Monday, July 15, 2013

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Martin Luther King Jr.

We held hands tonight and started - in unison - like we always do when we have the presence of mind to pray before dinner.  "Thank you, God, for this beautiful day."  When it was my turn, I felt full, and I had a difficult time letting the words out.  I looked at my kids, their skin lightly tanned by July.  "Thank you, God... for a mind that thinks critically, and a heart that loves so openly and deeply."

Moments earlier, while I was getting the last bits of dinner ready, Jim asked what was wrong. 

I am sad, and angry, and feeling hopeless and confused.  The state of Florida let a man walk out of a courthouse free, after killing a teenager.

That state, any other state... the union of them all has so, so many broken bones to patch, but it seems no one knows where to start.  Instead of discussing healing and repair, we argue.  We blame victims.  We become afraid to share opinions and ideas because we don't want to own up to our own skeletons,  or ignorance, or fear.  People who make rules don't often want to change them because the rules are working well enough for them.

My friends with skin darker than mine share feelings that their children will perceive their own lives to be less important as people with lighter skin because of the verdict.  I want to discredit those feelings and tell them that they're overgeneralizing.  But they're not.  I know that I have better access to a better life because my genes were programmed to give me light skin.  I know that many of the children in my neighborhood will struggle for things that my children will take for granted.

Earlier today, a friend posted this article on Facebook.  He promptly took a lot of heat from people who didn't realize that the Onion writes satire and that they were not literally suggesting our only recourse to be that the"Nation Throws Hands Up, Tells Black Teenagers To Do Their Best Out There" as the headline reads.  I read it and finished with tears in my eyes.  There is more we can all do, we HAVE to do better.  But... today, yesterday, since the day that the story broke and they didn't arrest Zimmerman immediately... my head and my heart are at a loss. 

Because of my skin color, it would be easier to let this fade to history.  But then I've got that thinking brain and feeling heart that I thanked God for tonight and they won't allow me to let this injustice fade.  Many of my friends and family and peers have similarly natured and nurtured brains and hearts.  We'll keep talking about this story and other like it, even after the headlines are stolen by the next real or media-hyped tragedy.  We'll continue to love and shine light and struggle through the layers of hurt and hard work. 

Because, even though it's hard, it's a hell of a lot better than powerless apathy.  In small corners, in small ways, keep going, friends.

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