“A glooming peace this morning with it brings.
The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head.
Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things.
Some shall be pardoned, and some punished…” William Shakespeare, Act 5 of Romeo and Juliet
“America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.” Allen Ginsberg
The morning after a tragedy is quiet on many levels. There is the usual quiet of mornings. Also there is the lull of reflection. Of course, there is the silence associated with various emotions: the numbness that accompanies grief, the tense muteness preceding or following rage, the stillness of shock. So often we are at a loss after a tragedy, however close we may have been to those involved. I didn’t know Trayvon Martin and yet I, along with millions of others this morning, feel the weight of his loss and the failure of the court system in freeing the man responsible for his death.
When I first wrote about this case over a year ago (Media misrepresentation in Trayvon Martin case), I pondered how my distance from the events led to my misunderstanding and confusion about the events as news. I also pointed out how the many layers of my life experiences impacted my thoughts. At that time, I knew Trayvon Martin would impact us as a nation. This morning, I realize Trayvon Martin has impacted me as a person.
As a mother, as a woman of color, as an educator of at-risk youth, and as a proud American, the verdict delivered in the trial of George Zimmerman exacerbates the fear, worry, and heartache I have about race relations in my country. I live in a country where children can be attacked simply because how they look.
Talented Sebastien De La Cruz, aka El Charro de Oro, came under fire for paying homage to his Mexican culture as he performed his National Anthem.
Brand-name cereal Cheerios shut down online comments on their YouTube video feed after their charming commercial featuring a biracial family inspired racist reactions.
I live in a country in which a TV show featuring several Latinas as sexy maids reaps high ratings and positive buzz despite the stereotypes perpetuated.
So while we battle these issues in the media and the social networking worlds, I trust that our legal system will not be affected by racist images and misconceptions. I am crushed when I am disappointed.
Somehow, I carry and hold up hope. As an artist, I choose to embrace all people as we come together creatively to build community.
As a mother and girlfriend, I choose to stay in my community because it offers an opportunity for my daughter to grow up in a different America, one where all people can live together.
I choose hope.
This morning, I offer a prayer for hope, the hope that Trayvon Martin’s death was not in vain, that as a nation we recover from this tragedy in the spirit of reconciliation, and that the families most affected by this loss find peace.