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      I wanted to hate Ava Duvernay for making When They See Us. Her film was too poignant, too distressing, too good, and, frankly, too close to home. The scene when Korey Wise, the character played by Jharrel Jerome, first entered Rikers Island—I was transported back to that same moment in my life.. When the officer said to get butt-naked—I was...

August 24, 2018

Airbnb doesn’t care about people like me.

I learned this the hard way a few months ago when I tried to find accommodation in Washington, D.C.

After chaperoning two busloads of youth from New York City for the March for Our Lives, I decided to stay a couple more days. The other chaperones agreed to ride the bus back to New York City with the kids, and I logged into my new Airbnb account for the first time to find a place to spend...

July 26, 2017

In 1999, when I was 19 years old, I was arrested and charged with first degree murder, several counts of attempted murder, attempted robbery, and several counts of criminal use of a weapon. I was convicted of first degree assault and third degree weapons possession, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2002.

As a prisoner in the New York State Department of Correctional Services, my new name quickly became Department Iden...

This first-ever cruise was a five day celebration of unity and Black joy

Fifteen hundred people, including me, left America for a magical experience the day after Donald Trump became the president-elect. We boarded the Norwegian Pearl in the port of Miami for the first ever Uber Soca Cruise, a five-day fete, aka soca party, to Jamaica and back (though many of us seriously considered not returning).

We left for freedom.

Branded as...

September 29, 2016

What was Terence Cutcher thinking about before those Tulsa, Okla., police killed him?

Every time cops stop me while I’m driving my car in the middle of the night, I begin thinking about how good my funeral will be. I think about a packed funeral home with standing room only. I have lots of friends, and I know they will have lots of really tender and heartwarming things to say about me. There will be people who knew me from my t...

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