When Kelly Brown Douglas began working with Orbis Books on Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God, there was some concern that the book – which was prompted in part by the 2012 shooting death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin – would be out of date by its May 10 publication.

“We had wondered if the world would have moved on by the time the book was ready,” said Bernadette Price, associate publisher at Orbis. “Ironically, as the work progressed, the author had to take note of a succession of similar events across the country, including Ferguson and Staten Island—and now Baltimore, her hometown."

Racially-motivated police violence has made Brown Douglas’s book all too timely. Last Monday, she and her colleagues and students at Goucher College in Maryland watched CNN in horror as riots broke out after the funeral of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, who died on April 19 while in police custody. In the days since, she has been engaged in teach-ins and conversations at the college, as well as on a more national stage: last week she authored an op ed for CNN, and on May 10, Mother’s Day, she will be preaching at Washington’s National Cathedral.

Price says that given that racial violence and police brutality are very much in the news right now, Orbis is prepared for a strong response to the book. “We have been in touch with all major book accounts and we are prepared to return to press quickly,” she said. An outside publicity firm has booked the author on a number of local and national radio programs. “We hope this national publicity campaign will help provide an opportunity for Rev. Douglas to address a wide audience with a sorely needed analysis of the real issues at stake,” says Price.

Brown Douglas says she wrote the book because “there was no story in the news that troubled me more than the slaying of Trayvon Martin.” The book explores the inequities of a system that, she says, positions white bodies as normative and black bodies as a dangerous threat, and proposes an alternate narrative of “divine justice.” She titled it Stand Your Ground because she says that the “Stand Your Ground” law that allows a person to kill in self-defense when feeling threatened makes “the destruction and death of black bodies inevitable if not permissible.”