Unable to concentrate on my writing, I search for a way to cope with black reality and to go on after the stunning verdict in the Zimmerman trial.
As hot as it was Saturday, I dropped by my local salon to get a much needed haircut. While I was waiting, in walked a young man who looked to be maybe 23-years-old. This young man was well-dressed and wearing a hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up exposing only his face— a white face.
The young man was obviously wearing the hoodie in support of Trayvon Martin— I smiled. I smiled because it gave me hope that the jury would serve up justice for Trayvon’s death. Hope that things might be different this time and that the legal system would work fairly for Trayvon as it had failed so many people of color in the past.
That was not to be.
Saturday night the verdict came in: Not Guilty. I could not believe my ears and waited to hear it again. Not Guilty. There was no mistake. Not Guilty.
For a Not Guilty verdict I had no words— only questions.
I thought it was a slam-dunk, what went wrong?
How does a teenager go at half-time to get a drink and candy and wind up dead with a bullet in his chest?
Why would Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch guy with Adam-12 syndrome, choose to ignore a police command not to follow Trayvon?
Did Zimmerman announce himself to Trayvon that he was on security patrol? What was said?
How did everything get so out-of-control?
The facts seem evident, how could jurors decide in favor of Zimmerman?
With Trayvon in the gated community legally, shouldn’t he expect to be safe?
With the Stand Your Ground law, what should we do to change it?
What should I say to my children?
What could I possibly say to my black friends?
By Sunday afternoon I was in tears, unable to write because I can think of nothing besides Trayvon— and his parents— and what it must feel like to be black in America.
Disbelief is the order of the day; I will go through the motions and do what needs to be done and think. I expected so much more from the trial.
Looking for something to hold onto that is positive has been difficult for me but my thoughts go back to the young man in the salon wearing a hoodie in support of Trayvon. That is the image I decided to cling to as I go about my day. As if on cue I began to see other images online and on the television of people in the streets with arms outstretched and signs held high— there are as many white arms and faces as black, all protesting peacefully.
With all my disappointment— I have hope.
Jackie Saulmon Ramirez has served as a volunteer with Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey, Inc. for more than twenty years, giving and getting support. Find her at her contact page.