This year, no one is safe when it comes to the ridiculous onslaught of ignorance about to people of color. Whether it was the media, celebrities, or members of our own community, the backwards advice and excuses for the degrading of our people was annoying.
Know the balance between deference toward authority and personal dignity. At times, you will have to exercise restraint in the face of humiliating circumstances. At other times, you will be compelled to take a stand. Both options require courage, but the outcome is unpredictable.
We need to learn from Ferguson so that we will be prepared for the Fergusons of the future. We can prepare ourselves and our communities to respond to violence without letting it overtake us. We can fight evil without becoming evil. We can find the third way that is neither fight nor flight.
The current public debate and wave of articles about how colleges can do a better job of providing access to students from low-income families reminds me that for over a century, most colleges have had an affirmative action policy for rich, well-connected white kids. It is called "legacy" admissions.
Black films and artists were an integral part of the lineup at this year's Toronto International Film Festival along with other world premieres. Dramas, genre movies, comedies, romantic films and documentaries positioned themselves early for this year's annual Oscar race.
After listening to Ready to Die from beginning to end, I realized how much of a fool I was to have been blind to this album for so many years. To simply call it a classic and leave it at that would be an understatement.
In supporting Mike Brown, Washington NFL players spotlight need for solidarity for all races, not just one or some.
We march because we know that climate change affects everyone, but its impacts are not equally felt: those who have contributed the least to causing the crisis are hit hardest, here and around the world.
Even if we ignore black women's grinding poverty, the sky-high rates of HIV infection, and the disproportionate incarceration, the fact is nearly half of all black women have been sexually coerced by the age of 18.
It doesn't much matter whether Donald Trump had a hand in blowing off Obama from his golf outing or not. The pattern of disrespect and denigration of Obama has been long set in stone. The golf snub is just the latest incident to fit the pattern.
The reason for Robert McCullough's foot drag on or outright refusal to prosecute Darren Wilson strikes to the heart of why he and other prosecutors either won't prosecute officers or invariably blow the case against them the rare times they do.
As we witness the drug and criminal justice policies of the "greatest democracy in the world" lag behind those of an ever expanding list of other countries around the world, more and more are coming down on the right side of history.
This school year, don't leave out the pep talk about grades and their futures and blah, blah, blah. But, make sure they understand that your love and pride aren't contingent on anything other than the fact that raising them is the greatest privilege you'll ever have.
Ferguson is one of those situations that forces us to reevaluate where we are as a people, as a culture, as a society and what things need to be improved.
My mother's parting words were about tear gas. 'If you're hit by some and can't breathe and your eyes begin to burn, cover your face with this cloth,' she said. It was 1968 and my family was living in Washington, D.C., where I was born.
What is the company culture around Roger Goodell's NFL? It's profiting out of glamorizing lawbreakers.
The stark and wildly diverse perceptions that white and black Americans have of the crisis in Ferguson (and on race in general) is crucial evidence that the racial divide in our nation is still considerable.
With sensual tales that would make the author of the Kamasutra blush, not only does Zane pen her own books, but she publishes other authors under her own banner, Strebor Books.
By Angela Bronner, AOL Black Voices
Being the daughter of Frank Lucas had its privileges -- Francine Lucas Sinclair knows of $50,000 Fendi coats and a smorgasbord of expensive toys. She also remembers a daddy who used to make her breakfast and who would save his baby girl from getting her hair combed.
Francine Lucas Sinclair also knows of a childhood filled with shame and untruths.
The man she knew as daddy was to the rest of the world Frank Lucas, notorious drug kingpin who flooded the streets of Harlem with heroin, recently immortalized by Denzel Washington in the film, 'American Gangster.'
For his exploits in the drug game, Frank was incarcerated when Francine was 3 years old, and her mother, Julie Lucas, also was jailed, forcing the toddler to live with her mother's parents in Puerto Rico .
After years of silence, Francine Lucas Sinclair finally spoke about her parents this year; hers of course is not a typical story in the sense of $50,000 coats but quite typical in that one in every eight African American children has a parent in jail.
Francine Lucas Sinclair today lives in Atlanta with her husband and two children, and has founded a non-profit , Yellow Brick Roads for the 2.4 million American children who live with the shame, fear, financial and emotional turmoil that is born from a parent who is incarcerated.
What do you remember about your father, Frank Lucas, from your childhood?
I remember him being very good to me - he was like my protector. He would come home every day, bring me candy, play with me, throw me up in the air, cook me breakfast, and also when my mom and them would want to do my hair, I would scream and he would stop them from doing my hair. Absolutely daddy's little girl.
