A guest post by Greatly.
It has almost been a week since the verdict was returned in the Trayvon Martin case. I am feeling somewhat better and certainly now able to speak coherently about my feelings. I got the verdict from a friend who sent me a text, my television was turned off and remained that way for a few days afterwards.
I went to church on Sunday just as I do every week and it was so strange that the first person I saw as I turned onto Route 206 heading north was a black man and he was walking slowly and looked like he had a Bible in his hand and like he was praying for us all! The next two humans that I saw were also black men. I felt a little better just thinking well they made it here in this country and are even here in Princeton, just living their lives as they should.
When I got to church, in the comfort of my church family I could not hold it anymore, when my pastor stood up to say that we just have to pray for both the Martin and Zimmerman families I knew he was right. He is a black man who has grown up in America and I just started to cry, that heartbreaking cry, that hopeless cry because I just did not feel like I knew where to go from here. What do I tell my students, my son, my daughter about this country that has a justice system that is so unjust. How do I encourage young people to keep fighting the good fight when this verdict is right there for the world to see. Ok so he did not plan to kill Trayvon, he feared for his life from a 17 year old and shot him and there are NO laws on the books that will make what he did wrong. Then why does if feel so wrong in every fiber of my being? It is hard to encourage others when you don’t have any faith yourself. Once I’d let the tears flow, I did feel better but still hurt.
On Monday I was eating my lunch and a co-worker who has a son who just graduated from high school and now works in New York sat to join us. He said that his son mentioned that the traffic around Columbia University was crazy because of protesters of the verdict and he sort of scoffed. I asked why he was laughing and he said that he just could not believe that people all the way up here were even thinking about this case. I must admit that I almost blew a gasket but I simply said “I would hope that if it had been my son who was DEAD that the ENTIRE COUNTRY would protest!” Needless to say that ended the conversation and I got the normal, deading silence in response.
So that’s been what I have been trying so hard to avoid for the rest of the week.
I then read QuestLove’s [drummer for Jimmy Fallonand The Roots] response in New York magazine
, and it helped a great deal to right my wrong, turn my thinking in the direction that is bearable. I’m heading to Atlanta for a week and tomorrow
I will participate in one of the 100 Justice for Trayvon rallies. I am not going to Atlanta for the march, I’m going to be there for a diversity conference next week and since the march will be there too, so will I. I will also be in D.C. next month to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Dr. King’s March on Washington. As we prepare for a new school year, I will have to have my energy up and ready to encourage the next generation, I hope these marches will do the trick to restore my faith in America for people who look like me.
I’m trying to heal.