And Justice For All

I was originally planning on writing about how I am going to the midnight screening of The Hunger Games tonight with three of my besties and how we have literally waited months for this day to come and if we weren’t mature adults total slackers we would have totally bought Team Peeta t-shirts to wear with our cozy pants.

But, I can’t. Instead, I have to write about something much more important, because I cannot stop reading about and listening to coverage of this Trayvon Martin case. While I would not ordinarily intend for my blog to be about topics that could in any way be considered to be newsworthy or even potentially political, this one cannot be ignored.

And here is the truth—it is actually about parenting. And children. And our greatest fears being realized.

You see, as the mother of daughters, there are many reasons why I would fear letting them walk alone, even in broad daylight, on the street. Even as teenagers, even in gated communities. Bad things can happen to girls.

But here is something I would never have to think about for *my* girls, something I would never have to fear in their walking alone and that is someone quite literally hunting them down and killing them because of the color of their skin.

And y’all, this boy, this beautiful, smiling, innocent boy, who was coming back from the 7-Eleven with his iced tea and his Skittles to his father’s girlfriend’s home was murdered because he was black. Period. And if you don’t believe me, listen to the 911 tapes. They will make your blood run cold. They will make you weep into your hands. You will hear a boy, a teenager, screaming for help and then you will hear a gunshot and then you will hear silence. It is chilling and tragic and just so utterly sad you really cannot believe it is actually happening in the United States, in the year 2012.

The shooter, the man who murdered this boy, is free. With the gun still in his possession.

Trayvon Martin was murdered on February 26th.

Today is March 22nd.

We can do better. We must do better. If every single person reading this stands up and says no, this is not acceptable, we do not allow innocent children to be murdered on our watch and killers to go free, more will be done.

It takes a village my friends, and our children, those children whose voices cannot scream loud enough to be heard and those children whose voices have been silenced permanently deserve our willingness to fight for them. We are all that they have.

http://www.change.org/petitions/prosecute-the-killer-of-our-son-17-year-old-trayvon-martin

 


Comments

And Justice For All — 45 Comments

  1. This breaks my heart and makes me angry as well. We all know that the situation would be different if the shooter were a black man and the victim a white boy. It’s really not speculation at all.

    THIS is the problem with racial profiling. For blacks, for Muslims, for Latinos that we believe might be illegal immigrants. This is not okay.

  2. Petition signed – glad you wrote about this and provided the petition link. Just despicable, horrific story. Again – gun laws – don’t care what “they” say, guns DO kill people. A gunshot to the chest was caused by a person with a gun – and irresponsible person with a gun – an idiot with a gun.

  3. I’m glad you posted about this. It’s a disgrace to humanity and a horrific reality of the evil that still prevails in our country…our world. It’s always traumatizing to hear of things like this happening… my soul just weeps.

  4. Thank you for posting that petition. I signed it. Not to be crass, but I hope that “neighborhood watch” motherf—r finally gets the justice he deserves and is put away. What lesson are we teaching our children that this has not yet been done?!?!?

    I am horrified and furious by this whole situation.

    • It is baffling to me that this man is still free. I am disgusted and outraged, as I feel that everyone who believes in the difference between right and wrong, between justice and injustice should be.

  5. It should very well b said that even tho I believe that this is a racial profiling case that whites r outraged as well as blacks n wen injustice has been commited that we should stand as one as parents,sisters n brothers…. GOD CREATED MAN IN HIS IMAGE (ALL MAN)….

    • Thank you Crystal. Exactly. I appreciate you reading and leaving a comment. I hope that justice will prevail.

  6. This is embarrassing to the entire human race that this child was targeted like this and it is further dehumanizing that this man continues to walk the streets free with no consequences.

  7. Petition signed.
    It is nothing short of heartbreaking to hear this young man’s unanswered screams for help on the 911 recording. I will keep his family in my prayers and hope that justice will occur.

    • I could not agree more. The screams for help are almost too much to bear hearing. I just keep thinking about his family. And praying for them.

  8. I’m so glad you wrote about this story. It is horrifying that a child was pursued and gunned down because of the color of his skin and the police have done absolutely nothing to bring the murderer to justice. It’s shocking and sickening. I can’t believe what this family has been through and the grace they are showing. Like Kim, I’m praying for the family and for justice to be done.

    • Watching the family is amazing, because as you said they show so much grace. I am certain I would not be able to do the same. Given the amount of anger I feel as a stranger just reading and watching this from afar, I cannot imagine what it would feel like to know it had been my child.
      I hope that this story does not go away until justice has been served, on many levels.

