Hatima Parker is an African-American teenage girl living on the mean streets of South Central Los Angeles. Life in the hood is always tough but life produces more obstacles when an African-American man named Rodney King is beaten by the LAPD and an African-American teenage girl named Latasha Harlins is murdered by a Korean woman.
Hatima has dreams of becoming a Marine and an Africanist and her goals cause her to question the world she lives in. She’s not sure if she wants to pursue a career with the US Armed Forces as that could easily lead to a career in law enforcement. She also finds herself connecting the teachings of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, Marcus Garvey, Frederick Douglass, Nelson Mandela, and other black leaders to the incidents of racism she witnesses in her world in order to see if their many ways to change the status quo were effective and still are.
Hatima also starts a relationship with a Korean teenage boy named Joshua Yang. But since racial tensions are high between African-Americans and Korean-Americans, there are many people against the biracial couple being together.
Hatima learns the world is far from perfect and throughout 1991 and 1992 she learns how to take a stand against a world that often chooses hatred over love.