For Trayvon


Today I’m not going to shoot anyone for being different from me. I know it’s not much, but it’s a start. And I have to say, for the most part, I’ve been pretty successful in not allowing myself to get immersed in the Zimmerman trial. I know myself well enough by now to know that my using a tragic event like this to fuel my own fear and rage does not take me to a place of being where I must be to actually do something about the things I perceived to be injustices in this world. I never want to go so far as to live a life uninformed, but diving in to what amount to online bar brawls along what are becoming increasingly predictable battle lines is just not how I want to live my life.

Don’t get me wrong; fear and rage do have their place and at one time were all that got me off my ass and into the streets. But there’s a point where it becomes self-destructive– and that point comes a lot earlier than I once thought it did. Especially for those of us who are part of a historically persecuted group, when we see someone else suffer (or even die) who is a part of a historically persecuted group, it’s touches something very primal, very instinctual that gets ignited. Deep inside I know that, beyond my abhorrence of racism, there are other things at play. Trayvon and I are on the same side of that line marked “other” and across that line from the Zimmermans of the world who seem to be hell-bent on arming themselves to the teeth to gun us down in our own streets. “Gay” clothes and a feminine affect are as threatening to that crowd as a hoodie and Skittles.

I’ll admit there is something in me that wants Zimmerman dead and that’s where my prayer work lies. There is something in me that says he’s killed one of the young of my tribe and this must not go unpunished. But that hate-fueled cancer is unappeasable and I know from what I have seen in my life that the cycle of violence is never, ever stopped with violence–maybe paused but never stopped.

Zimmerman did not go “free.” Even if he was not looking at a life of always having to look over his shoulder as I believe he now is, even if civil litigation or actions by the Justice Department exact no punishment, there is a personal prison created by having acted based on such a soul-killing modus operandi. For as much as the Zimmerman supporters go on and on about “freedom,” from where I sit, unless there is a spiritual healing there, they/he will never know true freedom and in truth they never were truly free. True freedom comes when we loose the shackles of hate from our hearts with the keys of Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness. This is true of all of us, no matter on what side of any debate we may stand.

Today, I’m going to try and understand someone’s point of view that is different from my own. I’m going to try to find some similarities with someone who looks different from me, prays different from me, votes different from me or wears different clothes.

Today, I’m not going to shoot anyone for being different from me. It’s not much, but it’s a start.


About this entry