Saturday the 13th of July 2013, George Zimmerman of Sanford, Florida was found
not guilty on all charges in the shooting death of seventeen year old Trayvon
Martin. Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, shot and killed the teenager
in a confrontation that all reasonable analysts agree should have been
shooter Zimmerman was only arrested after the incident received national
attention that resulted in mass protests across major cities in the US against the inaction of the Sanford
police department. His trial generated a national
discussion on the part that race played in this unfortunate incident; and also
on the availability of equal justice in our society.
gathered around the courthouse as the nation awaited the decision of the
sequestered jury. Those gathered ranged from members of the New Black Panther Party
demanding justice for Trayvon, to friends of Zimmerman hoping for his
acquittal. The jury who were all white except for one, found George Zimmerman
not guilty on all charges.
is the morning following this verdict, and emotions run the gamut from elation among
Zimmerman sympathizers; to anger and depression among those who feel the pain
of Trayvon's family. Many anticipated some social upheaval to accompany this
kind of verdict; but except for some incidents in California, the nation has
angst that this event has generated is palpable. Many would like to forget the
role that a history of racial animus has played in how we perceive events like
this, but there can be no mistaking the fact that our responses are conditioned
by this history. Just over a generation ago, apartheid was the operational
dynamic in social and legal happenings in the South. As uncomfortable as some are,
being reminded of this.... It remains a frame of reference in the
interpretation of this type of unfortunate occurrence.
we continue to reflect on this verdict, the events leading up to it, and the
realities that continue to inform the quality of our interpersonal
relationships; let us do so remembering the sacred trust that we must assume
toward each other if we are to build the kind of community that expresses the
equality of all men in the eyes of our Creator.
humbly submit these verses from my book of the same name, “Of Paradise Despised…and
lives that bought into a lie”, as a meaningful aid in our further