If you've been a good little citizen lately and are paying attention to what's happening outside of your own world, you know about the strife happening in Ferguson, Missouri. For the fifth night in a row, locals took to the streets last night to protest the killing of an unarmed 18-year-old by a St. Louis County police officer last Saturday. Michael Brown was planning to start college on Monday.
Protesters are angry, and rightfully so. In the last month alone, four unarmed black men have been killed by police, from New York to California.
North Carolina hasn't been immune to police brutality, oh no. Erin Tracy-Blackwood recently explored police abuse in Durham. And don't forget last year's CMPD officer shooting death of 24-year-old Jonathan Ferrell.
The photos and video that have come out of this small Missouri town the last few days beg the questions, "What country is that town in? Is this 2014?" Via social media, I've seen photo comparisons to protests that are happening in the Middle East and civil rights protests that happened 50 years ago (progress, much?). Real talk: Ferguson is less than a half-day's drive away from Charlotte.
Racism is still a huge problem, and the folks who will comment on this post to say I'm wrong probably have never truly considered what it might be like to walk in someone else's shoes. To be a man with dark skin means to be a man with a target on his back. Or on his head. Or on his chest.
Tonight, cities across the nation will hold a peaceful vigil and observe a moment of silence for all victims of police brutality. Locally, that rally is at Marshall Park at 7 p.m. If you plan to attend, wear a red scarf, bandana, or ribbon around your right wrist or arm. The hashtag is #NMOS14.
To borrow a quote I saw on Twitter from longtime local columnist Tommy Tomlinson: "America doesn't reveal itself in the obvious places. Often it's somewhere few of us had ever heard of. Somewhere like Ferguson, Missouri."
This is our America. It's not pretty.