When I opened the Sun-Sentinel's main page this morning to catch the news before I head out to teach my creative writing class, I was struck by three stories sitting very near each other. The main story is about South Florida pastors working for social justice; it's a story that's really about the anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. today, and how these pastors have continued his message of social justice and empowerment, and about the work they've done in developing their communities. It's the kind of article that can remind one of the potential power for good churches can be.

But juxtaposed with it, same page, smaller type, are two stories that remind me of just how messed up our world still is. The first is about yet another noose hanging, this time on the campus of Nove Southeastern, a local private university. The students who hung the noose in this case were high school freshmen, students of the University school, and they've been suspended. The school's headmaster says he doesn't think there was anything threatening in their intent, that the students were ignorant of the power in that symbolism, but even if that's true, it's still very disturbing. It's not like this is an isolated incident. We've written about noose incidents here a ton in the last year, because it's been in the news. It wouldn't entirely shock me if a couple of ninth graders hadn't seen those stories, but then again, it's not like a noose is a ubiquitous symbol that they'd come across casually either.

The other painful story was a short piece about a former ICE agent convicted of forcing a female detainee in his custody to have sex with him at his home. He was taking her to a holding cell where she would await deportation to Jamaica, and he decided to take her to his home and have sex with her first. This isn't the first story about ICE agents taking advantage of women they have power over, and I doubt it will be the last.

The news today will likely be filled with paeans to Dr. King's legacy and memory, and rightfully so. But let's not pretend that we're anywhere close to having an egalitarian society. Our journey is long and the road is uncertain.

Here's the Random Ten for today. Put the iTunes on party shuffle and post the next ten songs that pop up. No skipping songs that make you feel like you're 14 and in roller skates. We all need to embrace our inner Sugarhill Gang from time to time. Here we go.

1. Deep Red Bells--Neko Case
2. Piazza, New York Catcher--Belle & Sebastian
3. Mermaid--Sade
4. Lilly May--Snooks Eaglin
5. Stewball--Memphis Slim
6. Jane--Barenaked Ladies
7. Harder Than You Think--Public Enemy
8. Beloved One--Ben Harper & Innocent Criminals
9. Jackie, Dressed in Cobras--The New Pornographers
10.Shoop--Salt n Pepa
So what are you listening to on this lovely Friday?

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