When I visited Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington, N.J. on July 19 and heard Johnson speak, six years after her son's death, it wasn't a dramatization of events it was real life. A mother poured her heart out to a congregation, which understood her pain.
While access to culturally diverse providers is low, the cost of mental health treatment remains high, which serves as an additional impediment to bridging the gap between the onset of symptoms and accessing professional care.
When I went to South Africa in 2010 to lead a creative writing club for teenage girls, I made sure to emphasize that word: club. I had never taught writing before, didn't have a teaching assistantship as I earned an MFA in nonfiction. I would not be correcting their grammar, nor assigning homework. Besides, how could I persuade girls to spend their Saturday afternoons in a writing class?
I am sorry for having even an ounce of doubt because I did not want the legacy of America's dad being black to deteriorate. I apologize for being so obsessed with that legacy that it blinded me to any wrongdoing.
No one I knew ever trusted the police. We never believed that they were there to protect and serve us. This became abundantly clear when I was 14 years old.
Getting behind the wheel, Bland had three strikes against her. She was black, female and fearless, a combination that is antithetical to all the vaunted white-centered narratives of driving and freedom in the U.S.
While police brutality affects people of all races and backgrounds in the U.S., it's important to note that black citizens face a unique experience within America's criminal justice system, just as they've faced a unique state of affairs for centuries in the United States.
Dear fellow white feminists, we need to talk about Sandra Bland. More specifically, we need to talk about why we aren't talking about Sandra Bland.
Since seeing the Sandra Bland video, I've been asking myself what I would've done if I were in her shoes. In my mind, I hear my momma telling me, "That's why I always tell you not to talk back to authority."
The extraordinary writer, filmmaker, and professor is on a mission to reach all people -- many of whom may have never been introduced to the power of words, the power of literature.
The BE MODERN MAN rally cry is "ITS OUR NORMAL TO BE EXTRAORDINARY". That is a very powerful statement. It is not our normal to be criminals, it is not our normal to be unemployed, it is not our normal to be below average, however, it is our normal to be extraordinary!
Dear Peace Officer, please hear my plea and the plea of the nation. Will you stop killing me? Will you protect and serve me now? #IAmHumanToo.
White people, no matter how nice, how good, how desirous of honest equality, can only understand so much of something they cannot viscerally experience. I know because I thought I knew... until I discovered how little I actually did.
Sen. Sanders, there is one issue that you must progress greatly on if you wish to become the president that America needs in 2016. That issue is racial justice. Saying that racism exists in your next speech or adding #blacklivesmatter to the end of your next tweet is not enough.
The abusive arrest and subsequent suspicious death of Sandra Bland is, tragically, far from an isolated incident. On the same day that the facts started to emerge about Bland, Kindra Chapman, an 18-year-old African American girl reportedly took her own life in an Alabama prison cell, after being arrested for allegedly stealing a cellphone.
Through deeply personal stories and reflections, Ta-Nehisi Coates's new book "Between the World and Me" provides essential perspective into a critical topic: violence against black people. The book's primary shortcoming is that it fails to offer any real vision or policy solutions.
Sandra Bland's death is a horrific display of how vulnerable black people in this country are at the hands of law enforcement, and how indelicately black lives are publicly scrutinized for character flaws when that vulnerability results in death.
Something seemed wrong about this situation. The officer said, "Give me your keys!" I said, "Why" but she ignored me. I still wasn't sure what was going on, I said, No. "Wrong answer" she replied. She snatched open my car door yelling, "Get the f**k out of the car" as she yanked me from my seat.
I attended yet another prayer vigil for an unarmed African American shot and killed by a police officer. No, I was not in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Charleston or in the state of Florida. I was here in Memphis, Tennessee.
In addition to discussing Kanye's rise to fame, Dr. West discussed the early years of her son's life as well as the years leading up to his birth in the tome.
The majority of the second half of the book explores her feelings on issues like homophobia, community service, and politics through the lens of her multiple Grammy Award winning son's actions.
Earlier this summer, our beloved former Programming Chief Ken Gibbs, Jr. spoke with West about her new book -- which was co-written with black publishing titan Karen Hunter.
"Much of Kanye's spirit, brashness and confidence came directly from his mother," Hunter told The BV Newswire upon hearing the news of Dr. West's demise. "She taught him how to be his own person by example."
"Her own story is incredible, her own talents, vast (in addition to having a PhD, she was a poet, an actress and an activist)," the Hunter College professor and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist added. "I only got to know her a short time ago, but what I know is that she was a woman who lived her life with an enviable freedom and above all else, loved her son and her family dearly."
"This news is heartbreaking," she added. "Dr. Donda West will be surely missed!"
-- Check out Dr. Donda West on the More Than Words podcast.
-- Dr. Donda West and Kanye featured in the Mother's Day Photo Gallery.
UPDATE: According to the British Broadcasting Company (BBC), Dr. West's publicist Patricia Green said she passed away "as the result of complications from a cosmetic surgical procedure." Meanwhile, TMZ has famed black plastic surgeon Dr. Jan Adams on record stating that he performed cosmetic surgery on Dr. West shortly before she died.
She was 58 years old.
VIDEO: Dr. Donda West on Chicago's WGN TV Show