Mockery

I’m spending the week in Ocean Park, Maine, where I preached on Sunday and am leading a morning discussion this week. As the name indicates, Ocean Park is right on the ocean, and I’m blessed to have the opportunity to enjoy some of the most beautiful beach we have on the East Coast.  There’s something about the place where the vast and fluid ocean meets, caresses, rhythmically slaps against the solid and steady earth that speaks to my spirit.  Especially in the early morning dawn.  I wanted to share with you a video I made of dawn over the beach at Ocean Park, so you can hear the sound of the waves and the birds, and through the whole scene, to hear God speaking.  But the file was too large to incorporate into this blog, and I don’t know another way to do it.  So I’m sharing this picture and asking you to use your imagination.

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It truly is peaceful and beautiful.  Just like God.

I felt the beauty of God’s creation like that most poignantly when I was in Ghana, high on a cliff looking out on the Atlantic, thousands of miles from here, from the other direction.  The view was wondrously beautiful. I was in a large castle-like building.  In the massive building was a torture chamber where slaves were chained, beaten, held in brutal captivity, then sent out in ships from the door in that place, which the slaves knew as “the door of no return.”

Can you imagine so much heart wrenching, evil horror taking place amid such beauty, the beauty that God created  for us out of God’s great love? I couldn’t help but cry at the thought of the agony my ancestors went through at the hands of horribly brutal people, many who claimed to believe in the God of creation.

I felt that same paradox here in Ocean Park Maine, as I was trying to deal with my broken heart over the injustice of the decision that set free as “innocent” the man who shot Trayvon Martin.  It still hurts.  And it was all done under the rubric of the legal system, which is designed by humans to implement justice. What a mockery. What a mockery of the God of justice.

I think those jurors, if they were being honest, would have come to a different conclusion without the 29 pages of jury instructions and the convoluted efforts of the defense to make what seems right into something much more complicated.  Without the complications of the law, they would have seen Trayvon as an innocent, unarmed young person, going on his way, minding his own business.  They would have seen Zimmerman as the aggressor, armed with a dangerous weapon, the one who disobeyed police orders not to follow. They would have recognized that if Zimmerman had not followed Trayvon, Trayvon would be alive.  They would have had enough common sense to understand that if Zimmerman had not gotten out of his vehicle and come up from behind close enough to Trayvon to make Trayvon feel threatened, there would have been no altercation.  The jury would have seen that Trayvon is dead, slaughtered at the hands of a man who went against the authorities, whether or not it was was Zimmerman’s initial intention to kill him, and whether or not Zimmerman may have feared for his own life. I thought they would at least have had the common sense to conclude that Zimmeran did in fact initiate the acts that resulted in him killing an innocent and unarmed man–manslaughter.

They were confused, at best. And I’m sure, as are most folks in this world who know anything about how this nation works, that if Trayvon had been white and Zimmerman black, Zimmerman would have been arrested immediately and thrown under the jail.  Isn’t that what happened in the case of the black woman in Florida who was sentenced to prison after trying to use the same law to justify her shooting into the air and not killing anybody? The jury had to be confused, unless they were bribed, because the decision doesn’t make any sense.  And I can’t rule bribery out, either, because there was money behind Zimmerman that I can’t figure out. Maybe some of you know more about the money that financed this man’s defense than I do.

My heart was crying when I talked to God at dawn that beautiful morning, looking out over the Atlantic Ocean. Crying over the injustice of it all.  Crying over such horror committed amid such beauty.  Crying over such evil that exists in the hearts of people, who wrap the evil up and try to hide it with good words like justice, law and order, patriotism, and yes, even sometimes Christianity.  I felt like I could see all the way across to Ghana, and realized that the horror has not really ended for us.

God’s justice will not be mocked.

As a Black woman, the result of this fiasco of a trial has taken me across a tipping point. This is the fourth slap in my face. The first slap I felt was from the efforts of state officials in Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia,Texas and others to wrench away the votes of mostly Black and Hispanic people during the last two Presidential elections. Ouch!  The second was the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act, which has refueled those efforts to take away our votes. Ouch! The third is the continued effort by white people to do away with affirmative action, claiming that they, the ones with all of the power on their side, are being discriminated against by laws that were designed to help ameliorate the hundreds of years of slavery, oppression, and injustice that our people have faced and still face. Ouch! Four slaps ought to wake us up.  (I wish Clarence Thomas could feel these slaps. I’m convinced that he’s numbed by his own sense of self-accomplishment.  Maybe he doesn’t realize that it is his numbness (antagonism?) to his people that made him the right choice to be maneuvered into place by those who want that numbness in high places–or maybe he does realize that, I don’t know.)

