While overall rates of disconnection from society are likely to trend down as the nation recovers from the Great Recession, history suggests that disconnected young men of color are in danger of being permanently left behind, and this has implications for future generations.
Martin was more than just another young black male gunned down in an act of senseless violence. He became and will remain a challenge to the nation to do something about that violence.
The challenge in addressing race relations in America has always been struggling to find the right place and time. In order to effectively embark upon that journey, police may need to be their own first respondents in addressing race and ethnicity within their own communities.
I hope this act of public self-defining and self-healing by Trayvon Martin's mother Sybrina Fulton is not overlooked.
The achievement gap will never close until we as a society, especially educators, tackle the justice gap head-on.
Fashion, throughout history, has created an illustrative identity within African-American history. Fashion is a statement and speaks volumes with little to no words.
Saturday Night Live became relevant again for about five minutes during Episode 13 of its 40th season. But it wasn't the writers or the cast that did it. It was D'Angelo.
Recent events are stark reminders that we have not reached the mountaintop where "all God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands." Today is a cause not for celebration but for mourning. More than 50 years later, it seems that we have chipped away at Dr. King's efforts to get a foothold on the dream.
I have concluded that America's Evangelical church covers up America's structural racism, helps to hide it, and is thereby complicit in the abuse.
Where we have a constraining pair of pants or shorts, we can still look back on its forerunner, the bloomer, which was as revolutionary a feminist statement as was ever any parade of militant protestors.
To quote Pharrell Williams' hit song "Happy," "it might seem crazy, what I'm about to say." In regard to race relations, there wasn't much to be happy about in 2014. Still, I'm happy and optimistic about race relations in 2015.
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.