I've known the gentleman in handcuffs in this picture for almost 20 years. His name is Rev. Starsky Wilson and he's being lead away from a peaceful demonstration in Ferguson, Missouri this week. Starsky and I went to college together and although he's a bit older than I am - I am humbled to say that we were contemporaries at Xavier University of Louisiana.
The above picture was taken minutes prior, and shows him locked arm-in-arm with Dr. Cornel West. You may remember him from the Matrix sequels, but if that's all you know about him - well... Wikipedia.
I am not going to lie, the issues of Ferguson are divisive. I'm not here to debate the specifics- this simply is not the forum. What is on my mind are the broader implications of civil rights in America today. At its core, the concept of civil rights is about equality. One should not have to have their equality legislated but this is the situation that so many individuals find themselves in - regardless of where you live in the world. America is home to quite a few things, but disparity lives everywhere.
When I was in graduate school my advisor told me that "... everything that is easy has already been done." There are some of us who endeavor to do better for ourselves and others knowing that there will be trials ahead. If you want to be the best at what you do - you are going to have to sacrifice something. You have to give something up to get something - the universe does not hand things out gratis.
The mission of Free Radical Labs is broaden people's horizons specifically in the fields of math, science and the like. We don't care what color you are or where you came from - all we want to do is get more people to understand how fulfilling learning something new can be. You can be 16 or 60 - we just hope that you can spend some time here and take something away that makes your life a little better. This is our calling, this is our cause.
I sometimes wonder how much American society really understands and/or values the notion of education. Let me be clear, I'm not talking about degrees - what I am speaking on is the gaining and transfer of useful knowledge. To me, this is a right that should be inalienable. There is no excuse for high school seniors that cannot read. America should not be a place where grown men and women struggle with the basic math skills to budget their money. Although many people don't see it, education is a part of civil rights. I should not have to take you back to 1950s Kansas to make my point. I am uncomfortable in a society where teachers struggle to make ends meet and "socialites" literally have money to burn.
Rev. Wilson reminded me that we have to fight for the things we believe in. He believes in something. I believe in something. We believe in you too!
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