Shortly after the first speaker began addressing the large crowd gathered at the Richard B. Russell Federal Building in downtown Atlanta, the rain started. As the rally for Trayvon Martin moved forward, the rain got heavier and heavier. But the rain did not deter the crowd in demanding justice for Trayvon. There were so many poignant images in the crowd, including one particular sign. The sign was soaked from the pounding rain. Although the green, gold and silver letters were peeling off the sign, the raindrops decorated the letters of Trayvon’s name like shiny, valuable jewels. Yes, the sign was battered, but the message was still perfectly clear.
Sunday, July 14, 2013
The chairs are lined up perfectly. The grass is freshly cut and beautiful. The decorations are impeccable. It’s time for Trayvon’s wedding. But there’s no Trayvon. There’s no bride. There’s no best man; just rows of empty white chairs on the green grass with no one to fill them.
For Trayvon’s family, there will be no proms, no graduations, and no wedding because a grown man with a gun thought Trayvon was a punk who wasn’t going to get away this time. That grown man followed him and fired a bullet into his chest that brought the teenager’s life to a screeching halt. Does it really matter what happened between the following and the shooting? Does it matter who threw the first punch, or whose screams were on the recording? Trayvon did not create the situation that led to his death (unless buying Skittles and a drink is so punishable). And if he did defend himself, wouldn’t we all have done the same thing if we were being followed on a dark rainy night by an angry silhouette with a gun?
Though the shooter was tragically mistaken, the “good” news was that we could take solace in knowing that the criminal justice system would surely bring Trayvon’s killer to justice, right? WRONG! Instead, the killer’s actions were somehow deemed justified because the situation that he created caused to him “fear” for his own life. I will admit that I did not watch every minute of the trial and I’m not familiar with every piece of evidence. But I don’t have to know all of the evidence to believe that there is something wrong with a system that allowed the killer to walk out of the courthouse a free man.
I can’t say with certainty that Trayvon Martin would have someday put on a Tuxedo with his parents on the front row beaming like parents do at a son’s wedding. But didn’t he deserve the choice? And didn’t his parents deserve more than being tortured by the images of their son’s lifeless body lying in the grass in that Florida subdivision. Instead of front row wedding seats, Trayvon’s parents were presented with prime seats to the Seminole County Courthouse so that the injustice could play out in right front of their eyes. Thank God they were smart enough to pass on those seats when the verdict was rendered.
Saturday, July 13, 2013
We’ve all heard those words at one time or another, right? Check out what happened to me a couple of years ago.
I had gotten a ticket for having window tint that was too dark. Since it was an equipment violation I had to get it removed or replaced before going to court. I went to a local tint shop to get a quote. A nicely-dressed gentleman in his 60’s came out to greet me and gave me what seemed like a pretty reasonable price. I told him I’d probably come back later and get it done. Before I could get in the car he motioned for me to come closer. I hesitantly moved toward him and said he understood if I didn’t want to spend that much. He moved even closer and looked around as if to make sure that no one else was listening, and mumbled under his breath, “I don’t normally do this, after all, I am a pastor, but if you got 20 bucks I’ll give you a receipt so you can tell the judge you got the tint taken out.” I looked him like he was crazy and got the hell out of there.