Friday, March 23, 2012

This is OUR Home - Trayvon Martin

The investigation is under way, but regardless of the conclusions, it would behoove us as a society to take a deep look at how a teenage boy could be shot and killed by a volunteer neighborhood watchman in his own neighborhood between his home and the convenience store, carrying only a pack of skittles and iced tea.  George Zimmerman's 911 call shortly before he shot Trayvon Martin.  As of March 23, 2012 the shooter has not been arrested, nearly a month after the February 26, 2012 incident.

We can all participate in helping to turn our nation into a place where such a tragedy would not only be astonishing but NOT happen.  As President Obama said, Trayvon Martin could have been his son.  Or yours or mine or your neighbor or my cousin or a close friend's son.  We all lost a young life in this tragedy.  If we fail to see the connection that binds us all together, if we continue on the path we're on, Trayvon's life won't be the last we lose like this and one day it will hit home.  Ironically, the supposedly "dangerous" Black teenage boys in our country are actually the ones in danger -- in danger from the people who think they're dangerous, the people who are afraid of them, simply for their physical appearance.  When we deflect our fear rather than truly dealing with it, we create barriers between ourselves and those that surround us.  We break down our ties and our communication.  And these barricades can be harmful not only to ourselves but to the people we come in contact with -- even deadly.  And this goes not only for people who are in a position of "protecting" our neighborhoods, but for all of the senseless violence in our society, for each time we judge one another.  Can we really accept that another person might lose their life, their child, their friend, their hope because of our fear - is that something we are ok with?

This is our home; we must and we do shape it.  Our actions have consequences.  Our movements cause ripples in the sea.  It starts with each and every one of us and how we interact with one another.  The more we intertwine with one another, the more empathy we'll gain for each other.

"Trayvon is your son," said Trayvon's mother, Sybrina Fulton ("Trayvon Martin rally draws thousands calling for arrest," The Guardian, March 23, 2012).  

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