Traveling back and forth between the US and Japan for the last two years, one story I have had the opportunity to directly cover is the tense climate in America surrounding police shootings - #blackLivesMatter
As an individual who has seen unlawful incarceration of family members and the life altering long-term effects on the jailed and their communities, it is not without prejudice that I harshly judge any system that rules autonomously without fear of checks and balances. As a journalist I want desperately to write a hopeful headline but I know I cannot 'force' the story and in honesty I find it difficult to see solutions emerging anytime soon. However, I try to keep myself open to finding the voice that I have the power to echo to a greater audience.
On my last trip to LA, I covered the usual red carpets and drought stories that are always a part of my Southern California experience but I also had the opportunity to cover the Manifest Justice art exhibit. At this art activist showcase focused on the theme of social inequality I found the muse, Ms. Sybrina Fulton - mother of slain Trayvon Martin, that put words to my own anger and frustration and softened my jaded heart.
In this LA community of Crenshaw, the line was literally around the block to enter the exhibition. To accommodate the overwhelming reaction of the community the organizers of the event re-routed the audio system to connect with speakers in the downstairs and annex exhibit rooms so that everyone in the building could listen to the panelists speak. In the room next door to the panel discussion it was calmly silent as attendees sat in and around art, listening to Ms. Fulton's voice under the installation art of her son as a hooded angel.
The most aggressive piece of the exhibition was easily that of Jordan Weber, a Des Moines, Iowa native that transported his 600 lb art across the country in piece in his truck.
During my stay in California I lodged in downtown LA in the district of Little Tokyo and it struck me how my own Japanese-American community, just half a century earlier were unjustly interned and stripped of their civil rights, yet fought heroically with no prejudice as the 'Go For Broke' regiment during World War II.
Hearing Ms. Fulton speak with hope and not hate, compassion with no callous. I wonder why it is that those that suffer the most, take on the greatest burden of being the actions of reason. I struggle with my own humanity wondering if I could do the same if called upon.
You can see a link to an abbreviated version of the piece I produced for Reuters here on Huffington Post