On Saturday July 13th, eyes and ears from all over the world turned to Sanford, Florida to eagerly hear the verdict of the George Zimmerman trial. An innocent teenaged-boy was cut down in the prime of his life for seemingly nothing more than wearing a hoody, leisurely walking in a nice neighborhood after 7 p.m., and having the wrong colored skin.
Trayvon Martin was a black teenager who lived in Sanford, Florida. The morning of his death he got up, took his shower and ate his breakfast. This day wasn’t unlike any other day. It wasn’t unlike that fateful day in the lives of those who were lost here in New York on 9/11. Neither Trayvon, nor the 9/11 victims knew that when they left home that morning, because of someone else’s senseless hatred and depravity, they would never make it back alive.
George Zimmerman was a licensed gun owner and the head of his neighborhood watch. Why did he confront Trayvon? Unfortunately to some people if you happen to be a minority (with or without a hoody) you are automatically suspicious! Trayvon being a normal teenager was on his way home from a “snack run” with skittles and a juice. He saw this strange man pursuing him first with his car, and then on foot. He called one of his friends so that she would be a witness of what was happening to him
Zimmerman never identified himself as a part of the neighborhood watch, nor did he give him a simple warning like “Young man be careful, there has been some dangerous activity around here.” Why, because Mr. Zimmerman had already profiled Trayvon and was in vigilante mode. He grabbed his gun and got out of his car with the preconceived notion that because this was a black boy he was automatically up to no good. He also obviously reasoned in his mind that because of the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida he could actually shoot this boy and get away with it, and it looks like he actually did!
People have been saying time and time again that this wasn’t a “race case” and that there was absolutely no profiling going on. We had his motive; Zimmerman was upset about robberies in the neighborhood. We had proof of his intent to kill; Zimmerman loaded his gun, took the safety off, got out of his vehicle and hunted this boy down like a dog! We have the smoking gun, a confession, and a witness! We even had phone records confirming Trayvon’s testimony in the form of a scream of pain and terror when this man shot him; and yet no conviction.
Too many people have already given their lives for equality. We cannot afford to go back into the dark ages of ignorance. Our constitution says that all men are created equal, as American citizens we all have the right to freedom and liberty! The judicial system in Florida failed Trayvon, but we don’t have to. As Attorney General Eric Holder said, this was a senseless tragedy. Every American should be appalled at what happened. This intolerance should not only be for the senseless, prejudicial and calculated murder of an American youth, but also for the failure of the Florida justice system to protect its youth and punish those who would do them harm.
In closing, this is not a time for violence or animosity. God is a God of peace. This is a time for us to pray, and write our elected officials to let them know that this is not acceptable. This is not an exclusively black, or a white issue. Every parent especially those of us with teenagers should be outraged. Our children are not animals to be hunted down. Nor are they suspects. We all need to stand together and let everyone know that when they do harm to the least of us, they are doing it to all of us.
Martin Niemoller (1892-1984) wrote “First they came for the socialists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”
We don’t have to settle for justice denied. In America we stand for justice for all!