If Dr. King's "March on Ballot Boxes" speech has taught us anything, it is that we cannot afford to be complacent. We must do everything within our power to push for progress in our community. We must ensure that our voices are heard -- and that our voices will drown out those who strive to reverse the social advancements we have fought so hard to achieve.
My cop friends tell me that in addition to institutional biases that can't be minimized, training is often antiquated and premised on the days of being "tough on crime," once the only approach to policing. Assuming my officer friends are correct, we can expect more incidents like Charlena Cooks', and that things will get worse before they get better.
While everyone has their eyes on the U.S. Department of Justice with hopes it will launch federal civil rights actions against Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, the two police officers involved in the Brown and Garner matters, it's actually equally important for us to focus on local politics. It's there that the power for change lies.
When we declare Asperger's "guilty," with inaccurate media reports linking autism and violence, we perpetuate the stereotypes that individuals with autism are incapable of being mainstreamed and fully integrated into their communities at best, and at worst, we label autistic individuals as social deviants.