We must not and cannot dismiss these incidents as simply the actions of a few individuals, for racism and other forms of oppression exist on multiple levels. These incidents are symptoms of larger systemic national problems.
We have allowed this environment to fester in Florida and the rest of the country for much too long. Why don't we collectively resolve, over the long-haul, to make the Martin family the last family we grieve for and with?
Many people would agree that disparate treatment based on race is wrong, but how can we try to remedy the situation when so few people are willing to create policies and practices that explicitly address such forms of structural racism?
African-American and Latino families have been hit especially hard by economic recession. Most outrageously, these communities were also targets of many of the practices that helped cause it -- including discrimination, predatory lending and fraud.
I agree with the Justice Department that South Carolina's proposed picture ID requirement as a precondition to voting is not necessary. I just don't believe that fraud at the polls is a significant problem.
The U.S. high tech industry employed 5.87 million people in 2009 -- and its total payroll given high average salaries was 10 percent of all wages paid in the country. Yet blacks and Latinos are horrendously underrepresented in the industry, especially in Silicon Valley itself.
December 10th is Human Rights Day, a day when people and governments around the world will celebrate the 63rd anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recommit to protecting and promoting human rights.
To what degree are we all fellow-citizens in this society, and to what degree are we not? Are we one America or are we two? If we are one America, it is surely time to make the alleviation of poverty our number one priority.