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Powerful Photos Show The Nationwide Response To Michael Brown Won't End Any Time Soon

Tue, 2014-11-25 22:52
On the night after an announcement of a St. Louis County grand jury decision to not indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, protesters around the U.S. continued to assemble and raise their voices as they demanded justice for Brown's death on Tuesday evening.

In New York City, groups swarmed major streets and bridges, including the Lincoln Tunnel, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive, Manhattan Bridge and Brooklyn Bridge. A march paused on Wall Street to observe a moment of silence, then sang "We Shall Overcome." After a crowd refused orders to disperse from Times Square, police moved in and made several arrests, the New York Times reported.

Marches in Washington D.C. prompted warnings of street closures from police and groups of protesters shouted "Shut it down!" in front of government buildings. Videos posted to social media showed what appeared to be an American flag set ablaze. HuffPost's Diane Jeanty saw protesters enter an area Wal-Mart, chanting, "We are better than this."

In Baltimore, protesters blocked streets and staged a "die-in'' by laying down in front of police headquarters. A march resulted in the entrance to a major interstate being shut down, the Baltimore Sun reported.

More than 20 people were arrested during protests in Boston that brought traffic on several roads to a halt, WHDH reported. Meanwhile, a large group of protesters chanted "Black lives matter" outside of a local jail to show support for inmates.

Hundreds of college students voiced their anger over the Ferguson decision in front of the CNN Center in Atlanta, the
Atlanta Journal Constitution reported.

Across the country, a photographer for the Kansas City Star was arrested during demonstrations in Kansas City, the paper reported.

In Minneapolis, a protester was taken to the hospital with minor injuries after a car reportedly plowed through a group of demonstrators, the Star Tribune reported.

Protesters shut down an interstate in Nashville, streets in Denver, two interstates in Atlanta, and took over streets in San Francisco, echoing the anger felt around the country over Brown's killing.

An estimated 130 protests were planned in more than 30 states for Tuesday night, according to an assessment made by CNN.

After a night of violent protests in Ferguson, the protests across the country emphasized how charged Brown's killing has become. In his first interview since he shot Brown on Aug. 9, Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson defended his actions, telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos that there is nothing he would have done differently. But many question Wilson's actions and the grand jury's decision. Earlier on Tuesday, attorneys representing the Michael Brown family condemned how the case was handled by the prosecution and claimed that "a first-year law student would have done a better job."

Here are photos of protests held around the nation on the second night of protests since the grand jury's announcement:



HuffPost's Ryan Reilly, Mariah Stewart, Christine Conetta, Sam Stein, Diane Jeanty, Paige Lavender, Samuel Levine, Ed Mazza, Anna Dickson, and Christy Havranek contributed to this report.

More On Ferguson From HuffPost:
Photographic Evidence Reveals | 'First Year Law Student Could Have Done Better Job' | 61 Arrested | Ferguson Smolders After Night Of Fires | Protest Locations | Americans Deeply Divided | Police Chief: 'Worse Than The Worst Night We Had In August' | What You Can Do | Darren Wilson Interview | Darren Wilson Could Still Face Consequences | Timeline | Students Protest | Photos Of Darren Wilson's Injuries Released | Shooting Witness Admitted Racism In Journal | Peaceful Responses Show The U.S. At Its Best | Reactions To Ferguson Decision | Prosecutor Gives Bizarre Press Conference | Notable Black Figures React | Jury Witness: 'By The Time I Saw His Hands In The Air, He Got Shot' | Thousands Protest Nationwide |

Hundreds Of Chicago Protesters Stage Peaceful Sit-In Outside Rahm Emanuel's Office

Tue, 2014-11-25 22:43
A half-day sit-in ended peacefully in Chicago after as many as 200 protesters packed into City Hall throughout Tuesday and pledged to remain for 28 hours.

Just before 7:30 p.m., however, organizers told The Huffington Post the protesters agreed to leave to avoid arrest. When attendees began filing into the fifth floor outside of Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office Tuesday morning, organizers said they were warned they could face arrest if they remained past closing time at 5 p.m.

Malcolm London, a co-chair of the organizing group, The Black Youth Project 100, said the group had every intention of staying for the full 28 hours, but noted, "We don't want folks who aren't part of our group to get arrested -- we don't want anybody arrested. If we're threatened with arrest, we'll figure it out."


At its peak, more than 200 people gathered for the protest, organizers estimated.

Tuesday's sit-in was the second peaceful protest organized in part by BYP100 and other social justice groups. Following the decision by a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, to not indict police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown, BYP100 and others helped organize a Monday night demonstration outside Chicago Police headquarters. Protesters eventually hit the streets, temporarily blocking part of Lake Shore Drive late Monday.

Organizers said the intended duration of the sit-in was a nod to a statistic from the Malcolm X Grassroots Project, that every 28 hours, a black person in the U.S. is killed by law enforcement.


Students from Village Leadership Academy came to the protest with their teacher on Tuesday afternoon.

Attendance ebbed and flowed throughout the day, but BYP 100 co-chair Malcolm London estimated as many as 200 people packed the fifth floor of City Hall during the most robust hours. Several attendees were high school and college students who, following the Ferguson grand jury's decision, said they felt it was more important to be at the demonstration than in class.

Dayo Harris, a teacher at the social justice-oriented Village Leadership Academy, brought several students in grades 5 to 8 to the protest to supplement their classroom curriculum that includes grassroots movements, police brutality and the relationship between mental illness and incarceration.

"I'm always impressed by how much the students see -- the stories they have," Harris told The Huffington Post. "They have stories from their own communities that they witness of classism, racism, gender inequality."


A protest sign on the floor during a lull in activity Tuesday.

Charlene Carruthers, the national coordinator for BYP100, said police aggression toward young black men is a national issue, but one that's long been percolating in Chicago.

"A lot of people believe calling the police is safe," Carruthers said. "But in the last five years alone, 89 people have been killed by police in Chicago."

Police violence against people of color, the militarization of police forces and racial inequality were subjects of essays, songs, poems and speeches throughout the day.

"We need the police to have accountability beyond themselves," said Ash Frost, 20.

Neither Emanuel nor anyone from his office spoke with the protestors. The mayor spent much of the day on the Northwest Side with President Barack Obama, who was in town for an immigration event. The mayor's office released a statement Tuesday:

"The peaceful demonstrations in Chicago reflect our shared work as a community to build a partnership for peace, and the ongoing efforts between government, police, community leaders, faith leaders, and residents to ensure everyone in every neighborhood in Chicago enjoys the same sense of safety. Until we have achieved that important goal, our work together will not be complete."

More On Ferguson From HuffPost:
Photographic Evidence Reveals | 'First Year Law Student Could Have Done Better Job' | 61 Arrested | Ferguson Smolders After Night Of Fires | Protest Locations | Americans Deeply Divided | Police Chief: 'Worse Than The Worst Night We Had In August' | What You Can Do | Darren Wilson Interview | Darren Wilson Could Still Face Consequences | Timeline | Students Protest | Photos Of Darren Wilson's Injuries Released | Shooting Witness Admitted Racism In Journal | Peaceful Responses Show The U.S. At Its Best | Reactions To Ferguson Decision | Prosecutor Gives Bizarre Press Conference | Notable Black Figures React | Jury Witness: 'By The Time I Saw His Hands In The Air, He Got Shot' | Thousands Protest Nationwide |

More International Students On Campus, Especially In Some States

Tue, 2014-11-25 19:19
This article comes to us courtesy of Stateline, where it was originally published. Stateline is a nonpartisan, nonprofit news service of the Pew Charitable Trusts that provides daily reporting and analysis on trends in state policy.

The number of U.S. college students from overseas has skyrocketed in recent years, with more than 886,000 studying on American campuses this past academic year — an all-time high and more than double the number of foreign students 20 years ago.


At a time when many states have squeezed funding for higher education, international students are highly sought after because they pay higher tuition than U.S. students. In some states, as much as 10 percent of college students come from overseas. But other states have far fewer, leaving schools there at a financial and educational disadvantage in an increasingly global and competitive higher education field.


California, New York, Texas and Massachusetts top the list of states with the most international students. Alaska, Wyoming, Maine and Vermont have the least.


But in terms of percentage of total enrollment, a different picture emerges. Washington, D.C., Massachusetts and New York have the highest shares. But the next four are Delaware, Washington, Rhode Island and Indiana, each with 6 percent or more of their college students from abroad. On the other end, Maine, Mississippi, Alaska and West Virginia have the smallest shares at under 2 percent.



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Amid the uneven growth, state policymakers and school administrators have gotten involved. In some cases, states now oversee international recruitment efforts. Some states are trying to tie state funding to efforts to boost in-state enrollment. In others, officials have questioned whether schools — especially large, public universities — are focusing on international students at the expense of in-state students.


The result of the competing interests and global trend is that higher education in the U.S. is no longer a domestic concern, but one that is playing on an international stage. Few see the trend subsiding soon. Many say colleges and universities will end up better for it.


“Higher education admissions are based on merit, and they’ve always been based on merit. Now the talent pool is just much wider,” said Peggy Blumenthal, senior counselor to the president of the Institute of International Education (IIE), which released a study on global higher education last week. “The fact is that the rest of the class is advantaged by having the smartest kids in the world.”


A Coordinated Effort 

There are many reasons states and universities have sought international students. But one is a simple matter of finances: Unlike in-state students who often pay a partially subsidized lower rate at public schools, or even out-of-state students who often qualify for financial aid, many international students pay the full cost of their education. In some cases, international students pay more than double the cost of instruction.


