In Tribute to Trayvon: Tell Them They Can Change Things

Source: Coach Felicia / Essence

On Saturday night, as news of the George Zimmerman verdict was broadcast, a local New York reporter walked through Times Square interviewing the crowd for their reactions. He approached two young Black teenage boys for their perspective. My heart broke and sadness gave way to anger when one replied, “They just told me that my life doesn’t matter.”

Saddened, angered—and maybe even a little disillusioned, I went to bed heavy hearted. As I scrolled through my texts, one question posted in a group message grabbed my attention: “What do I teach my boys?”

I’m certain this question echoed in the heart of every mother of a young Black male. While I truly don’t understand the jury’s verdict, I know ignorance is what led to the crime. Though I am outraged and heartbroken, I realize that I must move beyond my emotions. My anger must be directed to positive action. So, to the best of my ability, I must find ways to dialogue with the generation that has the power to change things.

We must fight against unjust laws, but our most prevailing efforts require that we work to develop the character and understanding that prevents these tragedies in the first place. I am not convinced that we will ever live in a world where this doesn’t happen, but I do believe that we can create a world where the hope for justice for everyone is stronger than an eyes-closed, fingers crossed wish.

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