Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. Michael Brown. Tamir Rice. Freddie Gray. I’ve heard the names of these African American men paraded across the endless stream of news media in the past couple of years. The tragic frequency of the same stories, of unarmed black men killed by police officers, is striking. It’s often horrifying to think about the all too many more people who share the exact same story that don’t become household names.
The widespread racial profiling, police brutality, and unjustified killing of unarmed African Americans has sparked protests and demonstrations in cities across America, from Chicago to New York. Certainly, the rally cries of the Black Lives Matter movement speak to the collective frustration of the African American community, “Hands up, don’t shoot”, “I can’t breathe”, “Is my son next?”, among others. And more disappointingly, in their aftermath, the police officers responsible for the killings are not charged.