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.
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.
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.
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.
The world of short blogs and 140 characters is symbolic of the all too prevalent overly simplified analyses, and sensational headlines that might generation "likes" and "retweets," but do not bring us to a better understanding of people, communities or our history.
The only thing left to do is to unite and use the power of our voices to make a difference. Instead of using violence, use your voice to stand up for injustice in the world. Form collaborative partnerships within the community that can truly make a difference.
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.
Saying "all lives matter" is nothing more than you centering and inserting yourself within a very emotional and personal situation without any empathy or respect. Saying "all lives matter" is unnecessary.
So many of us feel so powerless, unable to affect substantive change, unable to do anything other than hurt. Powerless does not mean there isn't work to be done. It is silence, inactivity, complacency and disconnect that are the enemies of justice, not rage.
In her 2005 memoir, 'Life Is Not a Fairytale,' and her Lifetime television network biopic of the same name, Fantasia let it be known that she's experienced her share of hard times.
The North Carolina-native was raped by a classmate and shortly thereafter became a single mother -- all before dropping out of high school. This left Fantasia a victim of low self-esteem. To say that she shares a few things with 'The Color Purple's' main character would be an understatement.
If you were fortunate enough to witness this one-name musical powerhouse take over the Broadway role of Celie Johnson from Tony Award-winning actress LaChanze, there is no doubt you knew this casting was genius.
The 'American Idol' winner starred in the musical adaptation of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel from April 2007 to January 2008. And with every emotional song she sang on stage, it became more difficult to gauge if there really was a Grammy Award-nominated singer beneath that dowdy outfit and nappy pigtails.
But on July 1, Fantasia reprised her role in the Washington, D.C., production of the Oprah Winfrey-produced musical.
Though health problems caused the 'American Idol' winner to miss about 50 performances during her nine-month Broadway run, this time around, Fantasia said she's in a different place in her life than her first go 'round.
"It's been a journey," she shared with BV Newswire during the opening-night celebration earlier this week at the Kennedy Center. "In New York, I had a lot of stuff going on...a lot of dead weight, a lot of baggage, and I took that into the role."
"I dealt with all of that, and it helped me to survive a lot of things that I was going through," she continued. "It was a touchy situation, but the story, I can relate."
This made the singer a bit hesitant to return to the stage.
"It's a lot of stuff going on in the world," she said, adding, "I don't want to say that I wanted to come back, but I had to just to touch people's lives."
Another highlight of the Kennedy Center production comes in the form of two very special reunions for Fantasia: her former 'American Idol' competitor LaToya London is playing the role of Nettie and Tony Award- nominated powerhouse Felicia P. Fields, who originated the role of Sophia, which Winfrey made famous in the 1985 Academy Award-nominated film, is also part of the cast.
'It's been really great every time I try to do this show," Fields offered. "It has a metamorphosis with Fantasia coming in. It's been more exciting, and we've searched out new things to do. That's the beauty of live theater."
And like her character, Fields isn't biting her tongue about what motivated her to come back. Like Fantasia, she's hoping that her character's story touches the hearts of theater-goers.
"It's been really great, but the piece is so powerful. I enjoy the message and the opportunity to minister to ladies who have been abused and say, 'Hell no.'"
Director Gary Griffin is back at the show's helm, too. For the musical's original ringmaster, Fantasia's return and the new venue are a perfect match. "We all said when we arrived here that it doesn't feel huge [and] there is something warm and embracing about it," Griffin said. "'The Color Purple' evolved with time, and I would say that Fantasia is two years older, and I think her wisdom, her talent, and her artistry have evolved."
After its Washington, D.C., run ends on Aug. 9 at the Kennedy Center's Opera House, 'Color Purple' will play in Atlanta for two weeks, from Sept. 2 -13, ending its national run in Chicago, from Sept.15-27.
After her three-month commitment to the play, the J Records singer plans to focus on her album, which she told BV Newswire she's taking her time to complete. "While I'm doing 'The Color Purple,' nothing should come between this. It takes a lot of dedication."
As previously reported by BV Buzz, Fantasia is also filming a reality show.The Color Purple musical
Fantasia said Celie's message to her is simple: "Beauty is in the inside. Love your eyes, love your wide nose, big ears and whatever God has given you. She finds that at the end."
And so does the actress who plays her.