The difference in payment-per-student has become all the more important as states have cut overall higher education funding in recent years. In response, schools have turned abroad to make up the difference.


“Everybody first and foremost looks to the financial dimension,” said Mike Reilly, executive director of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers. “You see far more institutions getting in the enterprise of actively seeking international students.”


One unexpectedly strong performer in the campaign, experts say, has been Washington state, where higher education spending per student has been cut nearly 28 percent since fiscal year 2008, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP).


The state lacks a globally renowned university like those in, say, California, New York or Massachusetts. But the University of Washington has become a destination, especially for students from Asia. Unlike in other states, Washington’s community colleges also are aggressively playing the international recruiting game, according to Reilly.


The result is that 7 percent of Washington’s overall college population comes from abroad, the fifth-highest share among the states and the District of Columbia.


About 10 percent of the college students in Massachusetts are international students, in large part attracted by world-renowned schools such as Harvard and MIT. But the University of Massachusetts Lowell is another heavy international recruiter. The state has seen its own share of higher education cuts as well: more than 36 percent since fiscal year 2008, according to CBPP.


Since 2011, the number of international undergraduates at the school has grown by 38 percent, while the number of international graduate students has grown 23 percent. Meanwhile, overall enrollment has increased 28 percent.


“Higher education is one of our main industries in our state,” said Kathryn Carter, the school’s vice provost for graduate and international affairs and strategy. “Our domestic students have to go out there and deal with a global population,” she added. “We’re trying to do everything that we can to give them a global experience as soon as possible.”


Making Up for Disadvantages 

Other states, though, don’t have the inherent advantages of Massachusetts, the District, New York or others when it comes to international students. To make up for that, they use a range of strategies to attract interest. Many send representatives to recruiting fairs abroad. Others establish relationships with schools and professors in other countries, offering a way for students elsewhere to be exposed to schools in the U.S. before they ever consider moving here.


Still, whether it’s a matter of economy, geography or institutional variations where schools in certain states are simply more attractive overseas than others, some states haven’t shared in the growth of international students.


West Virginia is one of them. Just 1.7 percent of its higher education students are international. While 14 states saw growth in international students increase by 10 percent or more from the 2012-2013 to 2013-2014 school years, according to IIE, West Virginia’s growth was just 1.9 percent.


About a year ago, West Virginia set out to change that trend. The state is one of the few to coordinate international outreach at the state level, combining efforts of all its public colleges to meet a goal of “internationalizing” its campuses, said Clark Egnor, the state’s Higher Education Policy Commission's director of international programs, an office created last year.


“In a state that’s as homogenous as West Virginia, having international students on a campus is very visible,” said Egnor. “The campuses want that diversity, and they want that international diversity.”


The recruitment effort has filtered into other international outreach campaigns the state has undertaken as well, especially as state officials have taken an interest in growing international enrollment, Egnor said.


The state has a formal relationship with the largest coal-producing province in China, thanks to their shared interest in developing the fossil fuel. Just recently, West Virginia moved to expand that partnership to include educational exchange, something the state hopes will boost enrollment.


“These numbers are important,” he said. Boosting international profile and recruiting overseas is often seen as a way to improve the overall image of a state and its schools. “A lot of the political leaders, they want to look at this stuff,” Egnor said.


Pushback at Home 

But the increase in international students hasn't met with universal acclaim.


The most common worry, education experts say, is that a focus by public colleges on international students will come at the expense of in-state students. That’s especially true when the concern is over the large, public universities that are some of the most attractive abroad, namely research destinations like the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Purdue University, Arizona State University and Michigan State University, all of which are in the top 10 when it comes to the number of international students.


The issue has gotten particular attention in Iowa, where public university regents have pushed a plan to send more state funding to public colleges in the state that host more in-state students. Specifically, the Board of Regents adopted this year a funding plan that tied 60 percent of state funding to resident full-time enrollment. As a guideline, the board said, “the highest (though not necessarily the sole) priority for state appropriations is to fund the education of resident students.”


That move, some have worried, hurts the University of Iowa (where 47 percent of all students were nonresidents last fall), compared to the other two public colleges in the state, Iowa State University and Northern Iowa University, which had 40 percent and 11 percent nonresident students, respectively. The Iowa City Press-Citizen headlined a story on the change, “Game on: Competition for in-state students intensifies.”


The University of Iowa, for its part, has taken it in stride, and the full effect of the change might not be known for years.


“The University of Iowa has always been a global institution,” said Downing A. Thomas, associate provost and dean of international programs. “We actively recruit here in Iowa and in targeted areas around the world, and currently have over 4,000 students from over 100 countries.”



Obama Says He Has No Sympathy For Ferguson Violence

Tue, 2014-11-25 17:47
NEW YORK -- President Barack Obama said Tuesday he had no sympathy for those who engaged in violence during the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, but pledged to work with minority communities to improve underlying tensions with law enforcement.

Obama said the frustration in Ferguson was a manifestation of larger frustrations in minority communities that laws were being unfairly enforced.

"The frustrations that we've seen are not just about a particular incident, they have deep roots in many communities of color," Obama said during an appearance in Chicago, where he was scheduled to speak about immigration.

Obama also said the issues underlying the protests in Ferguson extended beyond the Missouri suburb.

"If any part of the American community doesn't feel welcomed or treated fairly, that's something that puts all of us at risk, and we all have to be concerned about," he said. "The problem is not just a Ferguson problem, it is an American problem.”

Obama said training police properly and having police forces that were representative of the populations they served were things that could make a difference.

"Those who are prepared to work constructively -- your president will work with you," he said.

Obama on Tuesday pledged to work with communities across the country, but strongly condemned violent actions that took place in Ferguson Monday evening.

"Nothing of benefit results from destructive acts," he said. "To those who think that what happened in Ferguson is an excuse for violence, I do not have any sympathy for that."

Obama also called actions like torching buildings and burning cars "criminal acts" and said those who committed them should be prosecuted.

Obama also made brief comments late Monday evening and urged calm after St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced that a grand jury would not bring charges against Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August.

"I join Michael's parents in asking anyone who protests this decision to do so peacefully," Obama said. "Let me repeat Michael's father's words: 'Hurting others or destroying property is not the answer. No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son's death to be in vain.'"

There were demonstrations across the country in solidarity with those in Ferguson on Monday. Obama was briefed on the situation in Ferguson by Attorney General Eric Holder before he left for Chicago on Tuesday.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon (D) also announced on Tuesday that he would deploy an additional 2,200 Missouri National Guard troops to assist the 700 who had initially been put in place on Monday.

More On Ferguson From HuffPost:
Photographic Evidence Reveals | 'First Year Law Student Could Have Done Better Job' | 61 Arrested | Ferguson Smolders After Night Of Fires | Protest Locations | Americans Deeply Divided | Police Chief: 'Worse Than The Worst Night We Had In August' | What You Can Do | Darren Wilson Interview | Darren Wilson Could Still Face Consequences | Timeline | Students Protest | Photos Of Darren Wilson's Injuries Released | Shooting Witness Admitted Racism In Journal | Peaceful Responses Show The U.S. At Its Best | Reactions To Ferguson Decision | Prosecutor Gives Bizarre Press Conference | Notable Black Figures React | Jury Witness: 'By The Time I Saw His Hands In The Air, He Got Shot' | Thousands Protest Nationwide |

Ferguson Grand Jury Evidence Reveals Mistakes, Holes In Investigation

Tue, 2014-11-25 17:09
Soon after Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old, law enforcement’s handling of the case was already being criticized as callous and sloppy. Residents of Ferguson, Missouri, looked on in horror as police officials failed to cover and later to remove Brown’s body from the street for hours.

Now that the grand jury evidence, including forensic records and testimony from Wilson and those investigating the fatal shooting, has been released, it's clear that other mistakes were made in attempting to figure out what happened on that August afternoon. The best physical evidence and testimony might not have been as ironclad in Wilson's favor as prosecutor Robert McCulloch characterized it on Monday night.

From the reams of grand jury testimony and police evidence, here are some key points that, if this case had gone to trial, could have been highlighted by prosecutors (not including the witnesses who appeared to contradict Wilson’s testimony):

1. Wilson washed away blood evidence.

In an interview with police investigators, Wilson admitted that after the shooting he returned to police headquarters and washed blood off his body -- physical evidence that could have helped to prove or disprove a critical piece of Wilson’s testimony regarding his struggle with Brown inside the police car. He told his interrogator that he had blood on both of his hands. “I think it was his blood,” Wilson said referring to Brown. He added that he was not cut anywhere.



A photo of Wilson's injuries taken at the hospital after his altercation with Brown, released by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

2. The first officer to interview Wilson failed to take any notes.

The first supervising officer to the scene, who was also the first person to interview Wilson about the incident, didn’t take any notes about their conversation. In testimony more than a month after the incident, the officer offered his account from memory. He explained that he hadn’t been equipped with a recorder and hadn’t tried to take any written notes due to the chaotic nature of the situation. He also didn’t write up any notes soon after the fact. “I didn’t take notes because at that point in time I had multiple things going through my head besides what Darren was telling me,” the officer stated.

The same officer admitted during his grand jury testimony that Wilson had called him personally after they both had been interviewed by investigators. Wilson then went over his account again with the officer. The officer told the grand jury that there were no discrepancies between Wilson’s first account in person and his second account on the phone. But the call raises questions about whether Wilson may have influenced witness testimony.

3. Investigators failed to measure the likely distance between Brown and Wilson.

An unnamed medical legal examiner who responded to the shooting testified before the grand jury that he or she had not taken any distance measurements at the scene, because they appeared “self-explanatory.”

