We are in the midst of another spasm of grief and rage, pouring out in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death while in police custody in Baltimore. I can’t pretend that I understand what is happening, and I condemn the violence — but let me be clear: I condemn even more strongly the structural violence and oppression which is leading to what some might call an insurrection, rather than a riot.
In the midst of all of this, I grieve. And I try to remember what is powerful about the practice of nonviolence. Here is one brief history worth remembering: