If the only people we are able to extend empathy to are those who are like us, who come from the same country we do, or who share our faith, then we misunderstand what empathy is.

Those who support the death penalty are accepting a practice that is both ineffective and fundamentally flawed.

I think about the history of racism in this country all the time.

The beauty of the World Cup is that while thirty-two countries get to cheer for their respective teams, the event also affirms a global pluralism - it is as much a festival of cultural multiplicity as it is a competition featuring some of the best athletes in the world.

The benefits of prison education go beyond lowering recidivism rates and increasing post-release employment. It can also rekindle a sense of purpose and confidence.

New Orleans taught me that mourning takes many different forms. Where I'm from, mourning is spirited. It is loud.

There is simply no better way to generate buzz for soccer in your country than having your team in the World Cup.

Empathy should not be contingent on our proximity to suffering or the likelihood of it happening to us. Rather, it should stem from a disdain that suffering is happening at all.

Photography, sculpture, and painting were wielded as cultural weapons over the course of generations to substantiate the idea that black people were inherently subordinate beings; they were used to make slavery acceptable and to make black subjugation more palatable.

I'm not sure that there are days of my life when I'm not confronted with racism. For some, that may seem hyperbolic, but it's true.

Our entire lives, we're inundated with media and messaging that tells us that to be incarcerated is to be criminal and to be criminal is to be a bad person.

Sometimes sports serves as a reprieve from politics, and sometimes it serves as an extension of it.

When the residue of oppression and fear are compounded over time, when the historical precedents of policing and discrimination manifest themselves over and over again, the very act of waking up to a world complicit in your distress can feel like a herculean task. But black people are human beings, just like everyone else.

As we walked through the National Museum of African American History and Culture, I pushed my grandfather in a wheelchair he had reluctantly agreed to sit in. He is a proud man who also knows that his knees aren't what they once were - that years of high school and college football had long accelerated the deterioration of his aging joints.

Older prisoners are more expensive for prisons to house because they tend to require more health care over time.

Supporting black professional athletes was taken seriously in my home.

Systemic racism always takes a toll, whether it be by bullet or by blood clot.

Sometimes a poem should just be about a girl jumping rope. It doesn't have to be something that is imbued with more despair.

Each holiday season, as family members arrive and couches are unfolded, my household settles into a palpable nostalgia. Poorly designed photo albums are pulled from the shelves. Home videos of prepubescent siblings in matching pajamas dance across the television screen.

History has proven that art depicting black people cannot be disentangled from the political implications that such art has on their lives. As Africans were being stripped from the continent and sailed across the Atlantic to the Western world, depictions of black people in Western art changed in order to further render them racialized caricatures.

To be clear, affirmative action is not, by itself, an adequate response to decades of systemic looting, but it has been an indispensible tool in inching us towards some semblance of a more equitable society.

Black artists deserve the opportunity to create work without the burden of alleviating the social ills plaguing many black communities.

When the U.S. team went on its historic run to the World Cup quarter-finals in 2002, I was thirteen years old. Each game in that run - the astonishing victory against Portugal, the resilient win over Mexico, even the gutsy but unlucky effort against the Germans - propelled me to push my other athletic interests aside and focus only on soccer.

In my hometown of New Orleans, grief is a public spectacle that, somewhat paradoxically, necessitates celebration. The dead are not mourned so much as they are posthumously venerated with music and dance.

'A Talk to Teachers' showed me that a teacher's work should reject the false pretense of being apolitical and, instead, confront the problems that shape our students' lives.

Education is a human right - a recognition of dignity that each person should be afforded.

While the most disadvantaged students - most often poor students of color - receive the most considerable academic benefits from attending diverse schools, research demonstrates that young people in general, regardless of their background, experience profound benefits from attending integrated schools.

We spend so much time listening to the things people are saying that we rarely pay attention to the things they don't.

The death penalty not only takes away the life of the person strapped to the table - it takes away a little bit of the humanity in each of us.

In sixth grade, my status as a Boy Scout was not something I went out of my way to share. In fact, I spent most of my adolescence attempting to keep it a secret from those who might use it as a source of derision. The off-brown collared shirt and forest-green sash were not something I would have ever been caught wearing in front of my friends.

Until affirmative action is described and understood as one mechanism by which to make amends for historical wrongdoing against members of marginalized communities, it will fail to meaningfully address the inequality that exists as a direct result of federal policy.

A cage that allows someone to walk around inside of it is still a cage.

Do those serving life sentences deserve access to educational opportunities never having a future beyond bars? The answer is yes and necessitates that in-prison education serves additional goals beyond reducing recidivism.

Young people are constantly absorbing - through media, textbooks, and policy - the myths of American exceptionalism; for black children, this means that what they are taught in class does not match the world that they navigate daily.

The moral abhorrence of private prisons has been brought to our attention by courageous acts of investigative journalism, illuminating scholarship, and the work of activists who have decried the social stratification brought about by our prison systems.

Schools are the single largest lever of mobility in this country. When we commit to creating and enforcing laws that acknowledge the injustice of the past, we open up the possibility of using schools as a means of reducing inequality.

Until lawmakers can disentangle property taxes from public education, inequalities - perpetuated by the Supreme Court and Congress - will persist.

We tend to think of racism as this interpersonal verbal or physical abuse, when in truth, that is only one way that racism manifests itself. The reality of contemporary racism is that it while it is ubiquitous, it is often invisible, subsequently making it more difficult to name and identify.

My parents raised me and my siblings in an armor of advice, an ocean of alarm bells so someone wouldn't steal the breath from our lungs, so that they wouldn't make a memory of this skin.

When you sing that this country was founded on freedom, don't forget the duet of shackles dragging against the ground my entire life.

I've been writing poetry seriously since about 2008, 2009.

There is a solidarity that black people can find in celebrating the athletic success of our own, especially in sports where our existence is sparse.

I want to live in a world where my son will not be presumed guilty the moment he is born, where a toy in his hand isn't mistaken for anything other than a toy.

Abolition seemed a fantasy when Frederick Douglass called for all slaves to be released.

To be an Arsenal fan is to convince yourself that you can no longer support a team that disappoints you, only to be drawn back in by the ever-flickering promise of something better.

If you only hear one side of the story, at some point, you have to question who the writer is.

After high school, I earned a scholarship to play Division I soccer at a small school in North Carolina, but I didn't get much playing time, which forced me to determine who I was beyond the field, something I had previously never had to do.

America's economy cannot be disentangled from the free labor that built it, just as America's culture cannot be unbound from the black artists who cultivated it.

In high school, I made the all-city and all-state soccer teams.