Crawford, father to two young children, did have something in his hand, but it wasn't a rifle or a shotgun. Rather, it was a toy BB gun he had picked up from the shelves in the store to buy.
There must be tens of thousands of people like me who spent years living and working in St. Louis, but now reside somewhere else. And, like me, many probably left a piece of their hearts in St. Louis. That's why we scan the national news frequently for the latest on our old home town. This was especially true during "Ferguson."
There are too many young people in this country who are not given the opportunity to rise to their full potential with a college education. What are institutions of higher education missing through the absence of students like Michael Brown?
The publishing industry can't solve this problem, but the relative lack of children's books by and about people of color nonetheless functions as a kind of "symbolic annihilation."
As we face the rugged terrain ahead, our marching orders must be the sobering words that speak presciently from the grave of the late Coretta Scott King: "Struggle is a never ending process. Freedom is never really won, you earn it and win it in every generation."
There is no other place in the world, where basic human rights are so violated, as Palestine. For many people around the globe the problem has ended the moment two sides signed a peace agreement. Not for the Palestinians.
The stark and wildly diverse perceptions that white and black Americans have of the crisis in Ferguson (and on race in general) is crucial evidence that the racial divide in our nation is still considerable.
As we witness the drug and criminal justice policies of the "greatest democracy in the world" lag behind those of an ever expanding list of other countries around the world, more and more are coming down on the right side of history.
On one side of this discussion are those who are holding up the shooting of Michael Brown as an example of the racial inequality in this country and in the justice system in particular. On the other side of this discussion are those who see racism as a hoax to be disproved.
In supporting Mike Brown, Washington NFL players spotlight need for solidarity for all races, not just one or some.
This move could result in the release of thousands of low-level federal inmates caught up in the drug war. For a president who, hitherto, had the most conservative pardon record in recent history (e.g. in Obama's first term, he pardoned 1 in 50 applicants, while Ronald Reagan pardoned 1 in 3), such a shift is noteworthy.
Mothers have relinquished their boys to demarcations of manhood for centuries, whether it be going to college or the armed services. No woman should ever have to release their son to hate -- and that is what our nation has required of Black women for too long in our nation.
What changes have come about since our #EndMassIncarceration petition? Well, there's been about 20 developments and victories in the way of criminal justice reform (not including changes at the state/local level), at least 6 of which that are having or will have measurable impact.
A headline is not a eulogy. A headline's purpose should be to help us to determine what's important in a news event. And while I realize the constant assault of our newsfeeds leads to higher-stake headlines, what's important is that a teenager -- not an "honor student" -- has been killed.
At the core of all of this is an ignominious reality at odds with one of the nation's most (publicly) cherished ideals, and one of our Constitution's most sacred laws: the Fourteenth Amendment right to "equal protection of the laws."
We grasp tightly onto our dirty, old habits of prejudice by focusing on the surface issues of race, when instead I believe the world is much more dynamic and simplified if we infuse a larger dose of humanity back into it.