  9. Very well said, Ashley. I agree completely. It is an outrage that the shooter hasn’t been arrested. Even more disgusting that the police didn’t even bother questioning and taking a statement and collecting crime scene evidence at the time of the shooting. I gladly signed the petition.

    • Thank you John. Yes, I agree with everything you said here. The more facts I read about this case and the complete mishandling by the police, the more outraged I become. It is just disgusting.

  10. Awesome and powerful post. You are absolutely correct, we MUST do better. My little girl has a grey hoodie that she loves. She insists on flipping the hood up anytime she wears it. I was thinking, there is a lot I have to worry about having a pretty little girl, but I am pretty sure that I don’t have to worry too much about her being gunned down for having a hoodie on.

    • My girls both have hoodies as well, and they also like wearing them with the hoods up. My four year-old insists that it makes her look like Justin Bieber. That is my greatest challenge when it comes to the hoodie.
      Thank you for reading and commenting Sosha. I really hope that justice will prevail here. I feel like as it is our job as mothers to make sure it does.

  11. Petition signed. What a tragic story.

    The reality is, Ashley, that wearing a hoodie isn’t an option for everyone. Forget right or wrong, fair or unfair, I cannot wear a trench coat or a hoodie or walk around with a backpack and expect to be seen as a man first, a writer, a dad, a coach – I’m going to be seen as a minority with something to hide to SOME people.

    Is it worth it to raise my hood anyway? No. Sad or not, it’s reality: I cannot change society. I could be deemed a threat in some circumstances, so if there’s something I can do – as simply as removing the hood or keeping my hands out of the pockets of my trenchcoat – to sway the odds against me taking a bullet, I’m already doing it.

    • Thank you for signing the petition Eli and for this very thought-provoking comment.
      I watched Jonathan Capehart say something similar on Morning Joe last week. He was taught as a young, African American boy not to run, not to run with anything is his hands, not to talk back to the police, etc. and while I certainly understand the concept, I still find it very sad.
      It is the same idea that I will have to teach my daughters about how to dress or not dress when going to a bar or club, *should* that matter, no, but could it, yes.
      Is that right? No. Is it real? Yes.
      In this case, though, Trayvon Martin, apparently had his hood up because it was raining. And that makes me sad. Because I am a mother.

  12. Thanks for that very well written blog entry! It saddens me so much and literally makes me sick and cry daily for this poor boy and his parents who have lost their son. As a mom of a beautiful little girl and baby boy on the way, I could not imagine having to go through that kind of pain. Kudos to you for posting about this. My friends and family are getting earfuls from me and my facebook daily, cause I refuse to let this go until their is some justice.

    • Thank you Elizabeth for this kind and heartfelt comment. I could not agree with you more about not letting this go until justice prevails. This is far too important, both for the memory of Trayvon and for the future of all our children.

  13. i still feel this is being blown out of proportion.. theres a few key things that we are forgetting about. if there is anything to be learned from this. young teenagers should not be walking the streets alone at anytime.. regardless of race parents need to watch there children and have rules in place so that thses things are not even possible to happen. much of the original dialogue from the original poster was not factual. not even close. the facts are that a young tennager was out roaming the streets alone which he should never be allowed to do in the first place. he was killed by a good somaritan in self defense. he had every right to defend himself. the yound child who was killed should never have been out in the streets alone. the parents should beheld responsinle for neglect. no young teenager should hae to walk to the store or anywhere for something to drink. they should investigate the household and make sure any other siblings in house are in good health and nutrition. if anyone is to blame it is the parents fault. and they should be held accountable.

    • I was going to respond to this ridiculous post sentence by sentence, but I realized something. If you don’t care enough to put in the effort to touch your SHIFT key in order to produce capital letters in the appropriate places, you’re not worth the effort of a detailed response. I do have one bit of advice for you, Stephen. When there is a squiggly red line under a word in your post, it means the word is misspelled. You need to take a look at that before you click “post comment” next time. (I’m not trying to be a stickler. I didn’t even mention the fact that you didn’t use commas either!)

    • Wow. I’ll take a crack at responding.

      “i still feel this is being blown out of proportion.”
      A child, one who was doing absolutely nothing wrong, was followed by an adult who then shot and killed him. This adult has, to date, faced absolutely no legal consequences for his actions. It’s really hard to blow the injustice of this out of proportion, in my opinion.

