We knew the verdict was coming; still, the reality of it was a punch in the gut for millions of Americans who hoped that George Zimmerman's killing the unarmed Trayvon Martin would end with conviction. What is to be done?
The Zimmerman verdict was not only about race, but is race still an issue in America? As Martin Luther King, Jr. once claimed, Sunday morning continues to be the most segregated hour of the week. Race is absolutely an issue. White privilege continues to be a reality.
Zimmerman got several benefits in his trial from the jurors. One was that he was innocent. The other was that the prosecution did not prove its case. But the biggest benefit was that even when juror B29 thought he was guilty and should have been convicted she still voted to acquit.
The president is right when he says we need a national dialogue on race. But there are two races we need to talk about. We need to talk about racism and injustice. But also need to vote in every race and take each race seriously at every level.
On Friday, President Obama challenged the nation to "do some soul-searching" in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin. I am a well-meaning white person. I am married to a beautiful black woman from South Africa. But for all my bona fides in brotherly love, I regularly fail to meet the president's test.
Obama didn't speak solely because he felt obliged to make a generic observation about the anger of most blacks toward the Zimmerman verdict, or even out of remembrance of the fight he led in the Illinois state legislature. He spoke from a well-documented personal experience.
"Few are guilty, but all are responsible" is not a principle that can be applied in a court of law. However, without a recognition of this prophetic call, much of the greater aspirations of our country remain out of reach.
The courtroom is just one way of achieving the pledge to "establish Justice" in the Constitution's Preamble. What Zimmerman got in the Florida trial was procedural justice. But legal procedure is not and should not be the only way a society strives for justice.
George Zimmerman trial juror b37 flatly said that there was no doubt that Zimmerman feared for his life when he killed Trayvon Martin. When she said that, she reconfirmed two deep and troubling facts about the Zimmerman trial and the criminal justice system.
I entreat you, as a mother and as an American. Do not let Trayvon Martin die in vain. Make your voices heard. "Be the change you want to see in the world" armed with Facebook, iPhones, Twitter and YouTube... there has never been a time of greater personal empowerment than now!
Many Americans -- lots more whites than blacks, I am sure -- do not believe the verdict in the Zimmerman trial was just the latest example of the biases against young black males of a racist, oppressive criminal justice system that continues to grow.