Another Bloody Sunday by Venessa Bowers, LCSW

As I watched the verdict come in on the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, I had hope that regardless of the law in Florida where anyone feeling threatened by someone else can proceed to shoot them, that the jury in the case would find the defendant at least guilty of manslaughter. When the defendant was found not guilty, I was stunned, sickened, and ashamed.

I’ve touched on this case in a previous blog and in it I was attempting to sort out how in Heaven’s name things like this happen. Today, I know how they happen. A culture of fear and inequity in a country claiming to be the leaders of democracy is how this happens. This is not a new concept, yet and tragically, it is a prevailing rule of thumb that a large portion of our citizenry accepts. Hypocrisy abounds. The Civil Rights act of 1964 did not protect a teenage boy, who happened to be black, from being murdered in the street – a State’s law superseded the larger issues of the right to LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Today, many people on social media are calling this verdict a ruling of “open season” on black men. I’m not sure that that is a new concept either because it harkens back to Selma, Mississippi in the 1960s. What is Representative John Lewis feeling today? Perhaps that the beatings he took as a Freedom Rider were in vain. 41 years after the first Bloody Sunday, it appears as though history has repeated itself. 20 years after Rodney King was beaten senseless, we see another case of “justified” injustice.

My questions is this – Where is our collective social conscious? Is there ever a reason that an unarmed human being should be murdered in the street? Is there ever a reason that a family should bury a child because of the actions of another person? Regardless of the race issue here, and I do not minimize that fact at all, the Constitution is supposed to guarantee that another’s rights stop at my face.  We claim to be civilized but are we? We claim to care about the disenfranchised but do we? We elect politicians to protect our rights and freedoms, but do they? Something is amiss here.

And to me, it is all about being “my brother’s keeper.” If I do not care that Trayvon Martin died in the manner in which he did, then by extension I do not care if you die in the same fashion.  However, I do care. And one of the strongest weapons I possess to fight injustice is the words I use to speak about issues such as this. I invite you to do to same.

This nation failed Trayvon Martin. We should be ashamed of ourselves for our silence and acceptance of this verdict. Silence protects no one.

I will be peaceful so that Trayvon can rest in peace. However, I will  not be silent.

Bright Blessings.

bloody sunday

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2 comments so far

  1. Rae on

    Well said! Amen I will be peaceful but not silent! wow

  2. Darlene Boyd on

    I agree wholeheartedly, especially with the statement about being peaceful but not silent. There is more at stake here than meets the eye. There were no winners in this case. A family was forced to daily be reminded of their loss during this ordeal which appears to still not have an ending point for them. The Zimmerman family has also basically lost a son in that he is looking at facing the rest of his life a marked man, much like Cain after the murder of Abel (his reasons may have been different, but the outcome was still the same, death and his life as he knew it has come to an end.
    We may not all agree on what that jury’s decision was but we still have the opportunity to make our memories of this loss count for more than just another catalyst for hatred and division. Instead we as a nation can instead use it as a catalyst of change. Let’s commit to stop doing things the same way expecting different results; let’s stop the insanity and instead honor Trayvons’ short life by seeing more as a lesson of what is not working. We have before us life and death, blessing and cursing; let’s choose life.


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