The summer of 2014 was the summer of unrest.
Even those of us who were in the trenches in Ferguson covering the protests, marches and the violence, had no idea that all of the aforementioned would become such a significant part of the public consciousness.
What to do about confrontations between the police and black people has barely steered far from the headlines.
Even presidential candidates have to react to it on the campaign trail.
“The fact is that we have too many instances where we have young black. Here in South Carolina we had Walter Scott in North Charleston. We had a young white teen I believe who was unarmed and killed in police action here in South Carolina.”
“The fact is that we have a criminal justice system that is broken, that there is something very wrong when African Americans here in South Carolina and around the country get nervous about walking down the street or going into their car. That should not be happening here when we have some idea of how to deal with that.”
From the campaign trail to popular culture, the hit ABC television show, “Blackish” took on the subject apologetically last night.
I was lucky and honored to be a part of it.
Lemon: “It appears a decision about the indictment has been made. It’s about to be announced.”
Characters: “What’s an indictment? Oh ok well it seems as if some people that were supposed to protect us didn’t do the right thing. But it doesn’t happen very often. It happens all the time. It doesn’t happen very often. But this time it did, and if it did then they’re going to get in trouble. So the cops are the bad guys? Yes. No. Some of them are. Well it’s a grey area. Charcoal grey. Basically black.”
In the special, extended episode of “Blackish”, the Johnson family is gathered around the television watching the news where an announcement is about to be made regarding an indictment or non indictment a police officer accused of shooting and killing an unarmed black man.
The episode focuses on these very difficult conversations occur in the home of a black family with young people as members.
The family, like most families, is not in agreement on how often and how big of a problem police abuse is among African Americans.
The episode took me back to, not so long ago, when I was out on the streets of Ferguson, getting jostled and tear gassed, along with my CNN colleague Marc Lamont Hill.
Last night on my CNN Show I asked him if he or anyone else could have predicted just how much this subject would take center stage in American politics.
“Conventional wisdom would say no it wouldn’t be. But I thought it would only because I have an abiding faith in the people and I saw this marvelous new militancy strike up on August 9th, 2014. And I saw young people mobilize, and galvanize and organize. And it’s because young people have resisted and we’ve rebelled in Baltimore, in Ferguson and all over the country. That we have a spotlight here, that Black Lives Matter is a chant, a call and a rallying cry for this political election. And I hope it continues.”
Whatever we predicted or didn’t, from the streets to the campaign trail to the sitcom, the subject of black people and police abuse is a subject whose time has come.
And for those of us of a certain age, we know that there is no stopping anything when it’s time has come.