Monday, July 15, 2013

My thoughts on the Zimmerman Trial

So the Zimmerman trial verdict came down on Saturday.  If you are not living under a rock you know that George Zimmerman was found not guilty of committing second degree murder and not guilty of manslaughter.  I knew that I wanted to write about this topic, but I wanted to give it some time to gather my thoughts.  Here they are...

  1. Everyone suddenly thinks that they are legal scholars.  I will tell you one thing I have plenty of student loan debt which I can barely pay to prove that I went to law school.  Just because you watch/listen to a case for a few weeks does not mean that you have the knowledge to make a legal opinion.
  2. There a lot of people out there who have internet balls.  Meaning, they can hide behind a screen name on the internet and say the most vile things that they want but would turn around and smile in your face if you saw them in public.  Please don't waste your time with them, it isn't worth it.
  3. Think back a year and a half ago when this crime took place.  Do you remember how originally the State's Attorney's office did not want to prosecute the case, but after protests they decided to file charges.  The legal system is designed to convict people beyond a reasonable doubt.  The prosecution did not meet their burden of proof and thus a guilty verdict could not be rendered.  If you look at the basics of the case it was really a he said/he said scenario, but unfortunately Trayvon Martin did not get to tell his own side.  I think I can speak for most of my attorney friends when we say that we were not surprised by the verdict.
  4. Between the Paul Deen scandal and Zimmerman I really never want to hear the word racist.  Racist is a very divisive term.  Everyone uses it interchangeably with the prejudice.  Instead of using the word racist or racism let's focus on the root of the problem.
  5. You don't have to be black to care about what happened to Trayvon.
  6. People think that we have a black President and that everything is ok in the world.  More and more we are reminded that while we have come a long way we still have a long way to go.  Issues of race have been constructed over hundreds of years and it will take hundreds of years to fix them. 
  7. I am about to take a very unpopular stance...I am tired of protests and marches.  I understand the sentimental value.  I know that it is a partially a way of honoring Trayvon.  I also know that it is a way of bringing people together to express their frustrations not just with the legal system but the constructs of society.  But in the end we can have a million marches and the same injustice will happen over and over again.  Let's move beyond the anger and beyond the marches and really accomplish something.  Sure we can change the gun laws, we can even repeal the "stand your ground law", but is that going to make the real difference?  If we really want to honor Trayvon we need millions of little discussions around the country, around the world.  Instead of hiding from people that don't look like us, talk like us, or didn't grow up the same way we need to have a dialogue about our differences and are similarities.  The only way we can start to heal and change the climate of this country is by dealing with our own prejudices.  And yes black, white, Asian, and Latino we all have prejudices.  Once we really admit that and work towards elimination that is how we can truly have justice for Trayvon.
  8. I will end with this point.  Before I started this post I received an email from my Pastor David Anderson.  I skimmed it quickly, but the part that stood out to me the most was to "practice Gracism not racism".  I may be unhappy with the results of the trial and with the state of our country right now.  But one way I know that I can rise above this and continue to effect change is by practicing gracism and continuing to love others because Jesus loved me.  You don't have to be Christian to show grace, love, and respect for others.  Let us be the examples for others to follow.


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