Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King.

civil rights protest in Birmingham, AL
OP-ED

To live in an America free of prejudice requires constant work–work that may never be finished.

There are people far better equipped to write poignantly and eloquently about this day’s celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr., but I am mindful of the fact that offering up words of encouragement and support and empathy is important.

Today ought to be a day in which we look for unity, to applaud our forward momentum, to carefully reconsider our missteps. That’s what I felt growing up–this was a celebratory day, not a reminder of how far we have to go–and even now I’m troubled by how wide that chasm seems.

The nation’s intensified gaze upon our growing racial divide, sharpened among police brutality, riots, and elections, has emboldened a lot of people harboring racist words and deeds. I always wanted to believe they were the human equivalent of carnival sideshows–Look! A racist! What a creature!–but in truth so many of them live and breathe openly among us. Continue reading “Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King.”

Cheers to You, 2016

nye
OP-ED

The Year is Dead. Long live the year!

The internet this week seems full of a collective eagerness to finish off 2016 and move on toward the New Year. I can’t recall another instance in which so many folks were ready to call it quits for the year–but only in the last several years have we had the ability to share our collective psyches so readily.

Even so, 2016 seems to have been especially hard on so many. The obvious reasons include the divisive and contentious election and seemingly relentless celebrity deaths, but there were abundant natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and domestic riots. It was a year in which, regardless of where one lands on the spectrum, we wondered who on earth those people on the opposite side actually were.

Continue reading “Cheers to You, 2016”

In a Different America

OP-ED

In a different America — not necessarily a better or perfect America, just a different one — our country’s reaction to Alton Sterling’s death at the hands of Baton Rouge police might be enough.

In a different America, we would awake to the news of Philando Castile’s death in Minnesota with the same shock we felt when another plane hit the Twin Towers, with the same feeling of dread when Bobby Kennedy was killed, with the same feeling of helplessness when the bomb went off at the Boston finish line.

In a different America, the Republican House caucus would take up the matter of police brutality against African Americans, opening an investigation into this startling trend made public thanks to vigilant citizens and their cell phone cameras. Speaker Paul Ryan would gavel Congress into a special session so that our country might pause together in a moment of silence to remember Alton and Philando and their families, and others who unjustly died at the hands of justice and their families.

Continue reading “In a Different America”