Honoring the Past, Acknowledging the Present

Cress and the Medicine Show
Cress and the Medicine Show

In Cress and the Medicine Show, three trickster gods (from or through Africa) assist a young woman in her escape from slavery. Because this novelette touches on the violent reality of slavery, it is not intended for small children, despite what the art would imply.

This story came from a dream that led to extensive research to bring it to the page. Though I put the words together, and worked toward accuracy and with respect, this story isn’t mine. My ancestors weren’t forced to come to the Americas as slaves. I didn’t grow up fighting against systemic racism just to exist. I’ve benefited from white privilege, and believe in individual reparations. That’s why, throughout February and every February thereafter, any royalties earned from this book in any format* will be donated to Black Lives Matter–100%. Throughout the rest of the year, 50% of royalties will also be applied to BLM or local organizations that support PoC in my area (the Greater Seattle Area).

In addition, if you’re an educator working with high school-aged teens or young adults in college and wish to see if this story would support your curriculum, I’ll happily send you a .pdf. You only need send an email to raven.demers@gmail.com with the subject “Free Copy of Cress.” You’ll be given a teacher-specific copy that includes permission to print for the purposes of education.

If you’d prefer to not purchase the book, but would rather donate directly to Black Lives Matter, you can donate here. Another excellent way to offer individual reparations is through Reparations started by Natasha Marin.

Thank you to the people who fought (and all too frequently died) for equal rights, and those who continue to lead the path toward equality. I wish to acknowledge some of my heroes from childhood through now, many of whom fought to do the work they loved and faced violence and ridicule, or fought at the forefront of human rights issues, usually at grave danger to themselves:

  1. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (my first hero)
  2. Sen. Kamala Harris
  3. Rep. Maxine Waters
  4. Dr. Cornel West
  5. Marsha P. Johnson
  6. Tarana Burke
  7. Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler
  8. Alice Ball
  9. Sojourner Truth
  10. Maya Angelou
  11. Alice Walker
  12. Whoopi Goldberg (my second childhood hero)
  13. Nina Simone
  14. Bayard Rustin
  15. Langston Hughes
  16. Harriet Tubman
  17. Ijeoma Oluo

  18. William Hastie
  19. Neil deGrasse Tyson
  20. Billie Holiday
  21. Lewis Latimer
  22. Annie Easley
  23. Anne Mulinge
  24. Dr Joia Crear Perry
  25. Aesha Ash
  26. Katherine Johnson
  27. Dorothy Vaughn
  28. Mary Jackson
  29. Mamie Phipps Clark
  30. Dr. Mae Jemison
  31. Gen. Toussaint L’Ouverture
  32. Jean-Jacques Dessalines
  33. Jordan Peele
  34. Ryan Coogler
  35. Peony McGill**
  36. Nichelle Nichols
  37. Eartha Kitt
  38. Tracy Chapman
  39. Octavia E. Butler
  40. Dr. Nnedi Okorafor


*Full Disclosure: on Amazon, I earn $1 for every Kindle copy of Cress sold, and $2.20 for every print copy. On Barnes & Noble, I receive 40% of the sale price on the Nook version, and $0.75 per print copy. During February 100% of these royalties will be donated to Black Lives Matter as soon as the payments are distributed to my bank account.

**Not a real person, but one of my favorite superheroes. I look forward to seeing more comics featuring her, and children cosplaying her.

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