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The late Lucky Dube, a famous reggae musician from South Africa once said, “when I see a black man, I see the image of God. When a see a white man, I see the image of God.  And that’s the way it should be. We belong together.” Unfortunately however, this is not the reality in many situations such as with the cold-blooded killing of black Christian worshippers in Charleston South Carolinaxenophobic attacks by indigenous South African’s on foreigners, the raging controversy over Sandra Bland death and many more race and hate related issues in the media lately. It is a shame and beyond belief that even in the year 2015 despite all the intellectual and technological progress of society, some sections of society still feel superior to others on the mere basis of skin color.

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The Baltimore uprising, the Ferguson protests, the Chapel Hill murders, the Charleston terrorist attack, and the Chattanooga terrorism all remind me why I wrote #TalkToMe: The Five Conversations We Need To Have, But Aren’t.

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When news broke last Thursday that a 24-year-old man with a Muslim name was responsible for the shooting rampage that left five servicemen dead in Chattanooga, the Muslim community took a deep breath: Here we go again. First, take to social media to decry the attack, then send a press release, maybe conduct a few press interviews. And still, wait for the inevitable blame that falls on the whole group solely because of their faith.

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The terrible news of four Marines and a sailor shot to death in Chattanooga doesn’t come as a surprise. While details remain sketchy, the story line in similar attacks is all too familiar: A young man born and bred in the West with a seemingly normal life and a future falls prey to an extremist ideology and goes up in flames taking down innocents with him.

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My friend’s daughter spent her 7th birthday in a unique way. Unlike other kids her age who want to decorate their house with balloons, order a giant birthday cake, invite all their friends and expect a lot of presents, she decided to do it differently. 

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