The verdict in the George Zimmerman trial comes as no surprise to many of us. But the outcome stings no less. My heart hurts for Trayvon's family. And I am fearful of what this verdict represents for those who could twist the string of events -- instigated by Zimmerman, into Trayvon's fault.
A few days ago while speaking with one of my sisters in Miami I asked her what was going on down there. "The Trayvon Martin case." She didn't have to say anything else. Trayvon attended school just a few blocks from my mom's home. I remember driving by the school while in Miami for the holidays and thinking about Trayvon and how his death hit so close to home for so many of us. Trayvon could have been any one of the black boys and men that I know and love.
It's that fear that it could have been one of my brothers, my father, a cousin or uncle.
And it's the fear that a teenager with his whole life ahead of him, doing nothing but being who he was, walking at night in the rain to be with his family that seared a hole in so many of our hearts. And it was the fear that Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin family would never see justice for their son that sparked a justifiable outrage.
We wanted justice for Trayvon because he was entitled to it. When a life is taken in what was clearly a preventable occurrence, we ask questions. We demand answers. We expect accountability.
We wanted justice for Trayvon because we realized the horrendous weight of the events that transpired in Sanford. The fear that there would be more George Zimmermans, embolden by the gun on their hip and the law on their side.
Trayvon was Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin's son. He is also all of our sons. Trayvon became a symbol for all our fears and the untold black men and women whose blackness has subjected them to an unwarranted presumption of guilt, or worse.
If we didn't do something, say something, there would be more Trayvons.
Zimmerman is also a symbolic of a gun-happy hot-head so blinded by racial animus that he'd take an innocent life.
Sanford police confirmed what we already knew. Institutional racism would let Zimmerman walk away, presumed innocent and justified in taking a black life.
Zimmerman's actions and last night's verdict has revealed so much what lies underneath the façade of racial progress. But that's how racism operates. It often appears in those moments when it seems like we're all just getting along or going about our daily lives. Then someone says something, gives you that look, or does the unthinkable and pulls a trigger and jolts us back to reality.
There are more George Zimmermans.
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