I need to know that you are not merely worried about this most tragic of worst case scenarios befalling my son; I need to know that you are out there changing the ethos that puts it in place. That you see this as something that unites us as mothers, friends and human beings.
Over the years, the startling consistency of the manner in which I am addressed while he is ignored has become a quasi joke between us.
No one who cares about the death of Michael Brown, or the scourge of police brutality, can ever choose not to vote, again. Period. Not only did people die so that you could vote, people die because you do not vote.
The central tenet of reproductive justice is that every woman has the right to have children, not have children, and to parent the children we have in safe and healthy environments.
Rather than spending dollars on drones and other questionable, expensive military equipment, it is time that local law enforcement officials shift those resources toward training on how to more effectively engage their local communities, especially young people of color.
I created these political cartoons to express my feelings about the current situation in Ferguson, MO. I am a native of St. Louis, by way of East St. Louis, Illinois, a community that mirrors Ferguson in it's racial and socio-economic climate.
Ferguson was not just an event in which police overreacted to heated demonstrations; it's a symptom of a generalized hatred of democracy in this country -- the hatred of the truly bold idea that politics should be the work of everyday people and that power should not be concentrated in the hands of a few.
In the past, if you needed a loan for your car, home improvements or to consolidate your credit cards, you would need to get dressed up and head down to the bank to beg for money. The Internet has made things a little easier.
There needs to be an organized national movement that proposes and lobbies for policy changes in law enforcements that need it and then in the state legislatures, Governor's Mansions, and Congress. Let the deaths of Martin, Garner, Bell, Grant, and countless others not be in vain.
Kevin Sorbo's rant about Ferguson and... American history in general (I can't say "African American" anymore, according to Sorbo) doesn't really deserve a response.
The U.S. criminal justice system is built on the premise that one size does not fit when meting out justice. An individualized sentencing practice is key to a fair and just sentence.
For all those who loved "Big Mike," and all the other unnamed youth who have died to "justifiable" or "legal interventions" by law officers and know that Ferguson deserves change: be inspired -- register and vote for justice and for the fulfilled promise of peace.
In addition to concerns in Ferguson about lost learning time educators have a more urgent worry: making sure students who typically rely on school meals don't go hungry.
The news accounts in recent weeks are tragically similar, from Los Angeles to Staten Island to Ferguson. Unarmed black men killed by police. But four years before anyone knew where Ferguson was located on a map, there was the fatal shooting of Danroy Henry Jr., known to his friends and family as "DJ."
I am praying today, with my hands raised high, for a nation in which black boys are not feared, a nation in which they also need not fear for their safety.
In August 1964, mourners sang "We Shall Overcome" at the memorial services and funerals for Andrew Goodman James Chaney and Michael Schwerner, three civil rights workers murdered in Mississippi. Fifty years later, it is still being sung at services and protests in Ferguson, Missouri.
I hope every Black leader, parent, grandparent and preacher will mount a united and irresistible voice to end the structural exclusion of millions of children from the education and other opportunities required to keep them from dead-end lives.
When my sons got their driver's licenses, I wasn't worried about the high cost of auto insurance or what car was best for them. I was terrified of what they would experience driving while black. It was time for "The Lesson" on how to survive when stopped by police.
To date, no black reality television star has scored a win in any political race.
But that hasn't stopped a few from trying to capitalize -- politically -- on what is widely believed to be their 15 minutes of fame.
Since starring on the first season of MTV's 'Real World,' former Vibe magazine writer Kevin Powell has had two unsuccessful runs for New York's 10th Congressional District seat. Powell remains undeterred and has plans to run a third time in 2010.
Meanwhile, 'Apprentice' winner and Rhodes Scholar Dr. Randal Pinkett is rumored to be on incumbent New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine's short list for Lieutenant Governor. Pinkett, an MIT and Rutgers University graduate, would be the first African American to run statewide as a major-party candidate in the history of New Jersey.
Now, two very different reality television stars --(l-r) Landon Dais and Kwame Smalls --are vying for New York City Council seats.
New York native Landon Dais joined the cast of BET's 'Harlem Heights' to further his political aspirations. The son of a political activist, Dais says would have run for New York City Council District 9 in Harlem regardless of whether he was on TV.
"I was very weary of joining the reality show," Dais confided. "In today's society, television executives believe the only way to get high ratings is through drama and enhancing the negative about people."
The Morehouse College graduate says his desire to be a positive role model and to "influence one kid to go to college" led to his decision to join the cast of 'Harlem Heights.' And though some Harlemites initially questioned his motives for running for office, "once they saw me walking the streets of Harlem at all times of the night, talking to the youth, they realized I was a legitimate candidate who really cared about the people of Harlem," he chuckles.
For Dais, becoming a quasi-celebrity has helped him win recognition in the community. Though he is second in the polls, he still believes going door to door and meeting people in his community has given him a real shot at winning.
"The young people gravitate towards me, and the older people in the community I Love New Yorksee that I am the only viable candidate who can get the young people to care about the political process. This has caused a lot of older people to support my efforts."
And then, there is Smalls.
This 'I Love New York 2' contestant is running for a New York City Council seat. Given his on-air persona, he's had a tougher time getting the people to take him seriously.
"People may not take me seriously, [but it is] also good because people don't see me as a threat," he told BV Newswire this week. When probed about his educational background, the jovial contender offered: "Let's just say, like Kanye West, I'm a college dropout. I learned that I didn't have to have a political education to run for city council."
In fact, his decision to run for office came after the reunion special for 'I Love Money 2,' another VH1 reality show, in which Smalls (also known as "It") was reunited with his 'I Love New York 2' competition, George 'Tailor Made' Weisgerber.
Weisgerber, who won Miss New York's love on the show, is now Smalls' campaign manager. The two have spent the last several weeks canvassing the district for signatures to get on the ballot.
"Yes, I'm a beautiful speaker. I'm an actor," Smalls explained. "I study the techniques of Malcolm X, following his speeches, and I love it!"
Although Smalls thinks he can win, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth -- a former White House staffer and 'Apprentice' star -- has some disappointing news: "You need a ton of money and a political mastermind [to win an election], and reality television stars don't have access to capital."
Dais agrees, but if these reality stars can prove the naysayers wrong what a story that will make, or perhaps provide fodder for another reality television show on life after winning
Manigault-Stallworth, who has appeared in over 20 reality television shows, continues to work in politics however; the 'Bitch Switch' author works as a fundraiser and believes her television persona has worked to her advantage, helping her become a "much more effective political operative."
Yet, Donald Trump's most famous reality TV protege will admit that running for, and winning, a political office is difficult. "I have not seen it done well, quite frankly," she added. "Being famous does not always translate into being an effective politician."
Her advice? "They need to hire me to be their campaign manager," she recommended. "I'm the missing key to their success."
The Democratic primary election for New York City Council takes place Sept. 15 for both Dais and Smalls.
Interested parties can find out more about Dais' campaign at www.LandonDais.com. Smalls, on the other hand, wishes for his supporters to check out his YouTube video.