When I heard the verdict in the Trayvon Martin case, I wept. I wept for my country, I wept for my family, I wept for Trayvon’s family, I wept for Trayvon. “No justice. No peace,” mirrored in crystal tears.
I weep for America. The case is a black and white portrayal of the racism still deeply ingrained in American society, a farce of everything that is called justice. The verdict echoes through the hallowed halls of abolition, civil rights, affirmative action, and every other progress we claim to have made in America. The cry for equality returns void, the pound of the gavel snuffing out the life of so many Trayvons now and forward.
I weep for my son. He is black and white, a beautiful velvet creation of love. But will he, as a teenager, decide to wear a hoodie one night to fend away the chill of the pouring rain? Will he meet another Zimmerman on that fatal night, jumping out of his car or the bushes to stop the beating heart of my son, and to snuff out my own lifeblood of love?
I weep for Trayvon’s parents. Did they know from his birth that their child would become a martyr, a sacrifice to appease the gods of racism? What did they say that night to him before he left?
I weep for Trayvon. I hope his spirit can find peace. I hope he has left behind this world of cruelty and pain and traded it for a beautiful place of love and dreams and oneness of all.
There are those who would say that this case has nothing to do with race. “Oh, Trayvon was a troubled child,” they wag their fingers and cluck their tongues like so many chickens. Chicken to face the truth. Many teenagers struggle to assert their independence, find out who they are, but teenage angst is not any crime, much less one worthy of the death sentence.
“Oh, but look at poor George’s nose,” they continue to cluck. Well, sometimes the prey fights back and the predator gets a little hurt. Against all orders, Zimmerman left his car and started on the hunt. By his own words, he claims that “they always get away.” So black and white, in his mind. Get out of his car and take care of a little black problem so it won’t get away.
And he knew that he would get away with it, like every other white American who has hunted and killed black people throughout this country’s bloody history. It doesn’t matter whether the hunt and kill is physical, or whether it is emotional, spiritual, economical. Sometimes the death of a dream, or the waking death of constant emotional oppression is worse than the physical death. Black people in America live this nightmare every day.
I grew up with my white girl privilege in the white suburbs of white America. But I made that fatal error of marrying the man I loved, the man of dark skin. All my white privilege melted away in one ceremony, and suddenly I was counted as one of them. Security guards began to include me as they followed my husband around the store. Police followed and often stopped me for no reason at all just because he was in the car. Black and white. Sinful. Prey. I was thrust into poverty and homelessness as apartment managers looked at our application and laughed. Illegal, you say? Perhaps, but who enforces these boundaries when society’s enforcers are overwhelmingly racist? Zimmerman was a wanna-be cop. How much more racist are the real cops?
I don’t know what the future holds for my son. Perhaps he will take his mother’s white genes, dress himself in a certain manner, and surround himself with the light-skinned, so he can pass in the white world. Maybe, in so doing, he will avoid all the Zimmermans, but will the price demand his beautiful mahogany soul? Will it create a crisis of identity just to live in America? Or will he stand up and fight for the truth, fight for a world of true equality?
We must never forget Trayvon and his mighty sacrifice. We must continue to dream and battle for that day when we are all one and free. Rest in peace, Trayvon, and know that your death is a revolution.