The point is simply that stories change as time passes and new evidence surfaces. In the "Age of Instant Closure" we can expect new twists to the Baltimore narrative in the weeks and months ahead, as we saw with Ferguson and the Rolling Stone/UVA rape case.
It's hard for me to celebrate on Mother's Day. I feel the absence of my 23-year-old son, Sean Elijah Bell, who was killed on November 25, 2006. He was out celebrating at his own bachelor party with his friends in New York City. It was only a matter of a hours before his wedding, and I was so thrilled.
Like so many African American men before him in this country, Gray was guilty of nothing other than "walking while black." In his case, Baltimore's sordid history of racial and class oppression, combined with the war on drugs, made for a deadly combination.
The decision by Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby to charge six officers for the death of Freddie Gray, while important, is not the end of the process toward justice. Rather, it is just the beginning step.
Our nation owes a great debt to the young persons and older adults who protested against acts of actual or perceived police misconduct in Baltimore, Maryland; Staten Island, New York; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Ferguson, Missouri; Cleveland, Ohio; North Charleston, South Carolina; and other cities around the country. They are the moral conscience of our nation.
Despite poetic mantras championing the American Dream and romanticized ideas of equality regarding race, gender and sexuality -- laws were not instituted to protect or factor morality.
Is there even any value in my pain, frustration or trying to use my voice? Is there any point in trying to engage my fellow American in dialogue that can bring about awareness? Should I even waste my breath trying to explain to you why Black people are sick and tired of being sick and tired?
The first day of May seemed to mark a turning point in the story of Freddie Gray, the Baltimore man who died of a severe spinal injury incurred while in police custody. His death set off a wave of protests that turned violent this past week.
In the past year or so, there has been a tendency for white people opposed to any outcry against police brutality and ongoing racial discrimination to invoke MLK's words about the content of character being the yardstick to judge a man instead of skin color.
It would be little surprise if poverty, inequality, injustice, and feelings of hopelessness were identified as the root causes of the current state of race relations in our communities. But rather than speculate or argue over the issue, let's have a national discussion, transparent and honest, led by the president himself.
How do we eliminate the bias against black skin which seems to be so inextricably linked to issues of discrimination that have a real impact on the progress of African-Americans? Economic investment, legal reform and improvements in education are certainly needed. But, I also believe that positive multicultural media is part of the solution.
I have wondered whether importing present technology -- ubiquitous cell phone cameras and social media -- to 1970 might have made a difference in fixing responsibility for the Kent State shootings.
During my childhood I was aware that I was different in color from the majority of people around me, but my father and mother emphasized brainpower, not color. Color was what you were, but not using your brain was a choice.
Freddie Gray's homicide was not an isolated incident; it was the tipping point. That said, the question now is how to honor this truth?
Unfortunately, police have a tendency to adopt a siege mentality, circling the wagons on every occasion of potential wrongdoing. Then they wonder why the public has a growing distrust of police departments, even as they defend the indefensible. Police must stop defending criminals in their midst if they hope to regain the public support they should so clearly have.