“Somebody shot somebody. There was no question as to any distances or anything of that nature at the time I was there,” the examiner told the jury.

The examiner also noted that he or she hadn’t been able to take pictures at the scene -- as is standard -- because the camera's batteries were dead. The examiner later testified that he or she accompanied investigators from the St. Louis County Police Department as they photographed Brown’s body.



A photo of the Aug. 9 crime scene in Ferguson, released by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

4. Investigators did not test Wilson’s gun for fingerprints.

Talking with police investigators and before the grand jury, Wilson claimed that Brown had grabbed at Wilson's gun during the initial incident in the police car and that Brown's hand was on the firearm when it misfired at least once. Wilson also told police that he thought Brown would overpower him and shoot him with his own gun. “I was not in control of the gun,” Wilson said. Eventually he regained control of the weapon and fired from within the car.

Investigators could have helped to prove or disprove Wilson’s testimony by testing his service weapon for Brown’s fingerprints. But the gun was not tested for fingerprints. An investigator argued before the grand jury that the decision was made not to test the weapon because Wilson “never lost control of his gun.”

5. Wilson did not immediately turn his weapon over to investigators after killing Brown.

A detective with the St. Louis County Police Department, who conducted the first official interview of Wilson, testified to the grand jury that Wilson had packaged his own service weapon into an evidence envelope following his arrival at the police station in the wake of the shooting. The detective said the practice was not usual for his department, though he was unclear on the protocol of the Ferguson Police Department. He said he didn’t explore that aspect further at the time.

According to the detective’s testimony, standard practice for the St. Louis County Police Department would be for an officer involved in a shooting to keep his or her weapon holstered until it can be turned over to a supervisor and a crime scene unit detective. While that clearly didn’t take place in Wilson’s case, the detective also testified that he believed the firearm was handled in a way that preserved the chain of custody.



A photo of Wilson's service weapon, released by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

6. An initial interview with investigators was delayed while Wilson traveled to the hospital with his superiors.

The same St. Louis County Police Department detective also testified that while he had intended to conduct his initial interview with Wilson at the Ferguson police station, a lieutenant colonel with the Ferguson Police Department decided that Wilson first needed to go to the hospital for medical treatment. The detective said that while it is common practice to defer to any medical decision of this nature, Wilson appeared to be in good health and didn’t have any notable injuries that would have prevented an interview from being conducted at the station. Wilson would also testify that he didn’t believe he needed to go to the hospital.

But that day, Wilson got into a vehicle with the lieutenant colonel and another Ferguson police official and went to the hospital, while the St. Louis County detective traveled in another vehicle.

7. Wilson’s initial interview with the detective conflicts with information given in later testimony.

In his first interview with the detective, just hours after Brown’s death, Wilson didn’t claim to have any knowledge that Brown was suspected of stealing cigarillos from a nearby convenience store. The only mention of cigarillos he made to the detective was a recollection of the call about the theft that had come across his radio and that provided a description of the suspect.

Wilson also told the detective that Brown had passed something off to his friend before punching Wilson in the face. At the time, the detective said, Wilson didn’t know what the item was, referring to it only as “something.” In subsequent interviews and testimony, however, Wilson claimed that he knew Brown’s hands were full of cigarillos and that fact eventually led him to believe Brown may have been a suspect in the theft.

More On Ferguson From HuffPost:
Photographic Evidence Reveals | 'First Year Law Student Could Have Done Better Job' | 61 Arrested | Ferguson Smolders After Night Of Fires | Protest Locations | Americans Deeply Divided | Police Chief: 'Worse Than The Worst Night We Had In August' | What You Can Do | Darren Wilson Interview | Darren Wilson Could Still Face Consequences | Timeline | Students Protest | Photos Of Darren Wilson's Injuries Released | Shooting Witness Admitted Racism In Journal | Peaceful Responses Show The U.S. At Its Best | Reactions To Ferguson Decision | Prosecutor Gives Bizarre Press Conference | Notable Black Figures React | Jury Witness: 'By The Time I Saw His Hands In The Air, He Got Shot' | Thousands Protest Nationwide |

The '367 Dogs' Were Rescued From A Massive Fighting Ring. They Are Loving Their Freedom.

Tue, 2014-11-25 16:48
They're called the 367 dogs, because that's how many of them were taken in on August 23, 2013 -- the first day of what would turn out to be the country's second largest multi-state dog fighting bust.

Then that number grew. By a lot.

"As the investigation progressed -- more arrests, more information gathered from the suspects in questioning -- more dogs were rescued. There were also a good number of puppies born once the dogs were in our care," the Humane Society's Stephanie Twining told The Huffington Post.

The final tally, according to Twining: 486 rescued dogs pulled from locations across Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas.

Fourteen suspects were arrested. Donnie Anderson, the so-called "godfather" of the bunch -- prosecutors say he electrocuted or hanged dogs who lost fights -- pleaded guilty in July, and was sentenced to eight years in federal prison earlier this month.

And as Anderson serves his time in jail, his victims are finally able to thrive.

Some of the 367 dogs are now family pets. Some are in training to be therapy dogs. Some are still waiting for that special someone to treat them kindly for the rest of their lives. And even those who can't be adopted have been given a special opportunity to blossom.

It's not just the dogs whose lives are getting better, either. It's that way for the people who love them, too.

"These dogs have changed us all in some way, I'd like to think for the better," said Rose Tremblay, who keeps a Facebook page where members of the "367 rescue family" share their photos and updates and keep tabs on the dogs who haven't yet been adopted.

"They have made us stronger, and they have solidified the fight we have inside to never let what they've gone through or who they have since become to be forgotten," Tremblay added. "We celebrate the survivors, remember the victims and honor their bravery and resilience every day. We owe them that much, they've proven it over and over."

Dozens of the dogs' families and caretakers talked to HuffPost about how they came to be part of the 367 family, and what their lives are like now. Each one told a story of love, resilience and well-earned freedom:








Keep up with these doggies -- as well as the others who are up for adoption -- on the 367 rescue family Facebook page.

And get in touch at arin.greenwood@huffingtonpost.com if you have an animal story to share!

REVOLT TV To Air Eye-Opening Special 'Chicago Love'

Tue, 2014-11-25 16:46
"REVOLT TV will air an emotionally gripping 90-minute special film Chicago Love on November 26, 2014. Created by Sean "Diddy" Combs and produced by REVOLT CEO Keith Clinkscales and head of news Rahman Dukes, the documentary, filmed over four months, separates the fact from the fiction and explores the many causes behind the city of Chicago's challenges. On the heels of recent protests and violence in the Midwest, more specifically Ferguson and the grand jury decision, this heart-felt documentary aims to answer the question on many minds: what is happening in Chicago?

University Of Chicago Says Racially Motivated Facebook Threat Was A Hoax

Tue, 2014-11-25 16:45
As the University of Chicago reels from a controversy over racist Halloween costumes and cultural sensitivity on campus, new information has come to light, further complicating an already tense relationship between students and the administration.

On Monday, the university said that a supposed Facebook hacking incident related to the controversy was actually a hoax. "The owner of the Facebook account claimed responsibility for the posting," read a statement published Monday on the school's official website.

The university had partnered with federal authorities to investigate a threatening Facebook post, which appeared last week on a student's account and was initially thought to be the work of a hacker. The posting appeared to threaten Vincente Perez -- a student activist instrumental in bringing recent attention to what some call the school's "culture of intolerance" -- and included explicit language and references to rape. "I am personally targeted for fighting for racial justice on campus," Perez wrote on Twitter of the threatening Facebook post soon after it appeared.

Debunking the would-be hacking incident, the university wrote the following on its website: "There are still many facts to be learned. But it became clear that nobody broke into the Facebook account in question, and that in fact the posting was not the anonymous threat against a student that it first appeared to be."

Even before the hoax was exposed, students were skeptical that activists and the administration could successfully tackle the broader campus issues of race and culture. That skepticism remains.

Alex, a third-year film major at the university who did not wish to be identified by her full name, said she believes the Facebook incident hurt the credibility of recent protests held on campus in response to the controversy. But she is hopeful the school will take action, given the many students and alumni of color who have come forward to share experiences of racial intolerance at the school.

“It’s important to listen to marginalized people and at least hear their concerns,” Alex told The Huffington Post. “The university should still be held accountable for all the micro- and macro-aggressions that have transpired on this campus.”

Other students took to social media to express similar thoughts.

Again, we CANNOT view @UChicago students’ experiences of racism/hostility through the lens of an isolated incident. #liabilityofthemind

— Nissa Wan Ying (@HappyNiss) November 25, 2014


Though this doesn't negate the validity of the 100s of #liabilityofthemind anecdotes & reflections from past and current #UChicago students

— Emma GZ R (@EmmaGZRoberts) November 25, 2014


Perez, who helped kick off the campuswide debate about tolerance after he confronted a student wearing a racially insensitive Halloween costume and went on to lobby the administration over concerns about on-campus sensitivity, addressed the Facebook hoax in a Monday status update. "Someone felt they had to show something extreme to get people to care," he wrote. "Think about that. This is not a justification. But think about what the weight of apathy can force people to do."

Earlier this month, the efforts of Perez and other student activists led to the creation of a Change.org petition calling for increased cultural diversity and sensitivity on campus. The petition, followed by the Facebook incident, inspired a number of protests, which drew support from both student and faculty groups.

