“After I stopped judging, I began to listen, to hear her, to understand,” she said.

I had a conversation this morning where we discussed the George Zimmerman trial, this highly emotional, controversial trial causing such heartfelt divide among so many people in our country. And yes, it is George Zimmerman’s right to receive a fair trial. And no matter what side anyone stands on in terms of the law, the unfolding evidence, the testimony, it occurred to me the complicated, uncomfortable ironies of this case.

As this trial examines, contemplates “Stand your Ground”, I wonder was it not the right of Trayvon Martin to stand his ground as an unidentified man pursued him? Was it not Martin’s right to run, scream, defend himself against a stranger, a man who conceivably could and ultimately did harm him? Was it not Martin’s right to be young, wear what he wanted to wear, mind his own business, have brown skin, eat junk food, walk home safely? Was it not Martin’s right to just grow up without the insisting eyes of judgment, gunfire, death based on stereotype, unfounded danger, fear? 

And even as we contemplate, examine law, race, the slaughter of our youths, especially minority youths, is it ironic that even in the death, the slaughter of a “child”, a young man; we watch as another “child”, this young woman, Rachel Jeantel, is again slaughtered, fighting for humanity, dignity, her own life before America’s judging eyes?

Today, everyday, I’ve chosen hope, a hope that we walk towards empathy, compassion, our common humanity, love.

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