As part of my job, I have spent the last four years living abroad, first in Burkina Faso and then in Haiti, working to alleviate poverty through empowerment of the most vulnerable. I have witnessed firsthand human rights abuses and the institutionalized abandonment of the poor in those countries. In January, I made the decision to return to the United States, "the land of opportunity" that so many refer to from outside these shores. What I have heard from a distance and am now discovering in Baltimore is quite different from the common narrative that our country is accorded by so many. Is everyone truly regarded as equal under the law and treated as such? Does opportunity truly exist for everyone regardless of race or color? On other shores across the Atlantic Ocean, the historical sites of Ouidah and Ile de Goree in West Africa attest to the greatest injustice in human history, slavery. And yet, despite the years that distance us from that abominable practice, the incarceration system continues to propagate fear and discrimination of people of color. Vestiges of segregation and racial bias permeate American society despite the passing of civil rights legislation. It is true our nation has come a long way since those dark days, but it is not enough.