Friday, July 12, 2013

Zimmerman trial about the value of a black man's life

The nation is standing on pens and needles as we wait for the jury to decide the fate of George Zimmerman.  The jury can convict him of second-degree murder of Trayvon Martin, convict him of manslaughter or declare him not guilty.

The Zimmerman case is this generation’s version of the O.J. Simpson trail. The dreadful death of Nicole Simpson forced deeper conversations related to domestic violence and race. Martin’s death exposes issues related to assumptions about black men and the value of their bodies.

On Trial is taking the life of a black man with little risk.

Are the lives of black man is not worth protecting?  Laws are created to make it difficult to punish those who take a black man’s life.  The criminal justice system is conceived in a way that keeps black men trapped. 

Those are a few of the underlying messages.

The Zimmerman case places America on trial for making it easy to take a black man’s life.  If acquitted, a message is Martin deserved to die.

He deserved to die for walking at night.  It’s his fault for wearing a hoodie.  He shouldn’t have been there.  He deserved to be followed and shot for not honoring Zimmerman’s role as a watch commander.

He should have stopped.  He should have trusted Zimmerman’s authority. Is there a different set of laws governing black men?

When followed I should assume the person following has good intentions.  I should discount the examples of black men being chased, robbed and killed.  I can’t run. I can’ fight back. If I’m killed, it’s my fault.

Zimmerman is a wannabe cop.  He had no badge. Are black men being told that we have to honor anyone who suspects us of a crime merely because of our race?  Do you expect me to accept a verdict based on a law designed to empower a person to kill based on their assumptions?

What do you say to black boys? Don’t walk at night.  Never wear a hoddie. Never run from a person following you. Don’t defend yourself if he comes at you with a gun.

"He automatically assumed Trayvon Martin was a criminal," Bernie de la Rionda, the prosecutor said. "And that’s why we’re here."

Martin was an “innocent 17-year-old kid” who had just celebrated his birthday three weeks earlier and was just walking back from buying Skittles and a drink a convenience store when Zimmerman started following him, de la Rionda said.

Zimmerman “decided he was up to no good,” the prosecutor said.

"He assumed things that weren’t true. Instead of waiting for the police to come and do their job, he did not. He, the defendant, wanted to make sure that Trayvon Martin didn’t get out of the neighborhood."

De la Rionda stressed what he said were inconsistencies in Zimmerman’s story, repeatedly focusing on the defendant’s statement to police that Martin hit him 20 to 30 times, even though witnesses said his injuries appeared minor.

"Why exaggerate them unless he’s lying about the whole thing?” the prosecutor asked.

The prosecutor addressed the dispute over who is heard yelling in the background of a 911 call during the struggle —  by showing jurors a slide that asked which item’s owner would be more like to scream for help above a picture of a gun and a picture of a juice drink.

Jurors were also shown Martin’s autopsy photo.

“They [Martin’s parents] can’t take any more photos and that’s true because of the actions of one person, the man before you, the defendant George Zimmerman, the man who is guilty of second-degree murder.”

Don’t send a message to black parents that the lives of their sons are disposable. 

How we feel about black boys in on trial.

Still standing on pens and needles. 


  1. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for writing. I avoid watching the news, and I admit I have not been following the trial. Your posts have been so crucial and beneficial for me, especially as a mom of 3 black children. I am well-informed because all of your posts matter.

  2. Rev. Kennedy, I would like to be able share with FB friends, but you don't have the FB link on your blog. Would you mind adding a FB feature?

  3. Sorry, but the trial is not about the value of a black man's life. It's about the legal issues surrounding whether the prosecution can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Zimmerman's self defense theory is false.

    We all agree that had Zimmerman behaved better, the incident would not have happened. You should also acknowledge that Martin texted on his phone that he was looking forward to fighting someone (judge didn't allow this fact in at trial) and was no angel. Regardless, he didn't have to die, and wouldn't have if Zimmerman had not been provocative in probably initiating the scuffle.

  4. from one anonymous to another. walk in the shoes of a black man, then I bet u would feel differently. As a sistah who deeply loves and believes in the Black man, just think about if it were your child or a child you knew and loved. let's have some compassion folks.