Sunday, 14 July 2013

Trayvon Martin: Us People have to do better.

So what do I do, now?
George Zimmerman has been acquitted.

A man who, unprovoked, followed a young black man in a hoodie… just followed him because he didn't feel that he “belonged”.
A man who ignored the police direction to stay in his car.
A man who referred to this young man, Trayvon Martin, as “they”…("They always get away")
A man who used a gun to shoot and kill a young man who was armed with no more than a bag of Skittles.
A man who’s description of events seemed to change with successive interviews.
A man who I feel strongly should have been convicted of murder, or at the very least manslaughter.

He’s gone home to his family.  (They always get away)

What am I supposed to do with that?
How do I respond to the rotting sickness that I feel deep inside?
How do I channel that anger that boils up?
How do I handle the tears that just want to flow and flow from my eyes?

Is it possible that the jury heard and saw things that I don’t appreciate and that I would have come up with the same verdict had I been part of the trial?  Yes, I suppose that it is.

Is it possible that the jury’s verdict was just another example of pervasive systemic racism in Florida?  Yes, I suppose that it is.
Is it possible that this systemic racism isn't limited to the state of Florida or even the U.S.? 
Yes, I damn well know that it is...

So, what do I do with this anger that I feel?
How do I express my deep, deep, bitter grief over the loss of a young life and this corrosion, erosion, and implosion of humanity?

I pray.
I pray to God for Trayvon and his family.
I pray to God for every young black man who goes for a walk outside of his neighbourhood.
I pray to God in shame and remorse for what we have done with God’s glorious creation: Humanity - our small mindedness, our tribalism and our trading our ability to love for on a promise to keep "them" out of our neighbourhoods.

And then, I make damn sure that I never refer to anyone as "They" or “Them”.
Not Young Black Men
Not Hispanic Women.
Not Asians.
Not Old People.
Not Kids.
Not Muslims.
Not Jews.
Not Buddhists.
No Atheists. 
Not Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgendered, Transsexual, Queer or Two-Spirited people.
Not Teachers.
Not Workers.
Not Liberals.
Not Conservatives.
Not Dreamers.
Not Idiots.
Not Drug Addicts.
Not Victims.
Not Cops.
Not Criminals.
Not Feminists.
Not Progressives.
Not People with Aids.
Not People Who's ideas piss me off.
Not ... Not... Not....  

No more “THEM”….   I need to talk about “US”.  I need my words and my actions to reflect an attitude and inspire a world where we are, together, brothers and sisters… a time and place where we are one… when this "Kingdom of God" that Jesus talks about really is at hand... where we take seriously, Jesus' example of reaching out and connecting with the margins, the untouchables, the "NOT the Sames".... where my first reaction to seeing a stranger in my neighbourhood is to offer him shelter in the rain, the help that needs, and a safe way to his destination... 
    because that’s how “Us” people treat one another.

I know that it won't be easy... I've got a few people that I like to keep out... that's why I need to pray, because I can't do it alone.   But I will pray... I will try.

God, forgive us… and help us change. 


  1. Amen to all of it but especially the last line.

  2. Thank you! Those are my sentiments.

  3. The hard part is not for me, I don't think I am one of anybody's "them". But I pray for all the young black men who feel threatened by this ruling. I pray for all the Muslims who still feel threatened by the repercussions of 9/11 in American society. I pray for all the Americans who own guns, that they start to identify with the dead victims. And I pray that I can someday stop identifying others by their negative traits, and only see the glimmer of Christ in everyone.

  4. I couldn't have expressed my feelings that well....does justice mean something else to Canadians?

  5. What about praying for George your enemies

  6. Absolutley... I don't think that I ever suggested that he should be left out of our prayers, I have been praying for him throughout. It may sound strange, but my prayers have not been offered because he is an "enemy" - but because, he too, is one of "US" and we all need some grace, encouragement, hope and love. That is the challenge of confronting systemic injustice - not finding a single scapegoat and blaming him/her for the injustice, but recognizing that there is a deeper fundamental problem (or problems) that need to be addressed.

  7. Why is it you cannot accept a jury's verdict. You are actually being racist when you conclude that a white all female jury could not take the facts laid out in a trial and apply the law properly. You are susceptable to a news system that wishes to create racial tension,who was even caught editing a 911 call of Mr Zimmerman to appear to be profiling Mr Martin. The law is to be applied equally without prejudice. Mr Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch man doing his job following someone whom he felt looked suspicous. If Mr Martin had not tried to beat the crap out of Mr Zimmerman MMA style he would likely be alive and well today. Race is not the issue, the issue is the lack of respect in general for other human beings, the lack of Christianity in the lives of many. If Mr Martin was taught how to act properly he would never have assaulted Mr Zimmerman. I am a Christian If I was walking in a neighborhood and someone was profiling me, or wanted to ask me questions I would not get offended about it and start a fight. To let this case become a huge racial issue is more political then anything. There are a ton of cases involving unbelievably horrendous crimes of Mexicans on Blacks, Blacks on Whites, and Blacks on Blacks that never get this much attention. There is just too much crime making too many people paranoid and the statistics do not lie about who is committing them.

  8. I hear and I think, appreciate, your frustration. As I said in the blog, it is entirely possible that I would would have agreed with the jury, had I been on it and had the same evidence revealed to me. I followed the case fairly closely, using a variety of sources and I was not satisfied with the verdict - but I might be wrong and I accept that. I make no issue of the make up of the jury. My larger issue is with the US/THEM WE/THEY divide, which is distinctly un-Christian, if Jesus is any authority to go by. Jesus regularly broke down the us/them divide, by eating with sinners, speaking with women, engaging with Samaritans, etc. When Jesus asks us who is our neighbour, I believe that it is a challenge for us to open our minds, our eyes and our hearts and recognize the stranger as neighbour. When meeting a stranger we have two options: To be Hospitable or Hostile - Mr. Zimmerman chose hostile. Jesus would have made another choice. Most of us do that same thing from time to time, dividing by race, politics, age, whatever... and we have to do better. That was point - and I'm sorry if that was not clear.