I heard the lawyer for the Trayvon Martin family speak on television yesterday morning. He spoke about the Martin family’s disappointment in the acquittal of George Zimmerman but said they did not blame the jurors. “They have done their job,” he said.
He spoke about how the goal now is to work on the family’s foundation, to help in the fight against gun violence toward children. I pulled the following off the Trayvon Martin Foundation website at trayvonmartinfoundation.org.
The Trayvon Martin Foundation was established as a Florida-based non-profit organization in March 2012, in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin and the tragic events leading up to and after his death. The purpose of the Foundation is:
To assist surviving families who grieve and suffer after tragically losing a loved one like we lost Trayvon;
- Advocating for crime victims and their families;
- To help amend the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida and other states in which this or similar laws have been enacted;
- To assist other organizations whose mission is similar to ours;
- Educating young people on conflict resolution techniques; and
- Increasing public awareness against all forms of profiling.
I am an outsider to this case. I wasn’t in the courtroom and only know what I’ve seen in the news. To me, it seems a great injustice was served. George Zimmerman seems like an overzealous-cop-wannabe who made a judgement and took matters into his own hands. Trayvon no doubt fought back. I’d be scared too if I were being followed. Only the two of them know the whole truth, which one of them was calling for help in the background of that cell phone call. Still, Trayvon was unarmed. He was just chatting on the phone with a friend on his way home after a trip to the convenience store. A police dispatcher told Zimmerman not to follow Martin and he did it anyway. I don’t believe Zimmerman should be a free man. (Maybe not life in prison, but no jail time? Really?). I also find great fault in the “Stand Your Ground” law – especially with this precedent that under the guise of “self defense,” anyone can go around shooting anyone who looks suspicious.
My husband was born and raised in Florida, and it’s laws and behaviors like this that make me take pause to ever consider moving there. Today on Facebook I read, “Florida is a state you couldn’t pay me to live in.”
Yes, I understand the desire to riot in the streets. I hate that so many people are angry and hurting and rightfully so. I truly feel justice did not prevail. Still, the decision is made and we as a country must move forward. But how?
Yesterday, President Obama released a statement where he addressed the legacy of this case. “We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis,” he said. “We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.”
George Zimmerman made a series of bad decisions that night, and while I wish the trial’s results were different, I look to the future and to the mission of organizations such as the Trayvon Martin Foundation: “To help amend the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law in Florida and other states, to educate young people on conflict resolution techniques, and to increase public awareness against all forms of profiling.” We can find small ways to make a difference by volunteering in schools, voting in elections and creating a dialogue about race in our country, beginning at our own kitchen tables if nothing else.