      “if there is anything to be learned from this. young teenagers should not be walking the streets alone at anytime..”
      Really? You think that a 17 year old should be accompanied by an adult at *any* time when walking down the street of his neighborhood? A 7 year old, yes, I would agree with you….but a 17 year old? I think that’s silly. A 17 year old can, with parental consent, enlist in the US military and serve our country…but you don’t think he should be able to walk down a neighborhood street unless accompanied by an adult? (although sadly for Trayvon Martin, walking down the street *was* just as hazardous as serving in the military and potentially being sent to war).

      “he was killed by a good somaritan in self defense.”
      Have you read the Parable of The Good Samaritan? I have and I assure you, killing a child doesn’t fit. (nor does pursuing someone with a weapon) It’s a story about a Samaritan helping an injured Jewish person even though they would be considered enemies and would be expected to hate each other. The Samaritan stopped and offered help, even taking the injured man to an inn and paying for his stay. It teaches us to treat all people as our own neighbors. It’s a story about behaving in a loving way toward all God’s children no matter their religion/race/creed. In fact, it’s actually the complete opposite of George Zimmerman’s behavior. To call him a “good Samaritan” is to not understand what a good Samaritan is–either in the biblical context or in the modern context (someone who helps a stranger)

      “he had every right to defend himself”.
      Trayvon Martin was walking along with an ice tea and Skittles and was pursued by an adult with a gun. He must have been terrified. I think Trayvon Martin was well within his rights to defend himself from this armed adult following him.

      “they should investigate the household and make sure any other siblings in house are in good health and nutrition. if anyone is to blame it is the parents fault. and they should be held accountable.”
      The only person who acted recklessly and inappropriately (to put it mildly) was George Zimmerman. Trayvon Martin was doing absolutely nothing wrong, and he was followed, shot, and killed by an armed adult. The person to blame is George Zimmerman, and George Zimmerman alone. *He* should be held accountable. To suggest that Trayvon Martin’s parents should be investigated for neglect because they let a 17 year old walk in the neighborhood at 6 or 7 at night on his way home from the store, is absurd to me. To suggest that they are somehow actually responsible for the violence that was perpetrated against their son is offensive.

      • There is absolutely nothing I could say that has not been already said brilliantly by you Lisa, so I will simply say thank you and DITTO.

    • WHOAH. OK, this one needs responses. Here goes:

      “i still feel this is being blown out of proportion.”
      - Police came to answer several 911 calls, found a man with a gun who acknowledged having just shot dead another person. This killer was not immediately arrested. This is scandalous.

      “theres a few key things that we are forgetting about.”
      - Nothing is forgotten, much as some seem to want it all swept under a rug, again, as in the past with charges being dropped and a violent man being described as ‘squeaky clean’ by his own family.

      “if there is anything to be learned from this. young teenagers should not be walking the streets alone at anytime.”
      - So, were you kept home at all times, when you were 17? Old enough to drive a car, but never out alone? Really???

      “regardless of race parents need to watch there children and have rules in place so that thses things are not even possible to happen.”
      Rules in place such as what exactly?
      My own son is aware not to talk to strangers and to keep walking if someone tries to stop him. He would not ever give out his name, or our address, to a random stranger without a uniform and identification, while he understands how to speak properly to police, firemen or paramedics if ever necessary.

      “much of the original dialogue from the original poster was not factual. not even close.”
      She said, right there, “if you don’t believe me, listen to the 911 calls”. You can also find interviews with witnesses, who made some of those calls, on youtube and were quickly brushed aside by the police on the scene.

      “the facts are that a young tennager was out roaming the streets alone which he should never be allowed to do in the first place.”
      The facts are that a 17 year old (not so young as all that) teenager was walking between a corner store and the house he was visiting, in a gated community, which is absolutely intended to be safe to do.

      “he was killed by a good somaritan in self defense.”
      He was killed by a man with anger issues carrying a gun and stalking people who had called 911 46 times and complained this time about how the people he calls on “always get away” before leaving his car to go after the victim. It cannot be self defense to pursue someone and force a confrontation.

      “he had every right to defend himself. the yound child who was killed should never have been out in the streets alone. the parents should beheld responsinle for neglect. no young teenager should hae to walk to the store or anywhere for something to drink. they should investigate the household and make sure any other siblings in house are in good health and nutrition. if anyone is to blame it is the parents fault. and they should be held accountable.”

      You’re repeating yourself and this is sickening. Give it up.

      You can’t have it both ways – if Trayvon was too young to be outdoors without his parents, he was also too young for a much larger, mature, adult to have no choice but to shoot him in self defense. Which is it?

      • Brilliant Jenn! Thank you for reading and posting this FANTASTIC comment. Between you and Lisa, I think you are have definitely let Stephen in on the truth. Or at least the truth as any reasonable person would see it.

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