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. 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.
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.
One of the world's premiere dance companies, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, will team with Bristol-Myers Squibb pharmaceutical company for a new Worlds AIDS Day initiative.
"Fight HIV Your Way" is a contest designed to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS and inspire people affected by the disease to continue their fight.
The 10 first-place winners, who will be announced in July, will be the inspiration for a new dance performed by the troupe. The company's new artistic director Robert Battle, who will take over the role from Judith Jamison July 1, will choose a renowned choreographer to create the piece. It will debut during Ailey's New York City Center season in December 2011and continue to be performed as part of a 2012 national tour.
Jamison announced the contest in conjunction with the start of the season.
"Today, as we open Ailey's New York season celebrating 50 years of Alvin Ailey's inspiring 'Revelations' and announce the launch of the Reyataz "Fight HIV Your Way" contest, the poignancy of this date couldn't be stronger. We lost our founder, Alvin Ailey, to the disease 21 years ago on Dec. 1, 1989," she said.
The beloved company founder got his start on Broadway as a dancer in Truman Capote's 'House of Flowers,' and in the late 1950s, began choreographing work that explored the black experience. After appearing in the acclaimed film 'Carmen Jones,' the Texas native founded his modern dance troupe in 1958 and enlisted big-name dancers such as Katherine Dunham and Ted Shawn and choreographers like George Faison and Talley Beatty.
His most famous dancers were influenced by social protest and the black church, and his popular performances featured Negro spirituals and music from jazz great Duke Ellington.
Ailey died at Lenox Hill Hospital in Harlem at the age of 58 of a terminal blood disorder, which was the result of complications from AIDS.
Jamison added, "Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is proud to be paying homage to the thousands of individuals fighting HIV their way and look forward to unveiling this original collaboration next year."
National Minority AIDS Council and actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, who does HIV awareness through her annual concert 'Diva's Simply Singing' and her one-woman show 'Sometimes I Cry,' is also excited about the contest initiative.
"Dance is a transformational visual art that has the unique power to unite diverse audiences," she said.
"Bristol-Myers Squibb's Reyataz 'Fight HIV Your Way' contest provides people with a channel to express how they fight HIV their way. This year, with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's involvement, the photos and essays will, literally, move and continue to provide courage and strength for others with HIV," the 'Dreamgirls' star added.
People are being asked to submit their stories through a photo and essay to www.fightHIVyourway.com through Feb. 28.