Trayvon Martin is reaching out to tell us something. After all, now that he has joined the ancestors, God, Allah or whatever you believe in, he is surely smarter than we are; we people who have created a world in which a beautiful boy with a bag of Skittles dies in this manner. So now this boy spirit asks: What are you willing to do?
The question hovering in the air over Florida, over the U.S., over this world is not the small one: Will George Zimmerman go to prison? It is the larger question: “Will we stop hating one another?” Or “Will we do unto others as we will have them do unto us?”
The question may seem so boring when you want to scream because your heart has been ripped wide open. You may think the question produces no action, that I am saying to retreat and pray. I am saying that praying and changing your heart and showing others how to changetheirs is a great action that requires ongoing participation into infinity. The sentiment of doing unto others has been repeated over and over in holy books and sacred writings for centuries because it appears to be a difficult concept to humans and because it has not been answered affirmatively–yet. The sentiment pops up in songs and is rapped and rhymed because new generations recognize that it is a legitimate and worthy state of being, one raised before they were born by Martin Luther King, one that could be answered by a “yes” if that is really what we desire. So consider the opportunity Trayon has given us.
George Zimmerman is Latino. Oh, so now we have to talk about the fact that not only white people are racist or prejudice or believe in stereotypes about black people.
This was a gated community. Oh, so now we have to talk about classism and eliticism and how we come to believe that some people belong in a place while others do not. Or that there is no gate that keeps out hatred, racism, prejudice or all of the other negative energies we feed daily with our thoughts and actions.
This time the story spread by fingers and not by mouth. It was the social media being “social,” being a community, that spread the word of this horror. It was not the traditional media organizations that once deemed what was news and what wasn’t. Now people who had no say-so, who no one would ever call for a quote or sound bite, get to speak first. Now what was long ago community news, kept inside of a neighborhood or on the block–the stories of people killed by hatred and their blood swept under the rug–is out in the open, spread by typing fingers that tweet and blog and post and hit “send.”
This is the world Trayvon Martin grew up in and the world that killed him.
We all create this world. We add to it each day with our thoughts like drops of water in a river. What thought did you add today? Did you send hate to George Zimmerman or the Sanford police? I think the beautiful wise boy who lives in spirit now implores us to think BIG. Yes, take the legal recourses available, see that justice is done, march, protest, shout if you must. But know that real change is greater than these emotions, physical displays and movement.
After the verdicts when there is silence, do something more. If you march and shout and yet your heart is full of hatred or racist attitudes, you do a disservice to the spirit of Trayvon, and to Martin and to the peacemakers before you who have tried to create a very clear yellow brick path for us to follow. The hatred will stop when we (all of us) stop hating.
When I was in D.C., my girlfriend, who is white, moaned the fact that “We have had this conversation a million times,” referring to talks after young black men have been gunned down when an arm wrestling or maybe even a “no” would have sufficed. Or even when there was no reason for a “no.”
“We may have to have it a million more times,” I said. “But this time it is broader–it was a gated community, a boy with Skittles, a Latino gunman and fingers that type and send. This time is different and I thank Trayvon Martin for that.
What are you willing to do?
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