The Rev. Al Sharpton is many things: headline-grabbing civil rights activist and erstwhile politician and TV and radio host; sharply dressed and sharp-tonged and ever-outspoken; sometimes controversial, inflammatory and even notorious.
But maybe before he is anything else, he is always at work.
Sharpton’s latest book, Rise Up: Confronting a Country at the Crossroads, is both a call to action and an ode to the Black lives lost to racial violence.
In an interview with PEOPLE, Sharpton discusses Rise Up, published late last month, as well as his thoughts on the Breonna Taylor case and the long road to equality that he says is tied to the results of the Nov. 3 election. (If President Donald Trump is re-elected, it will be “catastrophic,” he says.)
(The state attorney general overseeing that case — who has drawn criticism for his approach — has said the officer who fatally shot Taylor, as well as another officer at the scene, were returning fire from her boyfriend. He said the officers “were justified in their return of deadly fire after having been fired upon by Kenneth Walker.” The officer who was charged is accused of wanton endangerment, for firing into an adjacent apartment.)
Taylor, a 26-year-old aspiring nurse who had been working as an emergency medical technician, died after police officers entered her apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, on March 13.
Her killing — while police were actually looking for a former boyfriend who wasn’t there — and the high-profile deaths of a number of unarmed Black people at the hands of the police in recent months touched off nationwide protests.