Today is the International Day of Peace at the United Nations. It is celebrated with a theme, with meetings, with videos, and is undertaken each year with a view to bringing the voice of peace into the halls of the United Nations during the Organization’s plenary opening sessions each year. It is a beautiful event. I had the opportunity to be present the day before to moderate an important event on the eve of International Peace Day entitled “Completing the Legacy of Nuremberg: Activating the Jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court Over the Crime of Aggression in 2017.”
The city where I live and work has been roiled by protests after the acquittal of former city police officer Jason Stockley on first-degree murder charges for his 2011 shooting of Anthony Lamar Smith. Again, to many of us, the justice system seems unwilling to hold law-enforcement officers to account for violence against people of color.
I first sat down to write a piece like this three years ago, when my city, St. Louis, was wracked with the initial convulsions of what would later be known simply as “Ferguson.” I didn’t submit it for publication then. I wasn’t sure it would make a useful contribution. I didn’t know if it would jeopardize other important work I was involved in. I wasn’t confident that people would understand my meaning.
This is what has happened following the revelation that a data breach at Equifax exposed the personal information of more than half of the nation’s adult population. The company’s best offer is free credit monitoring for a year, but only after victims provide more personal information. Equifax has no public plan to compensate impacted individuals and communities. And it need not have a plan, because our laws do not require it to pay the actual cost of this kind of harm.
Observers long wondered what would become of Barack Obama after he left office. Young and healthy, still pondering social problems, he always seemed an unlikely candidate for the list of distant former presidents. He may well be transforming the post-presidency in ways no less profound than Trump’s efforts to change the presidency.