It has been several months since a gunman’s bullet cut short the life of young Trayvon Martin. The implications surrounding the incident still reverberate throughout the city of Sanford, Fla., and the rest of the nation as well.
Although many of us share the heartfelt sadness at this occurrence, there is still a certain detachment experienced by those of us who have never felt the stinging pain of the loss of a child. Consequently, as we who are onlookers struggle to make sense of it all, there are those upon whose shoulders rests the full weight of the events of that rainy and fateful night in Sanford.
Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin had this to say in a May 13 Twitter post: “As I send you this message, my heart hurts and my eyes are full of tears for my beloved son Trayvon. Truth is, I am so sad today but I know I must stand for my Trayvon and future Trayvons. Although I am down today, it reminds me of Maya Angelou’s poem ‘Still I Rise’. So hopefully after church and spending time with my Mom and family I will feel better but for now, I am saddened…”
Within this concise message lay volumes that expressed the innermost parts of the soul of this grieving mother. Though her words were few, they stirred something inside of me. Something that moved me in a way unlike anything I have experienced in quite some time.
I looked at the photo of mother and child; a moment forever frozen in time, yet a moment that will be denied again forevermore, and for the briefest of instants, I became Trayvon. I became a young man again; with hopes, dreams, and aspirations. I became a youth sharing the sweet words of romance with the young woman I love. Then suddenly, I was engulfed by a shadow and all was dark.
Afterwards, I was overcome by a deep sadness but from beneath the desolation a revelation of truth emerged. It was a revelation of the true breadth and depth of these events. This is an issue which transcends racial lines and the captious trivialities between political ideologies. This is about the death of an innocent young man and the statute that may allow his accused killer to go free. It is about a situation that could create the paradox of how we freed the one we blame, yet blame the one we freed.
Just as Sybrina Fulton must stand for her Trayvon and future Trayvons, so must we all. We must not only stand up for the memory of Trayvon, but also for the safety of the innocents to come in his wake.
It is apparent now that “Stand Your Ground” in its current incarnation must go. In order to ensure the safety of others the law must be replaced.
Whenever I am faced with something that defies my worldly understanding, I retreat into my place of refuge and seek solace in the words of the Bible. When the unjust seem to prosper while the innocent perish, the Book of Matthew tells me, ” love your enemies,” [because] ” He makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”
Eventually and inevitably the name of Trayvon Martin will fade from the headlines and the collective memories of the public at large. However, it is my sincere hope that the legacy of his passing will not be that of “the kid who was killed in Florida,” but the young man whose death led to the restructuring of the laws of an entire state.