There is no excuse for courts to fail the victims of sexual violence. As Physicians for Human Rights has demonstrated in its work in eastern Congo, doctors, nurses, police investigators, prosecutors, and judges can work together to support evidence-based prosecutions for crimes of sexual violence. The ICC should know better. The ICC should do better.
Last year's jury decisions in racially-charged investigations were only the most recent to reveal the schism in the country's perceptions of how race intersects with justice. From the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research archives, here is a look back over more than twenty years of data on race and the jury system.
Jesse Washington was just one black man to die horribly at the hands of white death squads. Between 1882 and 1968 -- 1968! -- there were 4,743 recorded lynchings in the U.S. About a quarter of them were white people, many of whom had been killed for sympathizing with black folks. My father, who was born in 1904 near Paris, Texas, kept in a drawer that newspaper photograph from back when he was a boy of thousands of people gathered as if at a picnic to feast on the torture and hanging of a black man in the center of town. On a journey tracing our roots many years later, my father choked and grew silent as we stood near the spot where it had happened. Yes, it was hard to get back to sleep the night we heard the news of the Jordanian pilot's horrendous end. ISIS be damned! I thought. But with the next breath I could only think that our own barbarians did not have to wait at any gate. They were insiders. Home grown. Godly. Our neighbors, friends, and kin. People like us.
Every day, along with a group of nearly 50 other people, I have the privilege of making seed grants to up and coming social change leaders around the world. The Pollination Project helps this community of daily givers identify new grantees. Here are the extraordinary people and projects that we supported this past week.
We don't want to talk about race and religion because it might get awkward. We don't want to talk about sex because we might say the wrong thing. We can't speak about gay marriage and climate change because we're afraid of offending someone or sounding too open- or closed-minded. So we talk about work or complain or rave about the latest iPhone.
I want to offer three recommendations to all who believe in freedom and are praying that 2015 is the year that future history books and major motion pictures show that we stood as communities and as a nation for justice for all. Having worked with so many powerful voices in this current generation, I believe we can.