"While some may be inclined to perceive this most recent event as an isolated incident, this is instead the latest iteration of a historical trend of antagonism, symptomatic of a broader culture of intolerance," the Organization of Black Students at the University of Chicago wrote in a Facebook update on Nov. 20, apparently referring to the Facebook incident. "Thus, we find it imperative that the entire campus community gather against these polarizing threats to our safety and unity."

That same day, the university acknowledged the Facebook incident was “part of a larger pattern” the school needed to address.

Many students were not impressed by the school’s delayed response to students’ concerns, given that several other racial incidents have also taken place on the campus in recent years.

“It shouldn’t be the case where we have to talk about these cases of extreme racism and bigotry … for the university to step up,” fourth-year student Jaime Sanchez, who created the Change.org petition, told HuffPost.

Neither Perez nor the university responded to requests for further comment.

These Peaceful Responses To The Ferguson Decision Show The U.S. At Its Best

Tue, 2014-11-25 15:56
In the hours following the announcement of the grand jury’s decision on Monday night to not indict Darren Wilson, the Ferguson cop who shot and killed unarmed black teen Michael Brown, news outlets focused on the destruction and looting overtaking the Missouri town.

But while "Ferguson on Fire" and "Jury Fury" dominated headlines, reactions to the decision were hardly all violence and chaos.

Across the country, activists took to heart the urgings of President Obama and Brown’s grieving parents to react to the decision with calm.

"I join Michael's parents in asking anyone who protests this decision to do so peacefully," Obama said on Monday. "Let me repeat Michael's father's words: 'Hurting others or destroying property is not the answer. No matter what the grand jury decides, I do not want my son's death to be in vain.'"

Thousands of supporters paid heed and partook in peaceful protests, marches, prayers and moments of silence as a call for justice for the slain 18-year-old.

Protesters Join Hands at the White House


About 100 protesters mobilized at the White House on Monday evening to join hands and sing, "We Shall Overcome." Smaller groups also chanted, "The people, united, will never be divided!" and stood in silence for four-and-a-half minutes, paying heed to Michael Brown’s parents’ request.

"On CNN and all the other networks, they're gonna show people burning things or flipping over a car," Jevon Myles, a 27-year-old computer programmer, told Bloomberg. "But they're gonna cover that before they cover anything like this. Peaceful."

Supporters Urge Action on Supreme Court Steps

The growing group marched through the streets of Washington, D.C., snaking through Union Station, the Capitol and finally up the steps of the Supreme Court.

"Obama says, 'I support Trayvon Martin's parents, I support Michael Brown's parents,'" one speaker announced into a microphone, according to Bloomberg. "He should support us. He sent us a cease and desist. He should say, 'This is wrong!'"

Ohio University Turns to Prayer and a Sit-In

Something you won't see on mainstream media. #Ferguson prayer vigil at Ohio State. #FergusonDecision pic.twitter.com/PFd3ZPSVmp

— Scott McClellan (@bamasevere) November 25, 2014


About 100 Ohio University students gathered to react to Monday's decision with a vigil, praying for the town's safety and security, the Columbus Dispatch reported. Other students met at their student center to express their opposition to the outcome, staying after hours, exercising their right to protest.

Bostonians Corral for Justice


About 75 to 100 people gathered in Boston on Monday night to march from City Hall to the State House, chanting "Justice for Mike Brown." The group dispersed at around 1 a.m., according to CBS.

Protesters "Die-In" for Police Accountability

#FergusonDecision protestors die-in underway at DC city hall on Pennsylvania Ave., demand more police accountability. pic.twitter.com/7Iz0LS0ZgE

— Aaron C. Davis (@byaaroncdavis) November 25, 2014


"Die-ins" were held throughout D.C., representing the death of Mike Brown, NBC4 reported. Various groups participated in the peaceful protest, demanding justice and police accountability. One group took the symbolic protest a step further.

"We did the 'die-in' for four and a half minutes to represent the four and a half hours they let Michael Brown lay in the street dead, unattended," protest organizer Angie Brilliance, who planned a die-in in front of the Metro Police headquarters told NBC4.

Duke University Students Rally Together


Students at Duke University partook in a prayer circle on Monday night and then proceeded to march across campus, according to the Duke Chronicle.

"It was really a spirit of the moment," Ciera Echols, a senior who organized the event, told the paper. "People say you can’t make a difference marching, but just coming together expressing ourselves -- it was just really beautiful to see everyone come out tonight."

Portlanders Send Message of Hope, Healing

Portland protest peaceful after Ferguson grand jury announcement http://t.co/uw7ANdXHW2 #pdx pic.twitter.com/Sjn2IrUCCp

— PDX News Now (@pdxnewsnow) November 25, 2014


Community leaders helped organize a calm protest in downtown Portland, Oregon, at the Justice Center on Monday night, where supporters chanted "No Justice, No Peace," according to KATU.

"The situation in Ferguson did not occur in a vacuum," Mayor Charlie Hales said in a statement. "All of our community is hurting today. And, together, all of our community must begin healing. We, as a society, have a lot of work to do addressing the systemic inequities history has left us."


Thousands of New Yorkers Take to Streets

More than 1,000 protesters marched from Union Square to upper Manhattan holding signs that read "Black lives matter" and "Jail killer cops" and chanted, "No justice, no peace."

Other groups walked across the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge, which connects Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx, and eventually crossed back into Harlem early Tuesday, according to NBC New York.


Virginia Commonwealth University Students Sing, Chant and March

It is eerily quiet down here. @CBS6 #RVA #MichaelBrown #MomentOfSilence pic.twitter.com/Pb6pNduoNc

— Melissa J. Hipolit (@MelissaCBS6) November 25, 2014


Students at Virginia Commonwealth University chanted and marched through the heart of Richmond on Broad Street after the grand jury handed down its decision on Monday evening, according to CBS 6. After holding a moment of silence for the teen, the students sang "Amazing Grace."

Floridians Call For Peace

Peaceful protest today in St. Petersburg Florida, over the Fergusons police officer non indictment charges. #Wtsp pic.twitter.com/Ffsd8sCSqM

— MarcusGraysonWTSP (@10NewsMarcus) November 25, 2014


In St. Petersburg, protesters including a number of families, walked around in a circle shouting slogans such as "No justice. No peace," the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Rep. Darryl Rouson summed up the mood by telling the news outlet:

"I think people have the right to protest. There's a lot of disappointment and frustration across the country and they are just expressing frustration and disappointment. There are appropriate ways to do it and I'm glad that the community is not seething."

Volunteers Help Restore a Sense of Security
Amid the unrest, the people of Ferguson came together to help their fellow townspeople in this time of need.

Hundreds of citizens, from college students to local nuns, joined the effort to repair their town, proving that through all the chaos, they can still maintain their sense of community.

Cleaning up on South Florissant #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/Pp9DfYUr9r

— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) November 25, 2014


Just met @bellecamino . She & her kids decided to come out help clean up the streets along Grand. @ksdknews pic.twitter.com/mDr34fpFR1

— Grant Bissell (@gbissellKSDK) November 25, 2014


The morning after. People rebuilding. #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/z7PRlGH8Mb

— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) November 25, 2014



Online Donations Support Ferguson Library

WE ARE OPEN! Teachers and volunteers are here 9am-3pm to help kids who can't go to school today. Library open 9-4, presuming it stays safe.

— Ferguson Library (@fergusonlibrary) November 25, 2014


With local schools canceled following the grand jury decision, the Ferguson Public Library stayed open and provided lunch for students. The Internet responded by sending the library a "staggering" amount in donations, Talking Points Memo reported. As early as Tuesday afternoon, the library said about 1,200 people had send donations through PayPal.

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Students Across The Nation Protest Ferguson Non-Indictment

Tue, 2014-11-25 14:47
College students staged demonstrations across the nation Tuesday after a grand jury decided not to indict the Ferguson, Missouri police officer who shot Michael Brown, an unarmed teenager.

At schools like New York University, the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University and the University of California, Berkeley, students joined ongoing city protests.

Students began their own protests at other campuses. Eastern Michigan University students had a march across campus. University of Missouri students marched to Columbia City Hall.

At Ohio University, students have occupied Baker University Center. The University of Maryland protested police militarization on their own campus.

See how students across the nation are reacting to the grand jury decision:

St. Louis University

Rhetoric: protestors at SLU design a demonstration for the campus security web-cams. #Ferguson http://t.co/q0vrVBDNrF pic.twitter.com/jTw6L3Ufn3

— 99% Inaudible (@99inaudible) November 25, 2014


#SLU #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/gMBHffWtIa

— AProblemLikeMaria (@mbednar1) November 25, 2014



Ohio University

That's all this is really about. #BlackLivesMatter #OccupyBaker

A photo posted by Niara (@niaraelise) on Nov 11, 2014 at 7:03am PST




Students sit down on 4th floor of Baker Center in protest of the decision not to indict the officer who shot Mike Brown. #Ferguson #OccupyBaker

A photo posted by Jaelynn Grisso (@jaelynnalexis) on Nov 11, 2014 at 9:21pm PST





Howard University

We see you DC. We see you Howard. #FergusionDecision #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/0VfVPHPGvs

— Urban Cusp Magazine (@UrbanCusp) November 25, 2014



University of Oklahoma

Tonight @OUBSA1968 held a moment of silence in honor of Micheal Brown & #Ferguson. Photos here http://t.co/tirQGtfTzc pic.twitter.com/oEcrO7zvVB

— OU Daily (@OUDaily) November 25, 2014



University of Maryland

Live from #OccupyStamp as the crowd screams: "Hands up don't shoot!" https://t.co/rQBer2uUbj

— SBS News (@UMD_SBS) November 25, 2014


#OccupyStamp proud terp pic.twitter.com/o2SFwiXH6C

— Fasika Delessa (@_fasikaaa) November 25, 2014



Boston College

BC students protesting tonight's grand jury decision not to indict Ferguson officer Darren Wilson.

