Fresh off the videotaped execution of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old New York man who was handcuffed and placed in a fatal chokehold by a police officer in July came the disbelief at the shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., the following month. The aching helplessness was potent as yet another Black child was snatched away under incomprehensible circumstances. Though the media portrayed the riotous protesters in Missouri as violent and scary and our Black president told us that assaulting police officers is inexcusable, we all understood the explosions that took place night after night. It is said that each of us has his or her own manner of grieving; in Ferguson, the heartache combined with years of frustration and rage became a combustible mix that transformed into a rolling march of Black passion.

At the same time they displayed their anger, the young protesters also showed their love. One of their own had been taken, right before their eyes, and they wanted the world to know that they had his back.

Murders by police officers, which appear to be racially motivated, are a dramatic violation of the social contract. This nation has carefully tended to the idea that we react only in response to an act; ergo, an eye for an eye. But when you take my eye because you don’t appreciate its look and your motivation is fed by your irrational fear and insecurity, you have spat upon our societal rules.

Read more in the October 2014 issue of EBONY Magazine.