All decent people in this country feel the wound to our collective soul from this horrible injustice. But that’s not what this article is about. This is about how to honor him and do something that would make change rather than cause more pain and death. Trayvon’s family has called for no violence as has the president yet today I see that the protests and marches all over the country are “mostly non-violent.” That “mostly” concerns me.
Before you argue that justice was served let me state clearly a young boy died from walking home while black in a white neighborhood. There was no evidence or testimony even from Zimmerman himself that he had done anything wrong…yet he’s dead…and people will never be okay with that. Those are the facts of the case and they are undisputed. We can’t “get over it” and we shouldn’t because we’ve been “getting over it” for far too long.
The cops blew it, deliberately in my opinion, the courts blew it and the killer walks but that doesn’t make him innocent. So we should feel the pain of that and grieve with his family because we failed to stop it with sane legislation plus we’ve allowed racists to be inflamed with fear from the public rhetoric. I, along with many others, hope that Eric Holder and the DOJ can put together a civil rights case but that may not be possible starting with an investigation that was horribly bungled from the beginning. We can hope though…
So what do we do with this pain, anger and disgust? We have a right to this anger we feel because there was nothing right about it. The gloating of his attorneys after the decision and the insane racist comments all over the internet are inflaming the issue more. They have done their best to turn this into a war in the streets and they keep fueling the fire all while blaming it on the left because we want justice. Why? Because the racists want riots. They want violence because it gives them an excuse to hurt and kill and it gives them another radicalization tool…something to use to breed more hate and fear.
I have a good friend who isn’t as lily white as me who has two Masters Degrees and is a very thoughtful, serious man. He had a brother killed just a few years ago and the killer walked which devastated his family. He thinks it’s about the laws that allowed it and we should focus on changing them instead of wasting our energies on a battle that’s already lost. He believes we should let this go and focus on the laws that allow any paranoid fool to arm himself and then claim self-defense when he’s killed someone who wasn’t even armed…and he’s right. This guy had enough mental and violent history that he shouldn’t have been allowed to purchase a gun much less have a conceal-carry permit.
But of course nobody cared enough about 20 dead, white, babies in Connecticut to make change so it’s doubtful this case will wake them up. So let me make a suggestion here. There is a march on Washington, D.C. planned for August 28th. It’s the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s march. Permits have already been approved and it’s going to happen. Do you plan to be there?
Imagine if everyone who is angry and hurt about this case…and everything else that is a daily insult in this country…showed up on August 28th in Washington, D.C. en mass. What if hundreds of thousands of Americans showed up to say in one voice we won’t tolerate the hate anymore…whether it’s directed at black people, women, poor people, the working class, LGBT people, etc. It could be the biggest movement this country has ever seen if we all unite, join hands and say publicly and loudly “NO MORE.”
What a tribute that would be to Trayvon, and to his parents who have shown so much grace and patience through their suffering, to have the march honoring Martin Luther King Jr.’s honor them. Martin Luther King Jr. made more change with his peaceful civil disobedience than any other one leader and I can guess what he would say if he were with us. His march was about Jobs and Freedom and isn’t that still what it’s about? Isn’t freedom and economic justice what it’s always been about?
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was not only a man of passion and purpose but he was also an educated man. He knew that the racists and haters wanted an excuse to hurt and kill people of color and anyone who stood with them. When he insisted on a peaceful movement he wasn’t sucking up to white power as some thought, he was protecting the protesters. There was violence but it was all on the other side and it won his point for him. It showed the country and the world what was going on in Birmingham.
It’s the same reason Nelson Mandela spoke of forgiveness and worked to unite his country after 27 years in prison and horrible abuses. He knew it was what was good for them in the long run even though the thirst for revenge must have been strong.
These men were leaders, are our heroes and they showed us how to do it…how to make lasting change. It’s about all of us standing together to defend everyone’s rights…standing in solidarity and refusing to be silenced. I promise you if a million or more people showed up in Washington, D.C. and announced “we the people” are taking the reins back and we will no longer allow this bigotry, hate and injustice we would see change.
It will never be without pain when the people stand up for justice because the people perpetuating the injustice won’t let it be, but should that stop us? Isn’t it past time?
“50th Anniversary March on Washington | 50th Anniversary March on Washington.” 50th Anniversary March on Washington | 50th Anniversary March on Washington. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 July 2013. 50thanniversarymarchonwashington.com/events/
Ross, Shmuel. “Civil Rights March on Washington (History, Facts, Martin Luther King Jr.) | Infoplease.com.” Infoplease: Encyclopedia, Almanac, Atlas, Biographies, Dictionary, Thesaurus. Free online reference, research & homework help. | Infoplease.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 July 2013. http://www.infoplease.com/spot/marchonwashington.html
“Trayvon Martin Justice Protests: Thousands rally across US in protest of George Zimmerman acquittal – YouTube.” YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 July 2013. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYigIN-XG_M