(Centennial Fellow) When I was in law school, I had the privilege of working at the Institute on Race & Poverty. IRP was focused on issues that were found at the intersection of race and poverty. IRP recognized that while race and poverty were concerns independent of each other, when they intersected, it raised a different and more complex set of concerns. I appreciated that perspective as a law student, but as a professional and a community member, the realities of that perspective have deepened over time.
“Dead cops.” “When do we want that?” “Now.” You didn’t hear it for the first time here. You heard it all around the country recently after two separate Grand Juries, in two different cities, determined that there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against police officers who killed an “innocent” citizen with a gun. And those words of hatred were spewed by “peaceful” demonstrators many of whom were engaged in rioting and looting of businesses.
(Centennial Fellow) Heading up a Colorado-based nonprofit that seeks to make global justice concerns present and practical to ordinary Americans, I read the headlines with a different perspective than most people. International issues have been central in news stories throughout 2014 and have had an increasing impact on our communities, our country, and our world. While there are justice concerns in every region of the globe and many significant events from the past year, I highlight the following “Top 10” news stories for their impact during 2014 as well as their implications for 2015:
Given the hyper-charged rhetoric and sheer level of irrationality surrounding the violence in Ferguson, Mo., I suppose we ought to consider ourselves fortunate if the principle lesson drawn from the whole sad affair is there are some people who like to break and throw things and set cars and stores on fire. Because it seems highly unlikely anything that would actually help poor black communities will be allowed to emerge from the ashes of that unfortunate city.
In our legal system, facts rule. In our societal system, perceptions rule. The challenge is reconciling the two in order to achieve fairness and justice. Fundamentally it is this tension between the two that is at the core of the current discord in Ferguson, Missouri over the death of Michael Brown. And it is our approach to the results that will allow us to address the underlying issues.
We’ve had plenty of rhetorical villains since the fatal police shooting of a black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, little more than grandstanders stirring up fear in vengeful tones. And we’ve had violence and looting, mostly by nonresidents taking advantage of a tragedy to enrich themselves. But we’ve had heroes, too, and, at the young man’s funeral, we had calls for engaged citizenship and a stop to community disruption. Healing may be on the way.
We’ve had plenty of rhetorical villains since the fatal police shooting of a black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, little more than grandstanders stirring up fear in vengeful tones. And we’ve had violence and looting, mostly by nonresidents taking advantage of a tragedy to enrich themselves. But we’ve had heroes, too, and, at the young man’s funeral, we had calls for engaged citizenship and a stop to community disruption.