Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Remember Trayvon

Several months ago, I was reading a book to children at church. I pointed out the different skin tones of the kids in the book and asked why the children in the picture looked different. One of the children sitting across from me looked at me like I had crawled out from under a log, "Because they're people," he said.

Being "people" means having different skin tones, abilities, hair colors, tendencies, heritage.

It's great that these 3, 4, and 5-year-olds knew that. May they never forget it.

Apparently, some adults have. Or never knew it.

The stories about Trayvon Martin are breaking my heart. A teenage boy, on his way home from a store, shot to death for being people. For being black people.

There may be enough evidence within a few days or weeks to arrest the shooter, based on witness accounts. (Though, if a black man were suspected of shooting a white teenage, someone would already be under arrest.)

Or Florida's "Stand Your Ground" laws may protect the shooter, who claims he was defending himself.

I want to see outrage. I want to hear anger. I want to witness righteous foaming at the mouth on the behalf of Trayvon.

I am called to preach forgiveness, but right now not only would I not give the shooter "air in a jug", I would be likely to beat him with said jug. Remember the presumption of innocence does not mean that someone is actually innocent, just that the court treats them as such.

Then I see a racial slur directed at the president with regard to his re-election: "Don't Re-Nig in 2012". Horrible examples here.

I can't believe I just typed that, but this needs to be called out. I don't care what you like or don't like, you don't say that, print that, wear it, or stick it. Not about the president. Not about anybody.

It's bad in America for black Americans. Bad. Bad. Bad.

If your response to the sentence above is anything less than, "She's right", you're not paying attention.

The first boy I ever kissed was black. M.W. and I were practicing our multiplication tables when we were 8. We dared each other to kiss. It was chaste, dry, and quick. We went on to memorizing the sixes and no further. This is not my credential, it comes to mind when I think of Trayvon.

Trayvon was someone's first kiss. Someone's son. Someone's friend. Someone's confidante. Someone's grandchild. Someone's customer. Someone's future employee. Someone's future employer.

And all that he could have been is no more because of a trigger happy bigot who couldn't see past the color of Trayvon's skin. Which was black.

In the Civil Rights era, one could encourage by offering, "Remember the Little Rock 9", "Think of Rosa Parks", "Don't forget the Birmingham 4", or "Selma".

If we cannot rise to this occasion by an appeal for justice and neighbor love in Sanford, Florida and across the nation, let us cry out for equality in the name of Trayvon. Remember Trayvon.

Put it in your window. Say it in the prayers at your church. Put it in your Facebook status. Email one Florida politician a day until you've gotten to the whole delegation, state and federal. Pray for justice. Pray with your hands, your feet, your dollars, your vote, and, lastly, with your words to God.

If you are not angry enough to speak out for Trayvon, no matter where you live, you cannot delude yourself into thinking that you have been any different than the crowd that will sing "Hosanna" and "Crucify Him" with the same breath.

Yes, I just said that.

If not you, who?

Remember Trayvon. Who died for being black. Who died for being people.


Justin Baker said...

Very moving Julia. It baffles the mind how something like this still goes on. Since the law's inception justifiable homicide has tripled each year since 2005. The NRA was behind this law. A bigot is a bigot but when he can murder a teen carrying skittles and justify it.......

kathrynzj said...

I just read this in staff meeting. Thank you for the prompt, the push and the words.

Martin Eldred said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Martin Eldred said...

A very disturbing, challenging blog. I think you have touch the core of my complacency and desensitization to stories -- no, not "stories" that just keeps them at a safe "somewhere else; someone else" distance -- to abominations such as this. We are called, commanded to be Jesus to other Jesus' in this world. If I am not ****ing pissed off by this, I am not feeling, I am not listening.
Thank you and thanks to the young brother who understands all too well how connected we are.

LoieJ said...

Oh, you brought that too close. ...Actually, my son isn't white. A few years ago , when somebody like him did a very violent thing, he feared that might might generalize and might might feel the burden of that racism. Surprisingly, I've caught him occasionally being racist. I've caught myself in racism at times. However, catching myself means that NO I'm not acting on it.