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Death seems to be the new black this year. On Saturday I spent some time reflecting on the 1996 murder of Tupac Amaru Shakur—Saturday would have been his 41st birthday. On Father’s Day, I spent time with my dad, but thought of so many who no longer have theirs. I thought about how this Father’s Day feels for Tracy Martin, whose son was so needlessly murdered just a few months ago. I thought about the presence of death in the black community. It seems so pervasive—more so this year than ever before in my life, and I grew up in Newark, N.J.

But as my dad, my family and I were headed to church for Father’s Day services, news broke that Rodney King had died. I got that sinking feeling—with which I am now all too familiar—I get when my Twitter timeline scrolls the passing of a life that matters to me, to the black community. And the usual process unfolded. People wondered if TMZ’s early report was reliable; was Huff Post any more reliable if they just picked up the link? Eventually, some trustworthy source makes it official, and the digital outpouring of sadness begins….

What Rodney King’s Death Symbolizes for the Black Community - James Peterson on “the violent history of police brutality, racial profiling, and racialized injustice.”
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