Portrait by James H. Rolling, Jr.

Kids know when a promise has been broken. You can see it in their eyes. At some point during my elementary schooling, I became convinced that the Pledge of Allegiance we were expected to recite each morning became a lie as it passed through my lips. I did not believe I lived in a nation with liberty and justice for all. Maybe for some, but not for people in my neighborhood. Not in Crown Heights. It’s not my nature to recite meaningless words. So I stopped…