A video posted by The Heights (@bcheights) on Nov 11, 2014 at 9:20pm PST





University of Pennsylvania

Members of the @Penn show solidarity with red paint #Slapintheface for #Ferguson. March planned from Du Bois at 2 pic.twitter.com/9jYL3f0zgZ

— Amanda Suarez (@AmandaMSuarez) November 25, 2014



Morehouse College

Prayer for Mike Brown and the ferguson case in front of King Chapel at Morehouse College pic.twitter.com/ul8uJqxogU

— TIM RICE (@lowkeytim) November 25, 2014



University of North Carolina

UNC students join in the Pit for a peaceful protest, & a moment of silence as they lie on the ground #Ferguson #wral pic.twitter.com/BFLlX9nKgV

— Kristin Ruffin (@kleighru) November 25, 2014



Clemson University

Today I marched on the campus of Clemson University to protest the death of #MikeBrown, the #Ferguson verdict, and #silence.

A photo posted by Tamika Smith (@taemiya_) on Nov 11, 2014 at 10:35am PST




Columbia University

Rally on the sundial in response to the #Ferguson grand jury decision pic.twitter.com/iFVdYX1IkR

— Bwog (@bwog) November 25, 2014



Virginia Commonwealth University

Meanwhile, @VCU students participate in peaceful #Ferguson protest http://t.co/kadYgZs7NG via @MelissaCBS6 pic.twitter.com/fDXvZMjUBk

— CBS 6 WTVR Richmond (@CBS6) November 25, 2014



Seattle Central College

Soggy anti-police brutality rally happening in front of Seattle Central College pic.twitter.com/VS2bQhMICf

— Bryan Cohen (@bchasesc) October 23, 2014


#Ferguson protesters from Westlake Park just joined the group from Seattle Central College #liveonkomo at 11 pic.twitter.com/iIxnUrY7Aj

— Joel Moreno (@JoelMorenoKOMO) November 25, 2014


Eastern Michigan University

Students chant “hands up, don't shoot,” during a peaceful protest of the Ferguson verdict on EMU's campus tonight. pic.twitter.com/SYyLNhjOL2

— The Eastern Echo (@TheEasternEcho) November 25, 2014


North Carolina A&T University

#AggiesDoCare #peacefulprotest @CNN @WXII @WFMY @myfox8 pic.twitter.com/mHJIPupj7M

— The Aggie Press (@TheAggiePress) November 25, 2014



Princeton University

After protesting through campus, hundreds of students are now outside 1879 arch pic.twitter.com/qXJbOigq1V

— Daily Princetonian (@princetonian) November 25, 2014


University of California-Santa Cruz

About 50 walk down Chestnut chanting against police brutality #Ferguson #santacruz pic.twitter.com/HucoRzDek1

— City on a Hill Press (@cityonahill) November 25, 2014



Hofstra University

Peaceful protest at Hofstra university #Fergsuon "from ferguson to NYC" pic.twitter.com/ujCj7ODlWF

— Maggie Stamets (@maggiesmusingz) November 25, 2014



Morgan State University

Morgan students have blocked all traffic at Morgan State Protesting Ferguson #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/3VnjxdRUBl

— Curt Anderson (@CurtAnderson43) November 25, 2014



University of Missouri

@MU4MikeBrown protestors in front of Columbia city hall #missourianMM pic.twitter.com/8tc3xzDLTr

— Luria Freeman (@JournoTigre26) November 25, 2014


University of Maryland-Baltimore County

A video posted by ☀️ (@a.lissi.a) on Nov 11, 2014 at 8:16am PST




University of South Carolina

"I will demonstrate a concern for others, their feelings, their needs and conditions" #UofSC #BlackOut pic.twitter.com/K55mk6i6b7

— Lindsay Richardson (@lindsay_rich) November 25, 2014

Illinois must use the lessons of Ferguson to build a better state

Tue, 2014-11-25 14:28
Back in September, Peter Creticos of the Institute for Work and the Economy wrote a thoughtful and provocative piece in the aftermath of the first spate of rioting in Ferguson, Mo. It's even more relevant today: "Ferguson is a not just about a white police officer and a young African American man. It is also about a greater fear that grips us over what the future holds for all Americans."

Creticos writes:

In the meantime, we need to support the growth of jobs that pay living wages and that act as transitions to higher-skilled, middle-wage paying permanent jobs as they emerge and grow. Our immediate economic development strategies should be guided by strong moral and wealth creation principles and not simply by quick wins. Entry-level jobs need to truly be transitional opportunities and not dead-ends as many are now discovering.

See more of Creticos' thoughts on race and the economy at Reboot Illinois.

The perils of inequality that plague Illinois are not only racially distinct. There also remains a divide among school children in Illinois' wealthier communities and its poorer school districts. With Senate Bill 16, some lawmakers want to attempt to rectify that, but not all of them think SB16's proposals of redistributing money is a good idea. Reboot Illinois' Madeleine Doubek recalls similar conversations and stereotyping happening around school funding reform conversations in the 1990s.

But it's time to end the class warfare. It's time to set aside the old regional differences and stereotypes. Providing a fair, base level of funding for all public school children is what we decided was best generations ago. It's one of government's most critical missions. And it's a smart investment.

Read more about her thoughts on education funding reform at Reboot Illinois.

Here's How To Find A Ferguson Protest In Your Area

Tue, 2014-11-25 12:51
After it was announced Monday night that a grand jury had declined to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on any charges for the killing of unarmed black teen Michael Brown, protests erupted around the country.

Brown's family has called for peaceful protests, though anger over the news that there would be no charges for Wilson has sparked destructive demonstrations.

Over the next few days, a number of other protests, memorials and vigils have been planned in cities across the country. Check below to see if there's an event near you. This map will be updated as protests continue.




Source: Ferguson National Response Network
Note: All times are local.

Good for Business, Great for Families: Let's Finish What the President Started

Tue, 2014-11-25 11:42
On Thursday night, President Obama took an action that is long overdue on the issue of immigration reform. What this action does is important for our county because it clearly recasts our priorities for enforcing immigration laws by deploying our limited enforcement resources on deporting felons rather than families. It also addresses the adequacy of immigration courts and revamps high-skilled visa programs, which American business desperately needs. I am glad he has chosen to bring humanity and common sense to our country's broken immigration system when so many in Washington have needlessly delayed. This is not a permanent fix nor is it the complete and reliable fix we need, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. Comprehensive Immigration Reform is crucial to our long-term economic security, and we cannot afford to sit idle any longer.

Over the last couple of decades, I have been part of building successful business enterprises and advised other businesses on how to grow, create jobs, and prosper. I care deeply about Comprehensive Immigration Reform because it is morally and ethically right for the families of Illinois while at the same time economically vital to Illinois, the Midwest and our Nation. Imagine the economic benefits of bringing 4.1 million people out of the shadows and allowing them to fully and transparently engage in the American economy, no longer subjected to a life in the shadows and only underground commerce. These folks will take the risks most of us enjoy when it comes to owning a home, purchasing an automobile or starting a business without fear of limited access to capital.

According to a recent report by the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP) after surveying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees: 59% have obtained new jobs, 49% have opened their first bank account, 33% have opened their first credit card and 45% have increased job earnings. This only translates to a much larger tax base and a boost to our economy.

Another aspect of the president's plan is to make it easier and faster for immigrants with specialized skills or university degrees to stay longer in the U.S. and contribute to our economy. Last year, immigrant entrepreneurs started 28% of all new businesses despite representing just 13% of the U.S. population. According to the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition, at least 36 of the 223 active startups spun off from Illinois universities since 2010 were founded or co-founded by an immigrant. I want the next startup-turned-Fortune 500 company to grow jobs right here in Illinois, not in another country because of outdated immigration laws.

We need to be a nation that not only welcomes but keeps the most talented, determined and hard working people, that gives people a way to prosper, succeed through hard work and treats businesses fairly and allows American companies to field a diverse array of talent that no other country can match.

The president's plan steers us in the right direction, but it is up to Congress to permanently fix our broken immigration system. Let's put pressure on the people who are supposed to represent our best interests. Comprehensive Immigration Reform will broaden the tax base, grow our economy and keep families united. It's the smart thing to do. It's the humane thing to do.

In business, excuses are not tolerated; we only accept solutions. The president did what he needed to do. Now it's up to us and our representatives in Congress to finish the job.

The Groundbreaking Study Proving Dogs Can Help Us to Be More Fully Human

Tue, 2014-11-25 11:25
Imagine being a teenager with no sense of direction, belonging, or purpose. Raised by criminals, in and out of jail, involved in gangs, mixed up in drugs, with felony charges looming over your head, and no bright "future" to speak of.

This was Ernesto Gonzales' life just a short time ago, before he was introduced to K9 Connection, a non-profit that pairs at-risk teens with shelter dogs needing training to increase their chances of adoption.

While teaching his partner dog basic obedience, the dog opened Ernesto's heart and mind to feelings of empathy, patience, pride, responsibility, and loving affection he had not experienced in his childhood or adolescence.

With approximately 1.2 million dogs euthanized in shelters annually, and thousands of young offenders serving time in juvenile correctional facilities, a proactive approach that nurtures the positive, underdeveloped capacities in challenged teens -- while giving shelter dogs a second chance -- offers one innovative solution to two seemingly insurmountable challenges.



We have read many stories about the amazing healing powers that companion animals provide. The effects are often dramatic in the most vulnerable populations.

For the past 10 years, teens from less-than-optimal circumstances have had the opportunity to overcome the effects of their past, their limitations, and their fears, by training homeless shelter dogs at K9 Connection in Santa Monica, California.

Founded by Katherine Beattie and Pat Sinclair, K9 Connection provides a safe haven for teens and shelter dogs to get a new lease on life.



Through their interaction with the animals, the teens gain life-changing experiences such as learning accountability, positive reinforcement over abuse, patience, social skills, goal setting, and -- perhaps most importantly -- empathy; while the dogs receive obedience training that increases their chances of adoption.

To date, K9 Connection has mentored over 620 at-risk teens, and has helped to place over 420 shelter dogs at risk of euthanasia in loving, permanent homes.

What is also remarkable about K9 Connection is its long-term commitment to its participants. After the program's completion, the graduates are supported by K9 staff and volunteers in fulfilling their dreams and goals. Some of the graduates go on to become peer leaders and assist new students entering the program.



The amazing effects on the teens have been evident to many who have come into contact with the program: supporters, participants, families, volunteers, staff, etc. I have personally attended many of the graduations, and there is not a dry eye in the house. Now a breakthrough study in the field of Human Animal Interaction (HAI) has demonstrated these effects.

Researcher and clinical psychologist Jessica Thomas teamed up with K9 Connection to study the ways these intervention methods can improve the lives of at-risk youth.

The study took place over one year (during the 2012-2013 school year) with all consenting youth at K9 Connection. The teens were observed before they began the program and again three weeks after completion.

This study focused on the human-animal interaction and its outcome on the participant's social, emotional, and empathic capacities.

Juvenile offenders often lack the emotional tools necessary for healthy social functioning. Typically learned through healthy attachments in childhood, these skills can influence how children view themselves, perceive the world and relate to others.



The study demonstrated that youth involved in the K9 Connection showed significantly more developed social and emotional abilities after completing the program, including:
  • Increased emotional intelligence -- the ability to recognize and express emotions, understand and relate to others, and better cope with stress.

  • Decreased self-serving/anti-social behavior -- such as blaming others, denying or minimizing one's own responsibility in a situation, and always assuming the worst. For at-risk youth, these behaviors may have developed from poor attachment models (such as parents or caregivers).

  • Increased empathy -- awareness, understanding, and an appreciation for the feelings of other.


To understand more about the vast implications of this exciting new study, I turned to the researcher Jessica Thomas, for an interview.

PF: Why do you think Human Animal Interaction has such a great impact on challenged teens?

JT: We can't know for sure, but I really think what we are seeing in action is John Bowlby's attachment theory and an opportunity for these kids to develop a relationship with the dog in a way that is free from judgment, free from fear, it's free from coercion--and to create what in the clinical field and counseling we are always trying to strive for, [ is ] a corrective emotional experience. So I think, in essence, these dogs became counselors. It provided these kids opportunities to practice these skills that really make us very human and then essentially apply these skills to their human relationships.

PF: In addition to the research and the formalized outcomes, did you have anything that surprised or touched you in your interactions?

JT: One of the things that really stood out for me when I was collecting the research was what I saw when I would go and do the classes.

As a therapist, I work with at-risk youth all the time, and the things these kids would say in the group setting after just days or a week would demonstrate such amazing insight and such reflective capacity, that -- if in a regular therapeutic setting -- would take months and months and months to achieve.

They would say things like, "Oh, Fido has a hard time paying attention - kind of like me in class." And that is huge, for a child to be able look at an animal and see pieces of themselves within that animal. That's empathy. That is huge because empathy is what makes us human.

So in essence what we are talking about is the possibility is that dogs and the relationship within the Human Animal Interaction is that dogs are teaching us to be human.

In closing her dissertation, Jessica shares her hope for the future of HAI:
"It is the hope of this researcher that just as the youth were able to develop a more compassionate understanding of themselves in the social world, the current findings might promote a more empirical view of HAI within the field."

Such is the case with the young man introduced in the beginning of this article, Ernesto Gonzales.

Watch him share thoughts on his life transformation -- from juvenile detention center to peer leader and aspiring vet tech:



Ernesto is just one extraordinary example of how programs like K9 Connection can intercept and change the direction of an at-risk teen's life forever.

Below are a few more testimonies from K9 graduates, who represent the heart and soul of HAI research:

Roman (with Fred):

I've learned a lot of different things from being in K9. We worked on life and social skills, and how to be a team member and work together. I've learned a lot about dogs too; like if you give time for them, they will really respond to you and give back even more. The more care you put into a dog, the more it will open up.

Tony (with Amadeus)

K9 taught me patience and how to communicate with each other no matter how frustrating things get.

Andrew (with Bongo):

K9 Connection helped me to overcome obstacles...This program helped me grow mentally and physically to see how dogs react in different environments. The people and dogs I've met have taught me more in two weeks than I've known my entire life.

Melanie (with Bailey):

Throughout the last three weeks, we've not only worked with these four-legged love bugs, but also tried to define what our personal goals and feelings mean and how we can use and understand them.

Luis (with Chula):

I learned at K9 that I see dogs more as family, not just as something walking down the street. I notice and have seen that some people don't see that dogs have feelings. It disturbs me when I think about it... Thank you for helping me see more into the hearts of dogs.

Memo (with Angus):

Being in K9 has taught me patience, to be calm and that things take time in order to succeed.

It's cool you learn dog training, but you also learn how to be sensible. Like you become more conscious of other beings. You feel a sense that any animal is special, like we as human beings are special...each in their own story and their own way of life. What I have felt while being a part of this program is a more profound sense of humanity. Like how k9 does its best to save these poor shelter dogs. Seeing this makes me want to become a better person in humanity.

Maya (with Rex):

Rex has taught me patience, perseverance, but most importantly, a new experience of happiness.

Charlie (with Kincaid):

The thing that I most treasure is that Kincaid and I made a bond...that he and I have lots of things in common. I feel that his feelings are almost like mine. The best thing that I like about K9 is that they help me to express my feelings and for letting me talk more.

Destiny (with Aggie):

When I first saw Aggie, I was the peace and sunshine in her eyes. When I'm around her, anything that's wrong with my life goes away.

******

Hopefully someday it will be the norm, rather than the novelty, that a canine companion is present in therapeutic settings.

I'd like to share a profound quote that Jessica referenced during our interview together:

"The staff that includes a canine therapist has at least one colleague who is without vanity and ambition, who has no "pet" theories, who is utterly unconcerned with role or status, who is free of intellectual pretensions, who does not fear emotion, and who does not feel that he is being underpaid. In truth, and inspiration and a model for us all."
-Jan Loney, Ph.D.

Although K9 Connection is based in Santa Monica, California, its founders offer complimentary mentoring to other organizations wanting to start similar programs. To learn more about K9 Connection, or to donate, visit the website.

Want To Lose Weight? Stop Counting Calories

Tue, 2014-11-25 10:51
On its face, it all seems so easy: Calories are calories, no matter the food. And if you want to lose weight, all you have to do is simply "spend" more calories than you consume, either by exercising more or eating less.

But anyone who has ever attempted to lose weight this way knows that it's not easy at all. And long-term weight management seems downright impossible for most, given the dismal number of those who do manage to keep the pounds off over the years.

The problem, says cardiovascular research scientist James DiNicolantonio of St. Luke's Hospital, is the idea of calories themselves as a weight loss tool.

"Every country around the world is having a problem with obesity, and so far nothing has worked," said DiNicolantonio. "But it's important to note that we're not dying of obesity, we're dying of chronic metabolic disease."

Things like heart disease, diabetes and stroke contribute to about 800,00 annual deaths in the U.S. alone -- and now researchers are hoping to isolate foods that are metabolically disruptive, rather than high in calories, in the hope of lowering the rates of such illnesses.

In a study review published in the journal Public Health Nutrition, DiNicolantonio argues that thinking about the human body as a balance sheet of calories -- keeping a ledger of calories in and calories out -- ignores the very real and negative metabolic effects that certain ingredients, like simple carbohydrates (pastas and white bread, for example) and added sugars, have on the body.

In the review, DiNicolantonio argues that rapidly absorbable carbohydrates -- things like sugar, high-fructose corn syrup, potatoes, white rice, cereal and anything made with white flour -- result in weight gain because they spike blood sugar, which causes insulin levels to rise. This leads to a sudden drop in blood sugar, prompting the person to crave still more carbohydrates. He calls this a "reinforcing loop for overconsumption" that, in the long term, could disable leptin (the hormone that makes us feel full), resulting in even more overeating.

This pathway has been investigated and described in previous studies by scientists like University of California, San Francisco sugar researcher Dr. Robert Lustig, who described sugar as a "poison," and Dr. Peter Havel of University of California, Davis, who is investigating the link between fructose and metabolic syndrome.

"Just as we wouldn't blame a child for growing taller if they're going through puberty -- because their hormones are causing that to happen -- hormones also can cause fat storage, and they can promote hunger," DiNicolantonio explained in a phone interview with The Huffington Post.

"Once you know the biochemistry, you realize that it's not your fault, and it's not about willpower. These foods have altered your biochemistry to make you literally feel starved."

Focusing on calories can also create a bias against many healthful foods, particularly high-fat foods. Dietary fat is more caloric than carbohydrates or protein, so low-calorie foods are often low in fat. This leads people to replace healthy fatty foods like nuts with lower-calorie foods like low-fat baked potato chips that aren't as nutritious or filling.

