Maybe random conversations about race can't be meaningful. Maybe we can't expect relative strangers in a busy coffee shop to connect over the subject. But I tire of all the reasons we can't make progress on this issue. People don't want to talk about race, period, not with strangers, not with friends, not over dinner. It's as if we won't acknowledge it.
The national holiday celebrating Dr. King's birthday is over, but I hope we will heed and act on his 1967 declaration and work to win the first victory right here at home in the biggest economy on earth and end the shame of 14.7 million children being the poorest Americans by ending child poverty now.
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.