My heart goes out to the mother and family of Trayvon Martin. I too am a mother who has lost a child to gun violence. All violence against young people is unacceptable! They should be allowed to grow up, and allowed to make mistakes. There is no distinction in murder and violence. I can’t tell the difference between police killings, neighborhood watch killings, and the killing of our selves.
In the wake of this tragedy we have to be careful not to allow anger to take root, grow, and guide our decisions. All over the country people are angry and demanding justice for Trayvon Martin. We must recognize, that anger only agitates and incites. It cannot squelch or satisfy the hunger for justice.
Trayvon’s life was taken far too soon. It is not Trayvon’s fault that he was murdered. The individual responsible for taking this precious life chose to put his finger in the trigger housing of a weapon and exert a small amount of pressure rather than make a decision other than violence. All change begins with the choices we make. It is imperative, that we as a community make better choices that benefit the whole, not just the individual parts.
Justice will not come in the form of a mob. Justice will be felt when every mother knows that her child is safe walking the streets of America. Justice for the Martin family is in the honest explanation of what happened to their beloved Trayvon. Real justice in the streets is changing our behavior and making better choices in our everyday lives.
What’s behind us, beside us, and in front of us is serious. We have to do more than commit to a rally or a one-time event. Young people are in danger every single day! Each day and night they go to school, or go to the store, even when they go down the street to a home in their own neighborhood, they are in danger. We should not wait for another senseless killing to make the national news before we decide to stand up and pay attention. We should never be quiet. We must never be quiet when it is safe! We shouldn’t act like one killing is worse than the other. Don’t act like what happened in Sanford doesn’t happen anywhere else. This is happening all over the world. We see it in Sudan, we see it in the Congo, and we see it on the street corners of America!
Let this tragedy motivate us to be more involved and make better decisions in our own communities. That’s what the residents of Sanford, Florida are going to have to do. They are going to have to lift up that young boy’s life and do something positive with this tragedy.
It is our responsibility to find out what we can do for our own respective neighborhoods. We must make the decision that time spent involved in school meetings, community development planning groups, neighborhood programs, and local elections are vital.
We can’t do this from a place of anger. That’s why we must efface anger and commit to a mutual concern and compassion for each other. I’m talking about a human concern and a human compassion for one another that transcends race, class, gender, and age. We cannot go anywhere with anger that we haven’t already been. Anger is an all-consuming fire that will burn you and everyone else around you. Where is the justice in that? As enraging and deplorable as this tragedy is, we must think of ways to make a difference without being mad and brainsick. We have to teach our young people a better way; a more sustained way. We have to be better examples for our children.
My only son was murdered. Out of respect for him, and what he accomplished in his short 25 years on this earth, I could not allow myself to be angry. Instead, we built a center for young people. We planted a garden for peace and started working with youth on conflict resolution, leadership, and safe and creative expression. Think of the least thing you can do that will benefit your community. Start as small as a mustard seed if you have to. I guarantee that the seed you plant in love, no matter how small, will grow into a mighty tree of refuge!
We all want a future for ourselves. We must now care enough to create, nurture, and secure a future for our children. What we do now, matters forever.