Moreover, accurately estimating calorie intake and expenditure is extremely difficult, even for the most well-informed and dedicated person with the latest gadgets.

More crucially, our bodies will simply not be fooled. If you exercise more, your body responds by prompting you to eat more food. If you eat less, your body will respond by holding back energy that you might otherwise use. And unless you like going to bed hungry, something -- either exercise or eating less -- is going to give. DiNicolantonio described this as the biological coupling of calorie intake and calorie expenditure, and researchers theorize that it may be one reason why people struggle to maintain weight loss over the long term.

DiNicolantonio doesn't endorse any particular diet, but the message from the review was straight-forward: If you want to lose weight, "don't focus on calories," advised DiNicolantonio. "A higher-fat, higher calorie food is generally going to promote more satiety, and you're going to eat less of it."

Earlier this year in an unrelated but influential study, Tulane University nutrition professor Lydia Bazzano conducted a year-long randomized controlled trial of two groups of dieters: those who cut down on carbs and those who cut down on fat. She found that low-carb dieters lost eight pounds more than the low-fat group. The low-carb dieters also significantly decreased their estimated 10-year risk for coronary heart disease, while the low-fat group did not. Her study participants didn't count calories, and her results are corroborated by much of DiNicolantonio's work.

Bazzano praised the new review for pointing out that different foods affect the body differently, in more profound ways than the calories they contribute.

"Acknowledging that not all calorie sources have equivalent effects in the body is crucial, and the 'calorie is a calorie' theory actually prevents this," Bazzano wrote in an email to HuffPost. "These macro-nutrients, carbohydrates, fats and protein, go down different metabolic pathways in our bodies and produce different feelings, trigger different hormones and cellular messengers, producing different outcomes in terms of weight and disease risk."

A decades-long obsession with lower calories (and consequently lower fat) has benefited companies that make low-fat foods but add sugar and salt to make their products tastier, Bazzano continued.

"Food items that are 100 percent rapidly absorbable carbohydrate could add 'low fat' to their labeling and thereby be perceived as 'healthy' and potentially assisting with weight loss, because these items didn't contain that concentrated source of calories: fat," said Bazzano.

According to the World Health Organization's global figures for 2008, the latest available, more than 1.4 billion adults were overweight. In 2013, 42 million preschoolers worldwide were overweight, and overweight children are more likely than normal-weight children to be obese as adults.

Cable News Split Screen Reveals Surreal Contrast Between White House And Ferguson

Tue, 2014-11-25 10:01
Minutes after St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch finished his bizarre press conference, detailing a grand jury's decision not to indict the officer who killed an unarmed teenager in August, President Barack Obama gave a short speech. As many watched on cable news split screens, the contrast between the White House briefing room and the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, was utterly surreal:

Splitscreen: president speaks, while riot police face off against those with hands raised. #ferguson pic.twitter.com/kr1DwtgOkA

— Warren Kinsella (@kinsellawarren) November 25, 2014


As the president says the country has made "enormous progress in race relations," protesters in Ferguson are shown facing off with police tanks amid flashing lights. Obama spoke of preventing crime while a group of protesters attempted to overturn a police car. And while he encouraged a focus on improving race relations, not just preventing violence, tear gas containers are seen shooting through the street.

Violence in Ferguson lasted hours into the night in response to the grand jury's decision. Protesters set fires and looted local businesses, resulting in over 80 arrests, mostly for burglary and trespassing. Around the nation, thousands more took to the streets to show solidarity with the people of Ferguson.

No indictment for St. Louis County police officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, means Wilson will not face state charges. He may still, however, face other consequences through a Department of Justice investigation.

Darren Wilson Wasn't the First: A Short History of Killer Cops Let Off the Hook

Tue, 2014-11-25 09:05
The Ferguson grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of African-American teenager Michael Brown is heartless but unsurprising. But it is important to place the case in context with the history of police violence investigations and prosecutions in high profile cases -- and the systemic and racist police brutality that continues to plague the nation. In doing so, there are lessons for the movement for justice in the Michael Brown case, as well as for those who are engaged in the broader struggle against law enforcement violence.

What follows, then, is a brief history of similar high profile cases where public outrage compelled the justice system to confront acts of racially motivated police violence -- with, to say the least, less than satisfactory results.

Chicago

Over the past 45 years, Chicago has been a prime example of official indifference and cover-up when it comes to prosecuting the police for wanton brutality and torture.

On December 4, 1969, Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were slain in a police raid that implicated the Cook County State's Attorney and the FBI's Cointelpro program. A public outcry led to a Federal Civil Rights investigation. Despite finding that the raiding police fired more than 90 shots to one by the Panthers, the Grand Jury in 1970 did not indict, but rather issued a report that equally blamed the police perpetrators and the Panther victims.

Outrage at this decision led to the appointment of a Special Prosecutor who, in the face of extreme official resistance, obtained an indictment against the police and the State's Attorneys who planned and executed the raid -- not for murder and attempted murder, but rather for obstruction of justice.

The case came to trial in front of a politically connected judge who dismissed the case without even requiring that the charged officials put on a defense. Again, the outrage, particularly in the African-American community was so extreme that the chief prosecutor, Edward V. Hanrahan, was voted out of office a week after the verdict was rendered in 1972.

The Jon Burge police torture scandal provides another stark example. Evidence that had been unearthed over the years demonstrated that a crew of predominately white Chicago police detectives, led by Jon Burge, tortured at least 120 African-American men from 1972 to 1991.

Cook County State's Attorney Richard M. Daley was tendered powerful evidence of this torture as early as 1982, but did not investigate or prosecute Burge and his men. Daley's office continued to use confessions tortured from the victims to send scores of them to prison -- 10 of whom went to death row, though they were later saved by a death penalty moratorium in 2000 and by a grant of clemency in 2003 by then-Governor George Ryan -- during the next seven years.

In 1989, the local U.S. Attorneys' office declined to prosecute, as did the Department of Justice in 1996 and Cook County State's Attorney Richard Devine for the five years directly thereafter. In 2001, due to continuing public pressure, a politically connected Special Prosecutor was appointed to investigate the torture. But after a four-year, $7 million investigation, he too refused to indict, instead issuing what is widely considered to be a whitewash report that absolved Daley, Devine, and numerous high Chicago police officials.

Finally, in 2008 the U.S. Attorney indicted Burge for perjury and obstruction of justice, and he was convicted in 2010, and sentenced to 4.5 years in prison. However, the U.S. Attorney has subsequently declined to prosecute Burge's confederates for similar offenses.

New Orleans

Chicago is by no means an isolated example of how difficult it is to obtain justice for wanton police violence through the judicial system. In New Orleans, a crew of white detectives responded to the killing of a white police officer in 1980 by terrorizing the black community of Algiers, killing four innocent people and torturing numerous others by "booking and bagging" them: beating suspects with telephone books and suffocating them with bags over their heads.

Seven officers were indicted by the Department of Justice for civil rights violations arising from the torture of one of the victims and three were convicted. No officers were charged for the four killings or for the other acts of torture.

In 2005, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, an NOPD officer fatally shot an unarmed black man named Henry Glover, then several of his fellow officers burned his body to cover-up their crime. NOPD officers also shot and killed two unarmed black men on the Danziger Bridge.

After state authorities botched their investigation, the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department indicted the officers involved in the two cases and obtained convictions of some of the main police actors. However, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned the verdict in the Glover case, and the trial judge, citing government misconduct, took the extraordinary step of granting the convicted officers a new trial in the Danziger case.

New York

In 1997, an NYPD officer sexually assaulted a Haitian-American man named Abner Louima in a precinct station bathroom by shoving a broken broomstick up his rectum. Louima's attacker was subsequently charged with federal civil rights violations, while three of his police accomplices were charged with covering up the crimes.

After Louima's attacker pleaded guilty, his accomplices were convicted, but the Second Circuit Court of Appeals overturned their convictions on the grounds that the lawyers who represented the officers had a conflict of interest. After they were convicted a second time, the Appeals Court again overturned their convictions -- this time on the basis that there was insufficient evidence of intent.

In 1999, four officers from the NYPD's Street Crimes Unit fired 41 shots at Amadou Diallo, a Guinean immigrant who was reaching for his wallet, hitting him 19 times. The officers were indicted for second degree murder and the case was moved to upstate New York, where a jury acquitted the officers.

In July of this year, NYPD officers arrested an African-American man named Eric Garner, allegedly for selling untaxed cigarettes. They put a prohibited chokehold on him, forced him to the ground face first with his hands behind his back, and shoved his face into the pavement, where he died a few minutes later of a heart attack. The deadly assault, which was captured on videotape, is now under investigation by a Special Grand Jury empaneled by the District Attorney's Office.

Los Angeles

Among the most notorious cases was the brutal 1991 beating of Rodney King by five LAPD officers. A videotape captured most of the brutality and also showed several other officers standing by and doing nothing to stop the pummeling of a defenseless black man.

Four officers were charged at the state level with assault with a deadly weapon and use of excessive force. The trial was moved to a predominantly white suburban county, and three of the officers were acquitted of all charges, while the fourth was acquitted of assault with a deadly weapon and other lesser charges. But the jury failed to reach a verdict on his use of excessive force.

After an angry uprising in the African-American community of Los Angeles that left 53 dead and around 2,000 injured, the U.S. Justice Department indicted the four officers, and a federal jury convicted two of them, while acquitting the other two.