What about your mother? Did she go to jail because of your father's business?
My mother was sent away for six months initially and then she went away when I was about 9. The first time, yes, but the second time, it wasn't connected to my dad's business. It was something about a conspiracy and trying to connect people.
Did your grandparents try to hide the truth about your parents?
No, they didn't try to hide the truth from me. I knew my parents were in prison - I didn't know all the details about the scope of everything but I did know that there were drugs involved. I didn't really know what drugs were until I was 12 or 13 when I saw a movie called 'Less Than Zero' with Robert Downey Jr. But I really didn't know the extent of everything until I was 27 and saw the New York magazine article [the article on which the film was based].
How did you stay connected to your father?
When I was growing up I would talk to him every Sunday at 3. I didn't get to see him once he went to prison because once he went into the Federal prison system, they move them around and I was in Puerto Rico. I only got to see my mom once when she was away; she was gone for five years. I never did get to see my dad when he was in prison. The first time he came out was when I was nine and then he went back in for another seven years.
Did you ever think to ask as a nine-year-old about why your dad was away?
No, and that's very typical of that situation. You just get the "I'll be home soon" and you know that's not the truth but you're scared to ask. We know but we don't want to know. We really don't. Most kids will hide it; over their dead body are you going to find out the truth.
Why did you hold your secret for over 20 years -- was it shame?
Shame, absolutely, yes. Shame. There was shame and there was no reason to tell anybody. I would just make up stories about my parents, I would never go there.
So did you lie about your parents when you were younger?
Yeah, I would say they lived in the states. What did they do? I'd say they were in real estate. I would say whatever. If it was someone I knew I'd know for a long time, I'd say real estate but if it was someone in passing, I'd say anything like, he's in the military or something. I'd stick to those two lies -- either real estate or the military that way my story, I could always remember. You know when you lie, you always have to keep track of your lies.
The shame you mentioned, what was that about? Judgement?
Most children of incarcerated parents don't want people judging them or judging their parents because it hurts them like they're judging them. So yes, shame, sense of abandonment, loss. Just confusion and worry. Worry.
Why did you finally tell your story?
It took I don't know what for me to come out because I thought it would help some other people, but I would have gone with that to my grave if I could have. That's how most kids feel.
What do you think children of incarcerated parents need the most?
They need to be able to stay in touch with their parents. There are exceptions, but if the parents are in prison because of something that had nothing to do with the child...because the child doesn't see the crime. He only sees the parent that comes home every day and who's nice and loves them. The kid doesn't see the other side. A lot of these children end up with elderly grandparents. I think the most important thing for children of incarcerated parents is for the children to stay in touch with their parents, and possibly see them. And to see them, touch them. Because for some of these prisons, they can't even touch their parents. And for a kid that is crazy.
Talk about your Yellow Brick Roads program, for children of incarcerated parents.
I've been visualizing this since last year but the web site went up in June. I've been trying to make it a national program, something like the Boys and Girls club, but specifically for children of incarcerated parents. One chapter in every city. Basically, it's an afterschool program where kids can go and they can feel like they can speak freely, other kids are there from their same situation. They'll get help with their homework, extracurricular activities, financial literacy. Also have a program that can help transport the children to go see the parents because a lot of them have problems to go see their parents. Also give their caregivers support and also give their parents support.
How does this program differ from say, a Big Brother, Big Sister program?
A lot of programs out there like Big Brother, Big Sister, they have mentoring programs, but mentorship is part of the solution but it's not the solution. Mentorship should be in the context of something else. Because it's not the same thing if someone takes me out to a ballgame and gets ice cream and I'm worried to death about my mom. I'm here having a good time with this person I just met, but I really wish I could be sharing this time with my parent. And the child feels guilty about that, you know? My dad's over there rotting away in a cell and I'm over here having a blast. That's the way I felt because I did have a few people who tried to mentor me without knowing my situation. I didn't feel good about it. This is going to be for children of incarcerated parents by children of incarcerated parents. A lot of people on the board will be children of incarcerated parents.
Who was the first person you told about your father?
Glamour magazine in July 2007.
Wait, your husband didn't know?
Well, he knew about my father, but he didn't know about my mother. When the article in New York magazine came out in 2000, I felt like I had to tell him because we were kind of getting serious. But I still was able to hang onto that little piece of information [about my mother] because I think it was that critical.
Wow. So this is very new. How do you feel?
I feel good.
Have you gotten a lot of feedback from people?
Oh yes, you wouldn't imagine. The heart wrenching emails I get from people who are like thank you bringing this to light, for sharing your story because we don't feel so invisible anymore.
Resources for Children of the Incarcerated: