Decades of segregation and inequality in Ferguson, as well as most American metropolitan areas, have fostered a racial inequality exacerbated by the criminalization of not just poverty, but the criminalization of black and brown bodies. Too many whites are too willing to believe that a black body poses a threat.
It's hard to continue. I wish it was my kids' bedtime. I wish the dishes were done. I wish the house was clean. I wish America wasn't racist. I wish Mike Brown was in police custody. I wish Darren Wilson admitted guilt. I wish America admitted guilt.
My daughter and I were standing in the middle of the baseball field in Inwood Hill Park, looking up at the stars, when something told me to check to see if the decision was finally announced. "NO INDICTMENT" stared back at me, taunting. I fell to my knees, crying. Yet again I was that kid watching an injustice occur right before my eyes and feeling helpless to do anything about it.
The gradual ground we have gained regarding our civil rights should not be confused with the literal stalemate we have had with the U.S. justice system regarding our human rights for more than 200 years.
Having failed so miserably earlier this month to express our justified anger at the ballot box, this Thanksgiving weekend, along with its Black Friday promotions, throughout the holiday season, and for whatever necessary days or months to come, we have been given the opportunity to express our justified rage, anew.
I don't think the fate of Darren Wilson as a human being really means anything to the ruling class. At the end of the day, people like Bob McCulloch aren't protecting Wilson so much as the system that he stood for.
This is a sad day. The grand jury's decision is yet another sign that all of America's sons' lives are not yet valued equally in the eyes of our courts. All of America's fathers, mothers and children should stay outraged and in motion for progress until we are finally what we say we are: One Nation, Under God, Indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for All. The path to these goals is focused advocacy and, where necessary, non-violent direct action. Those are the strategies that led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act and Civil Rights Acts 50 years ago and the outlawing of racial profiling in New York City just two years ago. Today we are all Michael Brown. Tomorrow we must ensure each of our lives is valued equally in the eyes of our nation's laws, law enforcement officers, and courts.
Last year, Mazy was aware and confident enough in herself, after coping with a lot of self-shame and bullying, to share with her family, second grade class and elementary school that she had always known she was a girl.
We are in a state of emergency, a time of challenge and controversy, but not because of the protestors. That state of emergency will continue until we stand, become uncomfortable, and demand a justice system that addresses the manifestation of pain in protest, the further chipping away of respect, and the real state of emergency our country faces.
This is consistent with the cultural logic that makes it okay in America to use brutal force when confronted by a Black villain. Thus, how can a grand jury indict Officer Darren Wilson when he was battling The Hulk?
We now all have the chance to examine the evidence -- released last night -- in the grand jury's decision not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson, who fired multiple bullets into Michael Brown. But the verdict on America's criminal justice system is already in for many Americans: guilty, for treating young black men differently than young white men.
I can't speak. My country has scarred me once again. How can I go to work in the morning on a train full of people who care not? At a workplace of people who missed the story because of football or reality television?
Perhaps the call to examine this one case would be understandable if justice came more often, but we've seen these unjust acts in communities of more color for far too long.
On March 22, 1991, a visibly shaken and angered President George H.W. Bush said he was "sickened and outraged" by what he saw on television. That was the beating of black motorist Rodney King by a swarm of LAPD cops.
The convenient spectacle of "violence in the streets" obscures the perpetuation of "structural violence" everywhere.
These things happen all the time, right? They will happen forever, right? It's nice to think they won't. It's probably best to think life won't always be like this. Optimism is good. But I know I'm going to have to tell my future children about this country. What should I tell them?
The tragedy of Michael Brown's death, unarmed and shot by a member of the Ferguson police, is now followed by the tragic failure of the local courts to force the policeman to stand trial. This cannot stand without a measure of accountability. And on that score look no further than the prosecutor's office.
Deep down, whether I want to admit or not, I know the truth. The racism that James Baldwin knew and ultimately made him leave the country isn't really gone. It's just changed its form.
To understand this moment, we have to understand that Ferguson is yet another unraveled thread in the closely woven fabric of racism that has cloaked this country for 500 years.
When 'CSI: NY' actor Hill Harper decided to pen a tome to inspire and uplift young African American men, he was confronted by plenty of naysayers. At his New York book-launch party for 'Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny,' the Harvard-educated author talked about the numerous people who told him young black people don't read. Instead of letting the negative comments dissuade him from writing, Harper stood firm in his belief that he had a message that young people needed to hear.
"I knew I could get an effective message across to our amazing young people. I am happy to know that both of my books have become [New York Times] best sellers, because that indicates to me that statistics and stereotypes can be overcome."
Harper's 2006 debut, inspired by Rainer Maria Rilke's 'Letters to a Young Poet,' includes advice from the likes of his Harvard Law classmate President Barack Obama, as well as rap star Nas and tennis great Venus Williams.
In 2008, Harper's second offering, 'Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny,' followed. The book, which was designed to inspire young women and is written in letter format, features advice from influential black women like First Lady Michelle Obama, Nikki Giovanni and Ruby Dee.
Now, the 43-year-old, who notes that his biggest struggle in dating has been how much time he spends on the road, is hoping to switch gears and talk about relationships in his new book, 'The Conversation: How Black Men and Women Can Build Trusting Relationships.'
"My last two books, 'Letters to a Young Brother' and 'Letters to a Young Sister,' relied heavily on contributions from well-known men and women who had wisdom to impart to and inspire our youth. 'The Conversation,' however, is different," he clarified.
"The research I did for the book was all about talking to many people from all different walks of life to explore how we are or are not communicating as men and women."
The idea for 'The Conversation,' which includes stories from couples in all stages of relationships -- from new love to 50-year-long marriages -- came from the Iowa native's travels while promoting his previous books.
"While traveling the country on book tours and speaking engagements, I meet all sorts of people. ...Many of them trust me and feel comfortable enough to share their feelings and personal experiences," he said. "It made me want to explore both the reasons for the poor state of our men-women relationships and solutions for making them better."
Considering, as Harper points out, that in 1966, nearly 80 percent of black children were raised in two-parent households. Now that rate is a mere 33 percent; it is a good time for 'The Conversation' to hit bookstores this September.
After the release of 'The Conversation,' Harper hopes to work on a children's book series. But he's quick to remind everyone about how proud he is that his Harvard classmate is now the president of the United States of America.
"I'm so proud of him; I am so proud of us. Let's all of us work as hard as we can in our own communities to create the change that he discussed during the campaign so that we can see real transformation. He can't do it alone, and he is working really hard...so we should do the same."
Harper is certainly doing his part as an author. If 'The Conversation' is as successful as his previous two books, President Obama is certainly equally proud of Harper.Hill Harper Letters'The Conversation' will be released via Gotham Books on Sept. 8.