A few thoughts on Trayvon

For the past few days I’ve been wondering why I’ve been so profoundly affected by the Trayvon Martin/Zimmerman verdict. I mean, awful things happen every day, why does this one seem as though there will be defined “before” and “after” markers of this tragedy in my memory?

Working in the social justice community means you’re constantly enveloped in a deep awareness of injustices on both global and local levels. The benefit: working in this world enables you to come into contact every day with brilliant people who are doing their utmost to enact change in their communities. And, thus far, these have been the people who make the awareness of crushing injustices bearable.

But for the past few days, these voices haven’t helped at all; the marches and protests have left me unaffected. Perhaps it’s the fact that the juror who spoke out did so with an absolutely dire misunderstanding of the world she inhabits; maybe it’s Zimmerman’s long history of child molestation and domestic violence that had gone ignored and considered inadmissable in court; or Zimmerman’s brother’s unapologetic defense of blatant racism and support of others who might be moved to take the same actions; perhaps it’s our broken legal system, so bloated and warped that truth or justice are rarely the desired outcomes; or maybe it’s a fundamental awareness that a large portion of this country looks at issues as if through a fun-house mirror…the image that looks back at them so rarely resembling reality.

It’s so easy to do the right thing. And yet.

Maybe it’s the legendary soul singer Lester Chambers, beaten for dedicating a song to Trayvon, or 6-year old Ahlittia North, her murdered body found this morning in a trashcan in New Orleans, or the week of extraordinary violence that has claimed even more lives in New Orleans during this long, hot summer.

It’s generally deeply uncool to talk about how much one is affected by such things; or seen as thoroughly naïve and silly to ask why. But I’ve had enough.

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