This past August, LAPD officers fatally shot an unarmed mentally ill African-American man named Ezell Ford, who witnesses said was shot in the back while lying on the ground. Despite massive protests, there has been no grand jury investigation to date, the autopsy report is yet to be released, and the LAPD has not completed its investigation.

Oakland

In Oakland, California in the late 1990s, a unit of police officers dubbed the "Rough Riders" allegedly systematically beat, framed and planted narcotics on African Americans whom they claimed were dealing drugs. Four of the "Riders" were indicted by the District Attorney's Office, and the trial was moved to a suburban county. The ringleader fled the country, and was tried in absentia.

After a year-long trial before a bitterly divided jury on which there were no blacks, the officers were acquitted of eight charges, and the jury was hung on the remaining 27 counts. At the urging of then-Mayor Jerry Brown, the officers were not re-tried.

Also in Oakland, in the early morning hours of New Years Day, 2009, a BART officer shot and killed a young black man named Oscar Grant, who was lying face down, unarmed, in a busy transit station. The shooting was videotaped, and led to militant protests in Oakland.

Another jury with no black members rejected the charge of murder and instead found the officer guilty of involuntary manslaughter. As a result, Oscar Grant's killer spent less than a year behind bars. The Department of Justice subsequently opened a civil rights investigation, but no charges were brought.

Milwaukee

From 2007-2012 in Milwaukee, a unit of white police officers, spurred on by the Department's CompStat program of aggressive policing, stopped and illegally body cavity searched more than 70 African-American men whom they claimed to be investigating for drug dealing. In conducting these searches, most commonly performed on the street, the searching officer reached inside the men's underwear, and probed their anuses and genitals.

After this highly illegal practice came to light, the unit's ringleader, Michael Vagnini, was indicted by the Milwaukee County District Attorney on numerous counts of sexual assault, illegal searches, and official misconduct, while three of the other unit officers were also charged for participating in two of the searches. The unit's sergeant and several other members of the unit, all of whom were present for many of the searches, were not charged.

The charged officers were permitted to plead guilty to the lesser included offenses of official misconduct and illegal strip searches, with Vagnini receiving a 36-month sentence while the other three received sentences that totaled, collectively, less than a month in jail. By pleading guilty, they also received promises that they would not be charged with federal civil rights violations.

Pattern and Practice Investigations

These high profile cases represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cases where racist police violence has not been subjected to equal justice under the law.

Recently, the Justice Department declined to prosecute Little Rock, Arkansas, officers who shot and killed Eugene Ellison, an elderly African American man who was walking out of his home with a cane in his hand, while there have been documented reports of unarmed black men recently being shot down by the police in Chicago; Houston; San Antonio; Beaver Creek, Ohio; and Sarasota, Florida.

In 1994, the United States Congress, recognizing that police misconduct and violence was systemic in many parts of the country, passed 42 U.S. Code Section 14141, which empowered the Justice Department to file suit against police departments alleging patterns and practices of unconstitutional conduct, and to obtain wide ranging court orders, consent decrees, and independent monitors in order to implement reforms to those practices.

Although understaffed, the Pattern and Practice Unit of the Justice Department has attacked systemic and discriminatory deficiencies in police hiring, supervision, and monitoring in numerous police departments over the past 20 years. A particularly egregious act or series of acts of police violence often prompts the Unit to initiate an investigation, and its lawyers have obtained consent decrees or court orders in Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Steubenville, Ohio, New Orleans, Puerto Rico, Oakland, and Miami.

Last month, lawyers handling the Little Rock cases requested that the DOJ do a pattern and investigation of the LRPD, and the Unit is reportedly now investigating the practices of the Ferguson Police Department. While these investigations are not a panacea, they offer a mechanism for exposing and reforming blatantly unconstitutional police practices, and have also demonstrated how pervasive the problem systemic police violence continues to be.

In light of this history, the pre-ordained failure of a biased local prosecutor to obtain an indictment against Darren Wilson should not surprise us. But the movement for justice for Michael Brown has brought widespread attention to the nationwide problem of systemic and racist police violence and highlighted the movement that has come together to battle against it.

Just two weeks ago, the Brown case, along with the Burge torture cases, was presented to the United Nations Committee Against Torture in Geneva. The movement should now turn its attention to the Department of Justice, demanding a federal civil rights indictment against Wilson, a full scale pattern and practice investigation of the Ferguson Police Department, and, more broadly, an end to systemic and racist police violence.

As the history of the battle against racist police violence so pointedly teaches, the public outcry and agitation must continue not only in Ferguson but across the nation. Because, as Frederick Douglas so rightly stated many years ago, power concedes nothing without a demand.

Taylor is a founding partner of the People's Law Office and has served as one of the lead lawyers in the Fred Hampton, Chicago police torture, Eugene Ellison, and Milwaukee illegal strip search cases.

17 Snarky Someecards That Sum Up Our Feelings On Thanksgiving

Tue, 2014-11-25 08:59
We've finally found the recipe for a perfect Thanksgiving: a scoop of mashed potatoes, a juicy cut of turkey, a slice of pumpkin pie and a big ol' helping of snark.

Since we are highly unqualified to help you prepare any of the first three ingredients for Thanksgiving success, we did our part by rounding up the funniest, most sarcastic Someecards we could find. Just add food and voilà! Perfect Thanksgiving.

Rapper Killer Mike Delivers Powerful Speech About Ferguson

Tue, 2014-11-25 08:20
Run the Jewels' tour had a scheduled stop in St. Louis on Monday night. The rap duo, Killer Mike and El-P, took the stage just after a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri, reached the decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown.

Killer Mike has written at length about the turmoil in Ferguson, and before the show started, he gave a powerful speech about race and humanity.

I would like to say ‘rest in peace’ to Michael Brown, who will never get to see the next phase of his life," he said. "I would like to give all thoughts and prayers to all those out there peacefully protesting.”

He continued, “Tonight I got kicked on my ass, when I listened to that prosecutor. You motherfuckers got me today. I knew it was coming. I have a 20-year-old son, I have a 12-year-old son and I’m so afraid for them.” He ended his message, referencing El-P, “We know you don’t value my skin, and we know you do value [El-P's], but you know what we’re friends and nothing is gonna devalue that.”

How Should I Feel?

Tue, 2014-11-25 07:33
Angry? Sure. Angry sounds good. Anger is okay -- no, preferred -- when dealing with injustice.

Now, anger doesn't have to -- no, shouldn't -- lead to violence.

But sometimes it does; sometimes anger makes someone do something they will regret in the morning, possibly for the rest of their lives.

Do I think the people that set fire to those businesses in Ferguson will regret it? Possibly. Maybe not tomorrow, or in the next decade. But it's possible that when they're telling their grandkids about this pivotal moment in history they will wish they acted differently. Maybe they won't. I don't know.

Maybe Darren Wilson can't sleep at night; and will forever be haunted by what he saw in his gun sight that day in early August: Michael Brown's head moments before the fatal blow. Maybe he sleeps fine. I don't know.

I don't know -- and who cares? The damage is done. Businesses are smoldering and Mike Brown has been dead for over three months.

So how should I feel? How should we feel?

These things happen all the time, right? They will happen forever, right?

It's nice to think they won't. It's probably best to think life won't always be like this.

Optimism is good.

But I know I'm going to have to tell my future children about this country. What should I tell them? I could tell them Columbus discovered it and police officers are here to protect it from bad people. I could tell them everyone is equal.

So what do I tell my son when his girlfriend's father doesn't want his little girl dating a black man?

Do I tell him what my mom told me? Do I let him know that's just the way things are? Or do I tell him that man is an anomaly? That man is a cancer?

I don't know.

And what should I tell my daughter if she wants to go to school in Missouri because Missouri has the best journalism school in the country?

Do I tell her what my mom told me? Do I pull her aside as often as possible, look her deep in the eyes, and ask: Are you sure? Do I tell her that Missouri is different from Chicago? Do I have faith in her strength, confidence that the world isn't as bad as I think it is? Or do I refuse to let her go? Should I make sure she never leaves Chicago? At least in Chicago there is strength in numbers? Do I let one lie slide into another?

I don't know.

And what if they both want to go to Missouri? What if Missouri is as unkind to them as it was to me? What if my son drinks too much and gets into trouble because a cruel environment drains his self-worth? What if my daughter feels isolated because she wants to love everybody, but nobody wants to love her?

What if they can't take it and want to leave, but I tell them to be tough?

I'll hear them crying over the phone, begging to come back to Chicago, sounding like hollowed out shells. I'll hear this and say: "Toughness and resilience are what make our people great. Focus that fear and put it to work. Become exceptional."

Or will I cry with them?

But what if I start crying too late?

What if they now feel leaving is a sign of weakness?

Do I tell them what my mom told me? Do I pull them aside as often as possible, look them deep in their eyes, and ask: Are you sure?

They'll say, "I don't know." And I'll say, "I don't know."

Who knows how you're supposed to act when the world is set-up against you and you know it and you know you're going to lose no matter what and you're angry and sad and desperate in ways you've never felt but, somehow, you know you'll feel like this forever?

But how do you tell that to your children?

And when I'm in my sixties and another unarmed black teen is killed and no justice is served; when my grandchildren innocently look up at me and ask: "Was it always like this?"

What will I say?

Will I tell them that Emmett Till was worse than Rodney King? That Darrion Albert was worse than Trayvon Martin? That Amadou Diallo was worse than Michael Brown?

Will I tell them that progress is slow? That every time more people seem to care?

Or will I look back at my life and wish I were angrier -- more focused with my anger?

Will I tell my grandchildren that anger is the only thing the world responds to?

Or will I look at them gently and tell the truth?

I don't know...

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