Justice HAS been done….

Whoa, wait a minute there, black man, surely you can’t be talking about #Trayvon, can you? How can you call an unarmed minor getting gunned down and the perp going free “justice”?

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Yes, #Trayvon. My heart goes out in anguish. I get it. I live it in the most existential way. 

Then I remember what my best lawyer friend told me: “the court system has nothing to do with justice.”

Zimmerman had top criminal defense minds working for him–he didn’t hire them to seek a blind, impartial ideal called Justice–he hired them to find a legal way to get him off. And they did. When I take the generations of abuses against black people off the table for just a second, I realize something: If Zimmerman was my son or my brother, I’d admittedly be dancing in the streets tonight. Not for Justice, but just because my loved one was not just taken away for 30 to life.

So whether or not Zimmerman does any time has nothing to do with the Universal arc of Justice, it’s still as real as it’s always been. Frankly, lusting to see Zimmerman rot in prison is so Old Testament. My integrity wouldn’t let me fight for reforms to a broken prison system with one hand and shout for Zimmerman to be destroyed at SuperMax with the other. Is there any quarter to forgive George Zimmerman, tough though it may be? Aren’t he and I distant cousins under the same sun?

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The question is, what can I do about it anyway? The gavel has banged. I can cry #nojusticefortrayvon, make my status all black everything– I could even attend a community forum where we all talk about this very real national outrage and say things like “we need a game plan, we need to come together! Yeah!”

 I think about today, 7/13/13…Zimmerman was acquitted, William Gray was funeralized in Philly– students of black history find a notable historical coincidence there. It’s fascinating as we keep striving….

But in that Malachi 6 sense of doing justice, what am I going to do?

Closer to home, a 17 year old black kid stole something from the church this morning, we caught up to him this afternoon. My gut reaction is not to punish, but to pull him in even closer in a spirit of mentoring. Good kid, smart, handsome, shy-but-not-too-shy, in a stable two-parent home, part of the church community–and he’s simultaneously doing dumb ish. He is in fact doing the kinds of things that can get a young black man shot in the wrong subdivision of this great nation.

I know that from wisdom and experience, and I have to help him learn it before he learns the hard way, because one way or another, we all learn. In just the couple hours since this verdict, I literally see my community differently and my responsibility differently. If I (we) can take this feeling and really give all I have to heal the community, I guarantee justice has been done.

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3 thoughts on “Justice HAS been done….

  1. Very much agree defense did their job in which they were hire for, and the Zimmerman family has every right to relish the thought of their son not going to jail. But what in the world your story of a young man stealing a cell phone has to do with this case?? You do what you need to do for your community, but I am sure Travyon Martin’s mother would find no comfort in this reading. It’s great that you want to “help your community”, but to link your experience with the young man mistake of the theft of a cell phone, to this case is the same assumptions, young black male must face, and “society” than places labels on a whole.

    And I wonder how does that “young man” who stole the cell phone feels knowing you used him as an example in “what you’re going to do”. Don’t shout it on the corner, just do what you need to do…

  2. Thanks for reading, Steve.

    The two events tie closely together for me. Not sure about Trayvon’s actions that day as there are at least 4 different stories I’ve heard. The fact is, black boys in certain places don’t have to do anything wrong to get arrested or killed, and most of them don’t know how much imminent danger they’re in.

    I wouldn’t publicize the kid’s name or picture, but I love him like a son. He owned up to what he did, it’s not a secret. It matters because one of his compatriots was shot like a dog for less than what this kid did local to me. What I’m going to do is work harder to mentor guys like him–I feel more led than ever to do this work as a result of the verdict. It means something to most of us, that’s what it means to me. I hope others have found some meaning in the madness and will get to work as well.

    What do you need to do for your community?

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