We cannot achieve any legal, political or social progress without legal, political and social consequences for individuals -- not just institutions.
"I created these images to raise awareness about racist police violence in America."
The rapid explosion of cell phones, YouTube and Twitter has increased public awareness of police misconduct toward black citizens. As a result, white attitudes are changing and protests led by black activists are accelerating. This may be a moment in our history when real reform is possible.
When I visited Christian Love Baptist Church in Irvington, N.J. on July 19 and heard Johnson speak, six years after her son's death, it wasn't a dramatization of events it was real life. A mother poured her heart out to a congregation, which understood her pain.
It's hard for me to celebrate on Mother's Day. I feel the absence of my 23-year-old son, Sean Elijah Bell, who was killed on November 25, 2006. He was out celebrating at his own bachelor party with his friends in New York City. It was only a matter of a hours before his wedding, and I was so thrilled.
Perhaps the call to examine this one case would be understandable if justice came more often, but we've seen these unjust acts in communities of more color for far too long.
Before the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, recedes in the rear-view mirror, let's be straight with ourselves about what the events surrounding his death tell us about race in America.