Ladies of the Jury
Imagine for a moment that you, your son or daughter, sister or brother, granddaughter or grandson, ventured to the corner store for some candy and something to drink but never returned? Can you imagine if you left the house and didn’t return to watch the second half of the NBA All-Star game? Can you imagine if you, your child, your loved one, your flesh and blood were presumed to be guilty as he walked home? Thought to be a suspect, a punk, a fucking asshole? Can you imagine if you, your child, your loved one, your flesh and blood was thought to be a criminal, thought to be on drugs, thought to be up to no good just because of how she looked, what clothes she was wearing, and because of the color of her skin? Can you imagine if your child was gunned down right around the corner from your house and the police didn’t notify you right away?
Can you even imagine the police letting the perpetrator go or the news media remaining silent? What would it mean to you if the media sat idly by, that the police show limited concern, and the nation seem unaware or not concerned about the fate of your child? Can you imagine the pain and the hurt not just of losing a child but watching a media, a justice system, and a nation fail to act?
Can you even fathom listening to people put your child, who no longer walks the earth, on trial? Drug tests? Fights? Pictures of his muscles, all to paint him as a “thug” or a “gangsta?” Can you imagine the news media demonizing your child, blaming your child for his own death? Can you imagine the focus turning to your parental choices, your child’s friends, your background?
What if a defense attorney asked you to think about your child being responsible for their own death even though someone else shot them? How would that make you feel? Can you even comprehend someone saying that to you?
Maybe you cannot imagine these things; maybe your whiteness, your privileges, your experiences make this difficult for you to fathom. That is no reason to deny his family justice.
The defendant assumed Trayvon didn’t belong in neighborhood; he assumed Trayvon was up to no good; he assumed Trayvon was a criminal. And race matters in every regard. The question before you is will race matter in our pursuit of justice? Will it matter as you think about Trayvon’s life; his lost future; his parent’s anguish? Look at them, they are in the courtroom; can you imagine?
He had the right to walk to the store; he had a right to walk home; he had the right to defend himself; he had the right to LIFE and the pursuit of happiness; he had the right to go on to college, to live his life, to fulfill his dreams.
His parents should not be here right now; they shouldn’t have shed so many tears, lost so many nights of sleep because another man assumed their son to be a criminal. His parents should have seen their child graduate last year; they should have been able to spend dinners talking; they should be hugging their child right now. George Zimmerman took that all away. Give them solace; give them justice; give us all hope and belief in “equal justice under the law,” because sadly, we cannot give them Trayvon back. We can, however, give them justice. We must demand justice, because every life is worth protecting; every life is worth mourning.
Yes, I want you to think about the evidence, but more I want you feel; I want you to think the pain, feel the injustice, feel the anguish. Yes, the law matters, but decisions must be guided my morality and justice; it must account for the lost life; the pain and suffering. Justice is about the law, right and wrong, our moral sense and values. Henry David Thoreau reminds if this when he said, “Justice is sweet and musical; but injustice is harsh and discordant.”
I have a dream that one day youth of color can walk to store without being profiled. I have a dream that one youth of color will not seen as suspect, not seen as criminal, not confronted, and not shot dead just feet from their parents home. I have a dream that justice will be equal; I hope that you will make the right decision and at least fulfill the promise of justice in this case. One step forward; toward moving beyond dreams, hopes, and possibilities, to see justice secured and achieved. #JusticeforTrayvon #Justice