Activists and academics alike came together last Wednesday for the 31st annual UC Santa Cruz Martin Luther King, Jr. convocation held at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium, which was filled to capacity for the event that proudly hosted Angela Davis.
Government abuse of the grand jury system has become so notorious and problematic, it caused New York Court of Appeals Judge Sol Wachtler to famously say nearly 30 years ago that if a prosecutor wanted to, a grand jury would "indict a ham sandwich."
What is needed is exactly what the Kerner Commission recommended to the country 46 years ago: a comprehensive shift in the priorities of our social spending away from the military-industrial-prison complex and toward widespread development of impoverished parts of America.
There are the large moments. The ones where the Veil is lifted. These are the moments when the music stops and the dance ends. These are the moments when one can keep humming the tune and twirling like nothing has changed or stop to realize that those beyond the Veil have no cause for dancing.
While Dunn is unlikely to ever experience life again as a free man, neither Martin nor Davis will experience life at all beyond their 17th year of existence simply because someone else decided that they were justified in using their gun to 'defend' themselves.
Inspired by Gandhi's success with non-violence and passive resistance in India's struggles, we know that Martin Luther King Jr. became the leader of the Civil Rights Movement by encouraging passive resistance. But these were violent times, the type of violence that is hard to imagine in 2014.
Dr. Martin Luther King popularized the notion of the "Beloved Community." Economic and social justice are the twin pillars supporting the Beloved Community. These twin pillars are also necessary for a healthy society. What would be the health impacts of living in such a society?
Right now, Kendrick is king. His innovation runs deep, and I hope it runs deep enough to avoid the shallowness of an industry that too often neglects freshness and comfortably embraces the modus operandi.
The undervaluing of black lives and race-based hate crimes remain a critical issue. How can a people be truly free if they are dehumanized, and even killed, because of their race, and often without consequence?
Fruitvale Station is harrowing to watch, but its intensity is deeply rewarding for anyone who wants to learn more -- not only about the social injustices that continue to plague this country, but also about something that tragedy has always taught us best: the essential nobility of the human soul.