All were willing to step up to make a difference, to lead when it could be dangerous, and to let their lives be shining examples for others. We should remember them when we face stormy and cloudy weather in our national life and become bright rainbows of hope like them.
The challenge must be to extend your liberalism to uncomfortable depths that not only speak to today's crises, but stand the test of time for equality in future generations.
Our country needs all of us to chip in. Every day in your life you can push for change. I don't have enough room to list all the examples here, but educate yourself on what subtle, modern day racism looks like because its damage is real.
We waited. Trayvon Martin. Mike Brown. Eric Garner. Nothing.
As medical students, health care professionals, and supporters all across the country come together for #WhiteCoats4BlackLives demonstrations, we do so with the understanding that the status quo is not acceptable, that the path we are headed down is not sustainable, and our lack of discussion on race in this country is not healthy.
A legal, constitutionally protected way to defeat racism is right in front of us. After all, everyone can relate to not wanting to be viewed as a criminal, regardless of how they feel about climate change or taxes.
The urge to respond to bigots with bigotry is natural, but it's misguided. It's a fool's defense mechanism, a failed attempt at a syllogism.
The most talked about book of American poetry of 2014 is Claudia Rankine's Citizen. In fact, it is hard to think of a book of poems in recent memory that has received more acclaim.
It's human nature to want to believe in the rightness of our own actions and intentions. But it's precisely human nature that is the problem; the fact that human evil is predictable does not make it excusable. We must be willing to consider ourselves culpable, and to put ourselves at risk.
Nothing will bring back the four lives that were tragically and unjustly cut short. But it's what we do now that will define our legacy as a nation.
You can talk all you want about being "color blind," while still unconsciously assuming that middle class white lives are the standard against which all other lives are to be measured.
Racial stereotypes -- faulty perceptions based on race -- have blunted black Americans' achievement in just about any area you care to measure: from education and employment to housing and economic success.
As we move toward Bethlehem this Advent season, in the wake of the grand jury rulings in Ferguson and Staten Island, I'm reminded of the rarely preached upon section of the story of the Wise Men.
One might think that, by turning Martin Luther King, Jr., into a cultural icon and electing a black president, America has bid farewell to its racist past. Recent events in Ferguson, MO, New York, and Phoenix, however, blow holes in that fantasy.
The night Darren Wilson walked away from an indictment in the shooting death of Michael Brown, I was banned from one of my favorite social-media groups, a group for gay dads. It seems that this group was not the place to talk about race, policing and what happened in Ferguson.
We need a bold inter-racial movement to demand social justice for all of America's sons and daughters. That movement is already underway.