Philadelphia has a long history as an incubator for social justice activism, from the abolition of slavery to the Black Power movement. Moreover, with its high unemployment and poverty, low wages, and high incarceration rate, the city could become another Baltimore.
While we may speak similarly as another from the same culture, a racially monolithic way of talking is simply not possible. We deserve to give each other room for cultural background and experience, and should not force each other to conform into our conceptions of their group.
With the sermon on the mount and the Beatitudes in mind, we have to ask ourselves. What would Jesus do if He lived today and His community was being oppressed and killed by those in power?
Even when we disagree, we owe it to each other to push the discourse with researched rigor, not just anecdotal evidence or conceptions that can often guise logical fallacies.
I can go on and on about how the life of 20-year-old O'Shea Jackson, aka Ice Cube was similar to every other 20-year-old black man in Amerikkka, I mean, America. The lessons he learned and the messages he portrayed exhibited on this album can still be heard today.
When I see the video of panic-stricken Toya Graham, I see myself, and all the other Black mothers who are desperate to keep our children physically, spiritually and emotionally safe in a society that doesn't honor their childhood. It's a special desperation known mostly by the oppressed.
The April riots in Baltimore, Maryland, were shocking, but in retrospect, should not have been a surprise. The tensions between the police officers and African Americans living in segregated, inner-city communities have been festering for decades.
Despite these understandable challenges, I do believe now is the time for us to engage in menstrual hygiene advocacy, for ourselves as well as for women and girls around the world. Our silence about menstruation has kept us psychologically and reproductively sick.
Someone must issue a moral call to arms to reclaim the banner of decency, moral outrage, and nonviolence to save our children. Yes, young black men are our children.
I have grown to love my features, not because the whims of fleeting trends tell me that I am allowed to, but because wishing to be anything different is an affront to who I am. Because there is something beautiful in the curves and hues that contribute to the woman I see in the mirror.
It's hard for me to celebrate on Mother's Day. I feel the absence of my 23-year-old son, Sean Elijah Bell, who was killed on November 25, 2006. He was out celebrating at his own bachelor party with his friends in New York City. It was only a matter of a hours before his wedding, and I was so thrilled.
Despite poetic mantras championing the American Dream and romanticized ideas of equality regarding race, gender and sexuality -- laws were not instituted to protect or factor morality.
With increasing frequency, when people in my friendship circle discover that I am a retired HBCU chancellor, they want to know three things. First, since white colleges and universities no longer have racially restrictive admission policies, are HBCUs still necessary?
The racial state formed as a result of the institution of slavery, as predicated on white supremacist beliefs illustrated in segregation after 1896, has been transformed into a structural crisis faced by urban black communities today.
I take our "come as you are" philosophy very seriously, showing up every Sunday as I am. A little bit rock and roll, and every bit as transgender as I was the day before.
The Africans in Italy could tell right away that I was different. I was identified as being American. This was a different feeling for me. For the first time, I felt my American identity could really shine.
My name is Rachel, and I'm white. I've benefited from white privilege my entire life, most of the time without knowing it. When I became a mom, things changed for me, dramatically. My husband and I decided that we could be great parents to a child of any race.
I realized as the tears ran down my face that I had adopted a stoic stance about these things; all week I hadn't allowed myself to feel the sadness of what Freddie Gray, his family and Black Baltimoreans, young and old had suffered.
"As women we always think, 'I want this. I want that.' I don't have a checklist. You all know me. You all know my personality. I'm like, 'Come on, Trump. Come on TV One. Find me somebody,' " she laughed.
Taping will start later this month, with the show set to premiere this fall, but, don't expect the show to be too similar to last season's competition.
"I think it's just different personalities, period," the Dayton, Ohio native said. "She's Omarosa and Toccara is Toccara. I think Omarosa's season was absolutely amazing, and that's one of the reasons why I signed up for this. I think I'm fun, outgoing, loud and spontaneous," she said. "I think these guys are going to court me and love me, and I just can't wait. That's my fantasy."
Toccara's last boyfriend was Atlantic Records President of Black Music Michael Kyser, who as of late has been rumored to be dating gossip blogger Necole Bitchie.
"Is he with Necole Bitchie?" Toccara mused. "I don't think he's with her, but he just told me that on the blogs they said that he bought Necole Bitchie some breasts. Does she have fake breasts? I don't even know. These people be making up these rumors."
Regardless of his relationship status, the buxom beauty still has a great deal of love and respect for Kyser.
"I think Kyser is absolutely amazing. Our relationship is and was absolutely amazing. He supports me in everything I do. Even with me doing this show now, he's very supportive to me as a friend, and I really value his advice," she revealed.
"He's my best friend. We talk about things. Even things that we don't want to talk about. We just have a really good relationship, and I think that's why I don't have any securities or anything. There's no need to. I'm single. He's single. He can date whoever he wants to date. I can date whoever I want to date."
When probed about whether she'd consider getting back with him if she doesn't find Mr. Right on television, she added, "I haven't ruled it out."
In her personal life, Toccara still manages to keep up with Banks "as much as I can" and a few of her 'Top Model' pals.
"Tyra is so much about her business and is so focused on her brand and everything, but she gives me great advice and is a great mentor. She never leaves me hanging. I love Tyra," she shared.
But she had no clue Tyra was currently enrolled at Harvard Business School.
"She's going to Harvard right now? She's smart, duh? She knows what she's doing," she joked.
"I think that 'America's Next Top Model' was such an amazing platform and opportunity for all the girls. I think we've all turned five minutes into an hour full of fame and have been very successful. Yaya [DaCosta] is doing her thing. She was just at my birthday in New York City and Eva [Marcille] is in L.A. and me and her still stay in touch, and she's wonderful," she said.
"But I think coming from where we're from, and of all the girls who have participated in 'America's Next Top Model,' and for you to be able to say YaYa, Eva and Toccara to stand apart from the pack is just absolutely amazing."