LLL Presents — Sito: An American Teenager and the City that Failed Him
Laurence Ralph, Anthropology; Khalil Gibran Muhammad, Harvard Kennedy School
Tue, 4/9 · 6:00 pm—7:30 pm · Labyrinth Books
Labyrinth Books; Princeton Public Library
Come hear the riveting and heart-wrenching story of violence, grief and the American justice system, exploring the systemic issues that perpetuate gang participation in one of the wealthiest cities in the country, through the story of one teenager.
In September of 2019, Luis Alberto Quiñonez—known as Sito— was shot to death as he sat in his car in the Mission District of San Francisco. He was nineteen. His killer, Julius Williams, was seventeen. It was the second time the teens had encountered one another. The first, five years before, also ended in tragedy, when Julius watched as his brother was stabbed to death by an acquaintance of Sito’s. The two murders merited a few local news stories, and then the rest of the world moved on.
But for the families of the slain teenagers, it was impossible to move on. And for Laurence Ralph, the stepfather of Sito’s half-brother who had dedicated much of his academic career to studying gang-affiliated youth, Sito’s murder forced him to revisit a subject of scholarly inquiry in a profoundly different, deeply personal way.
Written from Ralph’s perspective as both a person enmeshed in Sito’s family and as an Ivy League professor and expert on the entanglement of class and violence, SITO is an intimate story with an message about the lived experience of urban danger, and about anger, fear, grief, vengeance, and ultimately grace.
Laurence Ralph is a Professor of Anthropology at Princeton University, where he is the Director for the Center on Transnational Policing. He is the author of the acclaimed Renegade Dreams: Living Through Injury in Gangland Chicago and The Torture Letters: Reckoning With Police Violence. Khalil Gibran Muhammad is Professor of History, Race and Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School. He directs the Institutional Antiracism and Accountability Project and is the former Director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He is the award-winning author of The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America. He is currently co-directing a National Academy of Sciences study on reducing racial inequalities in the criminal justice system.
This event is cosponsored by Princeton University’s Humanities Council and Departments of African American Studies and Anthropology.