender. Richard's case settled over a year later when he pleaded to seven years in state prison. The attack, and complex aftermath, is meticulously chronicled in Dashka Slater's The 57 Bus. Slater compassionately tells Sasha's story of growing up queer in a heteronormative society that directs ridicule and violence at nonconforming people. But Slater also shows that Richard isn't a "bigot" or "thug." Instead, he's young man who has had to survive persecutions and traumas that uniquely afflict young Black men. The humanity of both teens shines through in this creatively written account based on interviews, court hearings, social media posts, and personal letters. 

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 7 p.m., free, East Bay Booksellers, 5433 College Ave., Berkeley,



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Anonymous and pseudonymous comments will be removed.

Latest in Books Pick

Author Archives

Arts & Culture Blogs

Most Popular Stories

Special Reports

The Beer Issue 2020

The Decade in Review

The events and trends that shaped the Teens.

Best of the East Bay


© 2020 Telegraph Media    All Rights Reserved
Powered by Foundation