There has been much discussion about what citizenship education should look like in the 21st century. This was an outstanding example of young people becoming activists, raising questions with adults, searching for answers, and sharing their ideas with a broader audience.
As we wrestle with two Grand Jury decisions not to indict police officers for murder, I am reminded of anti-lynching advocate Ida B. Wells. Wells, an African American journalist who often sent detectives to investigate individual lynchings and published their reports.
If the United States had better trained, more professional police, we certainly would not have so many police homicides, which are tearing apart the social fabric of our country.
In this catalytic moment driven by cataclysmic circumstances, what we have witnessed across America since the non-indictments of officers in the killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner may be new to a generation, but it is not new to a nation.
What recent events show is that now, just like in the 1960s, activists need to fight on multiple fronts.
Lack of values, justice and fairness between police and black Americans is the decades-long backdrop leading up to Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and so many others that are part of the "Ferguson Effect" in our country.
I have interviewed Spike many times over the years on TV, but on this day he was among the thousands of protesters in the nation's capital.
Comparing how quickly activists came together to form the Civil Rights and Anti-War movements in the '60s, to current sprouting social movements fueled by hashtags like #ICantBreathe, one can observe the exponential amplification value that social media serves in activism today.
The imagery of the giant, brutish, King-Kong-like black man threatening our cities is far from new. Currently it seems to be intersecting dangerously with another popular rhetorical image: the obese person who is responsible for his own frail, unworthy body. This intersection was especially on display in Eric Garner's case.
I've long been sick of how every time we have an event happen in this country that makes us uncomfortable we love to get on our soapboxes and use the phrase "it's time we had a conversation about (insert presumed issue here) in this country."
I used to spend a lot of time defending my school: "I love it here," "They don't enforce a lot of the conservative rules," but I now realize that the administration needs to start taking some responsibility for letting its students down.
I wondered why pro athletes have not responded with the same outrage to the racial bias and negative stereotypes that have infected their sport.
If all is lost, then there's no reason to try and win. But all is not lost. We have won tremendous victories on civil rights and equality for everyone. We've also suffered setbacks. But we cannot give up. We will not give up. In fact, we shall overcome.
We are no longer OK with the mainstream LGBT organizations among you who signal your complicity in anti-Black violence through your loud silence and deliberate ignoring of the types of systemic, institutionalized forms of anti-Black racism that negatively impact Black queer and trans people (and all Black people), disallow Black well-being, and deaden us.
Already, the evidence is pouring in that police body cameras are helpful for police and civilians. When police officers are accountable to a video camera monitoring them, it appears to make a big change in their behavior.