This commentary is part one of a four part series on racism and the over-policing of African-Americans and other people of color.

In mid-July, I was sitting in a truck stop in Jackson, Miss., listening to President Obama’s message to the nation; filled with heart-felt sorrow and pearls of wisdom over the killing of five police officers in Dallas.

Next to me was a table of retired men who congregate to pass the time. They were in their 70s, possibly older. What drew my attention was the reality that as children, prior to the landmark 1954 Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, these Black and white men could never have shared the same table. They would never have dared to eat together, much less pass the time of day together, as equals and without hostility and rancour.

And so I know, things can change in America. This is what I hang onto as I face tomorrow with fury, and as much hope and optimism as I can muster. All are very much needed.
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