The pain of Dominika Stanley over the senseless loss of her baby girl, Aiyana, is unimaginable. Hard to suffer, too, is the crushing weight of isolation and alienation as the world responds to tragedies like that of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown Jr., and Eric Garner to the exclusion of the loss of black women's and girls' lives.
While grading term papers in the undergraduate course I teach at USF, "From Slavery to Obama," I found myself watching the televised funeral of one the NYPD officers recently assassinated by an apparently deranged African-American man. The coincidence prompted me to reflect on the moral and political challenges confronting our nation as we commence the new year of 2015.
The best and most effective way to insure officer safety is still to strengthen proactive, positive police community dialogue, outreach and engagement. The Brown and Garner families and their supporters echoed that when they took great pains to repeat that the goal of protests was never anti-police but anti-police abuse.
It makes little difference how erroneous or flawed an autopsy is the likelihood that it will be questioned is slim precisely because is viewed as an incontrovertible scientific medical examination. It ignores the fact that in many cases a pathologist's determination as to how a person died is simply an opinion.
Do not be silent. Do not be complacent. Do not continue to live with police misconduct and violence as somehow acceptable. We are not anti-police; we are anti-police-brutality. And today we challenge Congress to follow in the president's footsteps and take legislative action to protect us, the citizens.
In the wake of the deaths of Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner, a substantial number of African Americans no longer believe that the police operating in their communities will treat them fairly and impartially. Against this reality, I believe the following proposals for action should be seriously considered.
Mothers across the country are taking to the streets to demand accountability and change in American policing that criminalizes African Americans regardless of actual crimes committed. The deplorable failure of a grand jury to indict Darren Wilson for killing unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown is just the latest evidence that the system is beyond broken.
In my last blog post I wrote, "The president and the attorney general should immediately convene a meeting at the White House of young black men and their representatives and the chiefs of police of most major urban communities...." Yesterday the president did just that and actually went even further.
Is Ferguson the existential reality of America in 2014? The inconvenient truth is that many African Americans see the grand jury decision as further confirmation of their belief that nothing has changed since the Kerner Report of 1968, and that nothing will; a police officer who shoots and kills an unarmed black man will almost always be exonerated.