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Jason Reynolds: Young People of Color Who Are ‘Convenient for You to Love’ Aren’t the Only Ones Who Deserve Recognition

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New York Times Best Selling author Jason Reynolds used his airtime at the TIME 100 Next event to speak up about the importance of helping young people.

During his tribute, Reynolds an award-winning author committed to increasing visibility of young black people in literature, reminisced about his childhood, when his mother told him that she believed every person was put on this earth to serve and help others.

“For me, my conduit, my vessel, my vehicle for service is literature, specifically literature for young people and more specifically literature for and about young people of color,” Reynolds said to the crowd on Thursday night at Pier 17.

Importantly, Reynolds added that he doesn’t want people to only focus on young people of color that are “convenient for you to love.”

“Not just the ones who are on a college track, not just the ones who are interning in your programs, not just the ones that ya’ll feel safe around,” Reynolds said. “But the ones who are complex, challenging, the young men and women who are locked in juvenile detention centers.”

Reynolds is among the honorees for the list. His most recent book, Look Both Ways, is a finalist for a National Book Award. His upcoming book is an adaptation of Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning.

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Write to Josiah Bates at josiah.bates@time.com