SITO: Laurence Ralph with Aimee Meredith Cox

Sunday, February 25, 2024 - 4:00pm to 5:30pm
RECIRCULATION A project of Word Up
876 Riverside Drive (near 160th St.)
New York, NY 10032


Join us for a reading and discussion with award-winning author Laurence Ralph for the new book SITO: An American Teenager and the City That Failed Him (out 2/20/24), a 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 conversation with Ralph will be anthropologist and movement artist Aimee Meredith Cox.

"Laurence Ralph ruminates on gang violence and our decadent criminal legal system through the life and tragic murder of his 19-year-old loved one, Sito. The blend of intimacy and authority, of self-and-structural reflection, of despair and expectation make for a profoundly affecting and edifying book. Sito is a triumph." —Ibram X. Kendi, National Book award-winner and New York Times bestselling author

This event is a $5 suggested donation ticket with 50 max attendees. Please register in advance. 

In compliance with Word Up Community Safety guidelines, all attendees are encouraged to stay masked at all time. 

Recirculation, a project of Word Up Community Bookshop, is located at 876 Riverside Drive (near 160th St.) in Washington Heights, NYC. You can take the 1 train to 157th St., A/C train to 163rd St., and the M4 and M5 to Broadway and 159/160th.


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, writer and filmmaker. His first book,Renegade Dreams: Living through Injury in Gangland Chicago, received the C. Wright Mills Award and the J.I. Staley Prize. His second book,The Torture Letters: Reckoning with Police Violence, explores a decades-long scandal in which hundreds of Black men were tortured in police custody. The Torture Letters is also the name of his award-winning, animated short film, which is featured in The New York Times Op-Doc series. Laurence’s work has been featured in The Paris Review, The New York Times, The New York Review of Books, The Nation, The Chicago Review of Books, Boston Review and Literary Hub. Ralph is currently a professor of anthropology at Princeton University. He has been awarded many fellowships for his work, including the Guggenheim and Carnegie Fellowships. He lives in Princeton, New Jersey, with his family.


Aimee Meredith Cox is an Anthropologist, writer, movement artist, and critical ethnographer. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Anthropology Department at New York University following her appointment as an Associate Professor in the African American Studies and Anthropology departments at Yale. She is the author of the multiple award-winning ethnography, Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke 2015) and the editor of the volume, Gender: Space (MacMillan, 2018). Aimee performed and toured internationally with Ailey II and the Dance Theatre of Harlem and has choreographed performances as interventions in public and private space in Newark, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn. Aimee is also a yogi of many decades. Yoga is integral to her praxis and her overall research and pedagogical commitments. She leads yoga teacher trainings as well as advanced study and continuing education workshops and retreats around the globe. Aimee is currently completing a hybrid memoir and anthropological study for her next book under contract with Viking Press/Penguin Random House.


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ACCESSIBILITY: Recirculation is a wheelchair-accessible space with one ramp from the street level down to the store. Most of the shelves are on wheels and can be moved to provide additional access. The bathrooms are not yet ADA compliant and do not yet have a changing table but are gender neutral. The events are mic’d for sound and videos are captioned when possible. Free ASL interpretation is available for most programs upon request. Please email to request interpretation as early as possible. If you have specific questions about the space or how an event can be made more accessible to you, please do not hesitate to contact us at

Sito: An American Teenager and the City that Failed Him By Laurence Ralph Cover Image
ISBN: 9781538740323
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grand Central Publishing - February 20th, 2024