I struggled with writing this post; but I had to speak out after the Travon Martin trial.
A young military wife, in 1963, with two toddlers, sitting in our cramped living room, watching the March on Washington, listening to Dr. Martin Luther King’s speech; and, realizing, his dream was the “dream” I wanted for my son and daughter.
“I HAVE A DREAM that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true
meaning of its creed: We hold these truths to be self-evident,
that all mean are created equal.
I HAVE A DREAM that my four little children will one day live in a
nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by
the content of their character.”
Back then, I was hopeful and optimistic that a change was gonna come. Today, fifty years later, I am disappointed and pessimistic wondering how long is it gonna take.”
I am sick and tired of being sick and tired — of the racial injustices where people continue to be Judged by the Color of their Skin.”
I lived in FEAR throughout most of my teenage years. Though, only 13-years-old, even today, I vividly recall the murder of Emmett Till on August 28, 1955. He was a 14-year-old African-American male, from Chicago, visiting his grandfather in Mississippi. Two white men decided to end Emmett’s life. Why, because he either, whistled at, flirted with, or touched the hands, of a white cashier at a grocery store.
Brutally beaten, mutilated, shot in the head; his young body was tied up with barbed wired and dumped in the river. Despite overwhelming evidence, on September 23, 1955 his two assailants were acquitted. The Jim Crow Laws allowed Emmett to be “Judged by the Color His Skin.”
With the exception of gender, Emmett’s life pretty much mirrored mine. I, too, lived in Chicago and visited my grandparents in Mississippi every summer. During those visits, they schooled me on what was acceptable behavior for a young black girl in Mississippi. On the first day of my visit, they reminded me to “say yes mam, no mam, look down, speak quietly, never question or talk back to white folks. They don’t play here you ain’t in Chicago.”
On February 26, 2011, this seventeen-year-old boy was shot and killed at about 7:00 p.m. while walking home on a rainy night in the gated community where he was visiting his father. Killed because “HE WAS JUDGED BY THE COLOR OF HIS SKIN,” Mr. Zimmerman assumed an African-American male teenager, wearing a hoodie was a thug; and, therefore, a threat to him and others who lived in this gated community.
Loud voices cried out for justice and after some 45 days he was finally charged. A jury trial resulted in a Not Guilty verdict. Under Florida’s Stand Your Ground Law, Mr. Zimmerman had the right to shoot rather than retreat.
As the grandmother of three young African American males, ranging in age from 13-24, I identify with what happened to Travon. Living in a gated community, about 20 miles from where Travon was killed, we now have “safety guidelines” for our three grandsons to follow when they visit. I am frustrated that my grandchildren are forced to deal with the FEAR of DEATH because someone
- Chooses to Judge by the Color of Skin; and
- Understands the protection afforded under the Stand Your Ground Laws.
Like Jim Crow, Stand Your Ground Must Go
“I am sick and tired of being sick and tired”