The horrific cases in Ferguson, in Staten Island with the death of Eric Garner, and all across the country serve as stark reminders that we must have a say in who polices us, and how that policing is done. We must, we must, let our voices be heard on Election Day.
In 1999, I was in St. Louis with Martin Luther King III as we led protests against the state's failure to hire minority contractors for highway construction projects. We went at dawn on a summer day with over a thousand people and performed acts of civil disobedience.
From racial profiling and being pulled over just for 'driving while black' to this new phenomenon of killing unarmed people out of some preconceived idea of fear, our lives and our children's lives are not being valued.
I was raised by a single mother who made a way for me. She used to scrub floors as a domestic worker, put a cleaning rag in her pocketbook and ride the subways in Brooklyn so I would have food on the table. But she taught me as I walked her to the subway that life is about not where you start, but where you're going. That's family values.
When people discuss the 1960s and the great Civil Rights Era, they often speak in romantic terms as if there wasn't immense work put in, and as if there wasn't immense sacrifice that took place. But none of those battles were easily fought and won; there were sustained movements behind them.
As I often say, we have come a long way from the days of slavery, but in 2014, discrimination and inequality still saturate our society in modern ways. Though racism may be less blatant now in many cases, its existence is undeniable.
The resignation of Attorney General Eric Holder is met with both pride and disappointment by the Civil Rights community. We are proud that he has been the best Attorney General on Civil Rights in U.S. history and disappointed because he leaves at a critical time when we need his continued diligence most.
There's no reason why children in inner cities or rural areas do not receive the same quality education or opportunities as those in suburbs or wealthy neighborhoods. If we truly believe in giving all citizens a chance to pursue happiness and pursue their goals, then we cannot continue to marginalize entire groups of people.
Like myself, President Obama is the father of two daughters. He understands the obstacles that they face as women, but he also understands the emergency of the state of young black men in America.
If companies can refuse to provide coverage for women, what other objections to the Affordable Care Act will we see based on 'religious grounds'? For that matter, will 'religious freedom' be used as an excuse to discriminate against other minorities and disenfranchised groups across the board? Where will it end?