For the last few weeks I’ve been following the Zimmerman trial closely, curious as to why the prosecution didn’t adequately prepare and select key witnesses or vocalize obvious objections. Since I’ve never taken a law class, I’m nowhere near qualified to formally critique either team. I do, however, have words for everyone anxiously waiting to see if this trial will result in yet another blatant miscarriage of justice.
By now, we should know not to place our trust in a “justice” system that is responsible for locking away more people than any other country in the world. I have a hard time advocating for a non-rehabilitative, money-draining solution to an ideological problem. In my opinion, justice for Trayvon has nothing to do with a second-degree murder conviction or a life sentence for Zimmerman.
If George Zimmerman’s acquittal motivates one young person to pursue a law degree so that she or he can uphold justice for all in court, I’d prefer that to another high profile case-free bout of mass complacency. While I detest the idea of Zimmerman roaming the streets, looking for more unarmed teens to gun down, I am even more concerned that people will mistake Zimmerman’s potential conviction for justice.
Last year, Marissa Alexander, a Black mom in Florida, was sentenced to 20 years for firing non-fatal warning shots against her abusive husband. The same Stand Your Ground law that Zimmerman used to justify his vigilantism failed to protect a woman who didn’t kill anyone while acting in legitimate self-defense. As her case and many others have proven, a conviction, even if it is well deserved, is nowhere near synonymous with justice. It is counter-productive to expend our energy and resources in a war that has been rigged from the start. It’s time to abolish the age-old racism that lies behind this trial and countless others like it.
If Zimmerman is acquitted, we will not riot. We will protest peacefully and wisely, not in response to the petition urging Obama to “keep Blacks from rioting,” but because we cannot afford to give police forces an excuse to gun us down in the streets. We will remain calm and exercise our intelligence because we have a higher calling to fulfill that requires non-violence. We refuse to incriminate ourselves any further than the media already has.
Instead of looting my local grocery store, I plan to host a think tank with fellow young professionals on how to rid television and film of the detrimental portrayals of Black men that caused Zimmerman to deem Trayvon Martin a suspicious “punk.” Rather than bashing in the windows of the nearest police station, I’m going to continue working with LAPD and DPS to end racial profiling in Los Angeles and eventually the nation. Instead of giving our adversaries exactly what they want, we are going to organize peacefully and more effectively than ever before.
Believe me when I say that the “Justice for Trayvon Martin” movement is only beginning. The 2 million strong, 45-day push to bring formal charges against Zimmerman and the degrading trial that focused more on a dead victim’s social habits more than that of a bigoted murderer will forever be etched into the collective memory of my generation. Had Zimmerman known that his illegal pursuit of Trayvon would result in a social awakening, he probably would have let him get away…like they always do. Tragically, but thankfully, he didn’t.
In Trayvon Martin’s absence we now have thousands of young minorities who won’t rest until they secure just treatment and all-around equality for their people. Though Trayvon will never live to graduate from college, get married or have his first child, millions of young minorities will greet each milestone in the future with a renewed responsibility in mind.
No one knows when the ultimate Judge will finally decide to administer His own ruling. Until then, I can only pray for God to grant wisdom and discernment to the 6 jurors and do everything in my power to make His will a reality. I urge you to place your hope in the only One who has the power and authority to provide justice for Trayvon Martin and everyone else.
They’re scared of you, black
They can’t see you in the dark, but
They run from you anyway
You are the dark
You, black, are my scapegoat
You, black, are my not so secret hiding place from the blinding white
The world has found out about us
The ghost has never been clear, black; they lied
The black devil isn’t black after all
He’s dangerous black
He who has remained nameless could be night
He resembles my knight and matted armor
We all know color is vein deep
We’ve all ingested hate through the black IV drip and
We’ve all tried to hide it under our guilt-tripped skin
Black, stop entertaining ignorance and define yourself
Black, you’ve been used to right the weaker colors’ wrongs
Black, even through the abuse
I will always recognize you in the crowd
I envy your ability to force the others into irrelevant shades of absence
I think you’re powerful by definition, black
I know why they’re scared of you, black
Ways to Act:
Urge the Department of Justice to open a civil rights case against George Zimmerman. Click here.