The verdict of the George Zimmerman vs. Trayvon Martin case has shaken our country to the core. Zimmerman was found not guilty of killing 17-year-old Trayvon on two counts, second degree murder and manslaughter. Period. End. Of. Sentence. Pun fiercely intended. Our judicial system, once again, lost immense credibility in the eyes of people of color and those who stand in the belief that the system systematically and disproportionately sides with the esoteric world of privileged and white Americans.
This verdict has created a national conversation on race and racial profiling. A conversation that has been argued was not permitted in the courtroom by the judge. Unfortunately, the laws of the courtroom do not apply to the highest court (though with no legal ramifications) of public opinion. Nonetheless, whether this case is being seen through a racial lens or a right versus wrong one, in the context of the legal system this verdict shook awakened feelings in many of us that seem inconsolable. Because at the end of yet another day, a young -- another -- young unarmed man of color died too soon and the grieving family, at minimum, were not able to bask in the spirit of justice.
Since the controversial verdict, social media has been ablaze and has served as the virtual ear for both the American and international community. The emotional undertones of the conversations have been of disgust, frustration, shock, fear and largely, anger. Anger at the judicial system, the jury -- most of whom were mothers, the judge for not allowing key evidence to be presented, the defense team, the prosecution team, at the universe. Also, sheer anger at ourselves as well for feeling shook and believing that this case was going to be ruled any other way because, well by now, we thought that the pulse of our nation should know and justly deliver better, and as is always stated, particularly during the second term of the election of a black president. Which seemingly doesn't really mean diddly.
Clearly, I too am upset and often in conversation am at a loss for words and just shake my head to display my sentiments. I too approach my thoughts and feelings with indifference, meteoric highs and deafening lows. The thread is that our current experience revolves around loss -- loss of life and crippling injustice which with it carries sentiments of invisibility for people of color and the feelings embedded in the notion that I don't have rights and don't exist at all. I don't know which is worse. I do believe, however, that as Americans at the core of our feelings and thoughts lies grief and loss. Grief towards a young life lost and the continued loss of faith in our legal system. And with grief and loss there are many different stages and emotions surrounding them such as denial, anger, acceptance and a plethora of all too familiar politically charged, emotionally swollen soliloquies.
We are all in different stages and levels in processing this verdict and naming our individual raw and clandestine thoughts and emotions associated with the decision. One way to begin addressing them is to acknowledge, own and honor them and where you are at in your process of making sense of what happened. Although you can't change the verdict you still have the power to be at choice over your actions and reactions towards this numbing decision that has rocked the soul of our beings and our nation. Because of this, it is important to focus on issues of self-care that can help in the facilitation of coping with your individual needs as it relates to how you will be "showing up" in your life during the coming weeks, possibly months and beyond. Similarly, we must exercise strategies that bring us peace and honor Trayvon Martin's memory. While a tall order, our approach must undoubtedly recognize our personal values while aligning them with the families' faith based, God-fearing and releasing edict. I firmly believe that this is a time of reflection, collectively and individually. We must reconsider our purpose and honor our truths. I dare greatly and suggest that honoring someone, in this instance honoring Trayvon, has a strong correlation with how you honor yourself.
There is a power behind simplicity. We can begin our process by strategically honoring Trayvon's memory. We can pray, meditate, listen, communicate, engage our youth, volunteer, and exercise. We can make a commitment to be generous, kind and fearlessly live in the moment. We can rededicate ourselves to living authentically and strategically, purposefully.
While we all want Trayvon to rest in peace, my intuition tells me that he wants us to live our lives peacefully, colorfully even, but not silently.