Posts Tagged ‘Justice’

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Churches across America celebrated “Hoodie Sunday” in honor of slain youth, Trayvon Martin. This sign of solidarity was designed to continue to raise awareness regarding the teen’s death and to demand justice for his killing. George Zimmerman, Trayvon’s confessed killer, remains free and has yet to be arrested for his crime. His claim of self-defense is simply indefensible.

Even more troubling is the injustice perpetrated by the local authorities and the ignorance perpetrated by national media members like Geraldo Rivera. Mr. Rivera, in an interview on Fox News (shocker), claimed that Trayvon’s hoodie was as much to blame for his death as Geroge Zimmerman. There is no way that such idiocy and victim-blaming should ever be allowed on national TV!

My response to Mr. Rivera on Twitter was that Trayvon’s hoodie was no more to blame for his death than the chair was to blame that was used to break Mr. Rivera’s nose back when he had his own show and was somewhat relevant. To blame an inanimate object for the death of a child is simply a ploy to absolve responsibility from his real killer and the real reason why he was killed.

So I join with the thousands who have donned hoodies in their online profile pics and will wear their hoodies to church, but as many of my colleagues in the clergy have mentioned we must ensure that this is not simply a sign…but a start. We must start a movement to continually address injustice against people of all color, especially those who cannot speak for themselves. Therefore, if we are going to rep our ‘hoods’ we need to know what the hood represents.

1. A hoodie is designed to COVER.

Lost in all of Mr. Rivera’s blame of the hoodie for Trayvon’s death is the reality that he was wearing it because it was raining! A hoodie is designed to cover and protect from the elements. It covers the head to protect from the sun, the wind, and the rain. Unfortunately, it could not protect Trayvon from the profiling of an overzealous neighborhood watchman who decided to bring a gun to a Skittle fight.

2. A hoodie is designed to CONCEAL.

One normally dons a hoodie when he or she would rather travel under the radar and be incognito. A hoodie says, “I don’t want to be bothered today. I’d rather be left alone.” Unfortunately, Mr. Zimmerman didn’t get Trayvon’s hint. He just wanted to enjoy his Skittles and iced tea in peace. He wasn’t expecting an all out war. Trayvon’s hoodie couldn’t conceal Zimmerman’s bias, and it definitely could not conceal the bigotry that has no doubt played a part in the authorities’ refusal to arrest him.

3. A hoodie is designed for COMFORT.

There are few things more comfortable to throw on when running to the store than a hoodie. The wool just feels good on the skin and the protective hood just feels good covering your head. While Geraldo Rivera claimed hoodies are worn by ‘gangstaz’ he neglected to mention the many athletes, law enforcement officials, celebrities, and law-abiding citizens who wear them everyday. We wear them because they’re comfortable. Unfortunately, Trayvon’s parents can’t take comfort knowing that the man who killed their son for wearing a hood is still free to continue to watch the neighborhood.

That sounds like the work of another group who is famous for walking around The South in hoods.

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A package of Original Fruit Skittles.

Is this worth a child's life?

This blog post actually started as a series of tweets regarding the sheer injustice of the Trayvon Martin saga. However, I quickly realized that 140 characters were not nearly sufficient to capture the depth of feelings I have for this case. I have not been filled with such righteous indignation since the execution of Troy Davis.

Those who have followed this blog for a while know that I haven’t written regularly for some time now. However, this case has brought me out of my blog hibernation! The blogosphere, mainstream media and social networks are already buzzing with details regarding the case so I won’t bore you with details here. My goal is to simply add to the dialogue and share my response as a pastor, father, and young black man in America.

As I stated in an earlier tweet, the sad reality in today’s society is that kids are killed every day. We have become numb to it…almost expecting it. It should not be so, but that is the reality. The reason, I believe, that Trayvon Martin’s death resonates with so many is that, apparently, justice died with him. Whenever a vigilante, posing as a neighborhood watchman, can summarily profile, follow and fatally shoot an unarmed teen…AND NOT BE ARRESTED…there is cause for outrage!

George Zimmerman was told by a police dispatcher NOT to pursue Trayvon Martin, yet he chose to disobey that direct warning. There is no doubt that Zimmerman’s pursuit of Trayvon DIRECTLY led to his death. Simply put, if Zimmerman had not disobeyed the authorities, Trayvon Martin would be alive today. However, as senseless as this death is, the lack of response by the local police makes Zimmerman’s actions seem light in comparison. Zimmerman’s actions led to the death of one child. The Sanford PD’s refusal to arrest Zimmerman has the potential to lead to the death of countless others.

Additionally, the lack of justice in this case (at this point) further deepens the wound of a global community and further victimizes anyone who has ever lost a loved one to violence whose killer has never been brought to justice. Every day that George Zimmerman goes free, that fatal gunshot wound continues to pierce the hearts of Trayvon Martin’s parents and the people who love and support him. Justice must be served!

Mr. Zimmerman (and the Sanford PD) are standing behind Florida’s so-called “Stand Your Ground” law. This law is designed to protect citizens who respond to an imminent threat against themselves or others in an attempt to defend themselves. The fact that this law is being applied in this case would be comical if it were not so egregious. George Zimmerman was CLEARLY the aggressor in this case. He chose to follow Trayvon. He hunted and confronted an unarmed child and killed him in cold blood. His claim of self-defense is utterly ridiculous! Last I checked, Skittles have not been classified as a deadly weapon. What was he afraid of, that Trayvon would make him “taste the rainbow”?

The lack of justice in this case should be felt far beyond the confines of the Black community. This should enrage the HUMAN community. Whatever your color or creed, we must all unite to speak out against this and any injustice. Parents, pastors, politicians, people of faith….we must demand “Justice For Trayvon.” Perhaps someday a child won’t be considered suspicious because he’s walking down the street with his hoodie on…IN THE RAIN. But until that day, we must continue to do as the prophet, Isaiah admonished us. We must “cry aloud, and spare not.”

Cry a little louder…I still don’t think the Sanford PD heard you!