Trayvon…I have nothing new or profound to say, only…

15 Jul

Yesterday morning I walked down my driveway to pick up my newspaper, as I do every morning. I relish reading my Sunday New York Times while drinking my flat white Espresso. As I walked back to my house, I took the Times out of it’s plastic bag and searched for the headline: George Zimmerman acquitted of all charges.

Something inside me felt crushed and heavy and sick. I practically dropped to my knees on the asphalt. I gasped like so many of you, and held my fist to my mouth.

Inside my house, everyone was asleep. I read the story and then I did something I hardly ever do. I went on Facebook. I went to the newsfeed and read everything I could. I spent more time on Facebook yesterday, about three hours, than I’d ever spent in my life, but I needed to commune. I needed to vent, to talk, to listen.

I needed to look for answers, although I know there were none, are none.

The first thing I posted and tweeted was, “What do we say to our sons?”

Today I came upon a good, to the point piece:

My son Ford came downstairs and saw me at the kitchen table.

You’re on Facebook?”

I stood up and looked at him. I had tears in my eyes.

“What’s wrong? What happened?”

“They let the guy who killed Trayvon Martin go. He’s not going to go to jail.”

My 12-year-old is at the precipice of early adolescence and teenage years. He has a thin, long body with rangy legs. His face is still all innocence, although he knows more inappropriate rap lyrics than I wish he did. He’d still rather play on his X-box more than anything, except playing baseball. His life is still very much like his face.

I stood up and hugged him close, letting my tears go.

He said: “Why, why did they let him go?”

I didn’t know what to say. How do I to explain 400 years of slavery and Jim Crow and subjugation and fear of the Black man?

The jury system; Stand Your Ground…

What he knows is that we live in a nice house in a nice town, in a good neighborhood. His friends aren’t white kids, they’re just his friends. The parents of his friends adore him and treat him like he is one of theirs.


Ford doesn’t yet know what I know; that all people aren’t going to treat him like his friends’ parents, like our neighbors, like my friends. When he’s 15, 16, 17, perhaps next year at 13, some people might see him as a threat. I tell him this. I tell him that if that happens it’s because of their ignorance, not because of who he is. The need for this kind of conversation breaks my heart.

Like you, I can’t imagine the pain Trayvon’s parents feel. I do, however, know mine.

2 Responses to “Trayvon…I have nothing new or profound to say, only…”

  1. Spinsterlicious July 15, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    It’s just the saddest thing…

  2. Jenn July 16, 2013 at 1:23 am #

    I am still walking around in a fog. I am filled with sadness, disbelief, anger, dismay and deep confusion. I have three sons!!!…… I feel helpless to protect them.

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