One week ago, George Zimmerman was found 'not guilty' of manslaughter or 2nd degree murder for the shooting death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin on February 26, 2012 in Sanford Florida. For a lot of people the verdict was unbelievable and a painful dart in the heart. Trayvon's death reminded a lot of people of the history of injustice toward African Americans and especially young African American men and boys. The date of this tragedy is significant for me because February 26 is my birthday.
This week I personally reflected on the lives of my nephew, who is in his early twenties, and my two teenage God sons thinking about how I would have advised them to react if a BIG burly-looking guy (of any race) was following them on a dark rainy night in an unfamiliar neighborhood. I would tell them run. But if the man confronts you, you have to defend yourself with all of your might.
In fact, I did have a similar talk with my nephew a few years ago when he had gotten into a serious fight at school that resulted in an arrest. I told him, some people don't have anything to lose. They don't have a future that they are looking forward to. I let him know that he was gifted, talented and loved and that he had a future. And because of these things, he needed to walk away from fools.
Believe it or not, at forty-something, I had to do the same thing a few weeks ago. A lady (she looked like she was a recovering addict) intentionally bumped into me more than once as I walked down the street in broad daylight in Washington, D.C. near Capitol Hill. It appeared to me that she was trying to initiate a confrontation. It did not help that it was as hot as Hades outside and I was not having the best day. Right then, a few scenes containing potential outcomes of what could happen if I engaged this woman based on how I was feeling flashed before my eyes. Those brief flashes helped me, a forty-something adult, understand that my response could change my life as well as the life of this lady forever. I stopped, spoke to her in a stern tone telling her to not touch me again, and then I walked away and lived to write this blog. Sometimes you have to walk away because you have a future and your future is too important to miss.
Just some random thoughts.
I leave you with President Barack Obama's relevant comments from 7/19 on the George Zimmerman verdict.