The end of the year is a natural time for reflection. It’s a moment when we look back at the highs and lows with an informed perspective that allows us to see things in a greater context as opposed to what it felt like at the time.

Normally, the focus of the December issue is to celebrate our biggest achievements over the past 365 days. But 2014 felt a little different. It seemed as if the topic that was on the tip of everyone’s tongue wasn’t who had the biggest-selling album, most expensive wedding or even a blockbuster hit. This year, the one thing that felt like an undeniable, common truth: Black folks are living in clear and present danger.

Since the top of the year, it seemed that a week wouldn’t go by without another news story highlighting the harassment or abuse of our community by police officers and non-Black civilians alike. Even worse, in many cases the egregious acts didn’t receive justice despite indisputable evidence, such as video footage and eyewitnesses.

One case that particularly shook the nation was the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. The unarmed 18-year-old boy was killed by a local police officer who remains free. As word spread of the injustice, the people of Ferguson reacted and invited the nation to join them. Many of us did. We marched. We prayed. We demanded justice. It has yet to be served.

Read more in the December 2014 issue of EBONY Magazine.