So instead of hearing peace in the gentle, rhythmic slapping of the waves on the shore this week, I heard a call to action.  I heard God proclaiming that God will not be mocked, that God’s justice should flow down like a river and God’s righteousness should be like a mighty stream. Justice should not be tripped up by pages and pages of jury instructions or political shenanigans that try to make right seem wrong and wrong seem right.

It’s time to wake up and get busy.  It’s time to unite and stand up and fight back.  It’s time to renew our commitment to and membership in the NAACP.  It’s time to again march on Washington, this time united with people of all colors and faiths who know true justice when they see it.  It’s time to organize and participate in organizations that will speak, with the power of the people behind them, to those in  powerful positions. It’s time to change laws and lawmaking, time to shore up the voting rights act, time to reclaim the need for Affirmative Action more than ever.   Are you with me?

 

 

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10 thoughts on “Mockery

  1. I am with you Alice. Peace with you and all of us. I am outraged as I did watch the whole trial from beginning to end trying to figure out how the jury could come the conclusion that it did. I am outraged when my daughter comes home telling me that she and her friends go to a 7 eleven and her friends are profiled for being black and asked to leave while she can stay because she is white. I am outraged when my friends are hassled because they are “guilty” for walking while black.
    I am praying and trying to figure out what I can do. Every day in Chicago, I open the paper and another child is killed by handgun violence in our streets. I shake my head and cry every Sunday in church as we state their names aloud to honor their lives in remembrance. At times I throw up my hands and feel that nothing can be done. I am just one. Your article moved me to tears. Thank you for sharing and motivating me. Love from Chicago

    • Hi Barb, it’s good to hear from you. Just like I told Holly, above (you’re both good folks, it would be great for you to meet!), people like you give me hope. We are each just one, but together we are many. Continuing the conversation is an important start, isn’t it?

  2. Thank you, Alice. So many passionate comments on this heartbreaking injustice have come across the internet; I listen most closely to those from people I know and trust, like you. I will never hear the slap of the waves again without thinking of the slaps of injustice. You named four, but the ocean waves keep coming. We really need ways to live into hope, don’t we?

    • Yes, Holly. We find hope in knowing there are good people who care, like I know you are. Although it may not seem like it when I rant on about things like this, I really do believe that things can and will be better as long as there are enough good hearts around to work to make the difference.

  3. This is from my brother Bill, who lives in Florida:

    Hi Alice,
    I just confessed to Regina last night that I have been in the world, moving through life, an angry man. I pray daily for God to help me channel my anger to positive use. I find solace in that God’s will is not my own. I have seen and experienced how God’s actions through others has created much needed change, usually for the good.
    Living among the people here in Florida, who continue to thwart justice and inhibit change, whom I depict as Neanderthals, I had a front row seat to the Trayvon Martin murder and trial.
    There were so many early signals that there would be no justice. Let me name off a few that disgusted me. The continual disavowal that this was not a racial crime by perpetrator, law enforcement and media… local news stations announced that Zimmerman needed money and gave directions for making donations… they allowed Zimmerman to make a video of the event, and present it at the trial as evidence (the defense even constructed a video of Zimmerman’s version of the event depicting the action of both men on that night. And argued vehemently when the judge would not allow it)… the jury was not of Trayvon’s peers… all black jurors were systematically discarded for various reasons (one because her pastor gave a sermon on the Trayvon Martin killing, and she was in attendance)… the defense made prominent a young female legal aide during the trial… Zimmerman had several opportunities to identify himself as “Neighborhood Watch” but chose not to… he had every opportunity prior to the confrontation to show his weapon, he chose not to… and finally, it was my understanding that only the confrontation and fight, and resulting shooting could be considered by
    by the jury… Zimmerman’s conversations with 911, and subsequent stalking actions were irrelevant.
    Police have visible side arms, badges and uniforms. This guy had a concealed weapon. There are so many like him here. I have neighbors who “carry” during nightly walks around the lake here. Why? The gun is an empowerment for them, an enabler in case they have the opportunity of confrontation.
    I have had internal struggles as to whether to heavily arm myself to protect myself from these self righteous people who now have rights to provoke confrontations, claim self preservation, and get off free…dead men tell no tales.
    Civility is on the down slide here, it appears that the Neanderthals are making their last efforts to construct a society of their choosing.
    The next major elections are crucial. If we can’t win back the House and keep the Senate numbers, I am afraid life for minorities in this country will change not to our liking. I feel strongly that I’ll be part of that effort.
    Your blogs are awesome! Consider this… if one has a police record, one cannot legally own a firearm.

    Your Brother Bill

  4. Powerfully written, Alice. There are so many questions about how the trial was run – what was permitted and not permitted, etc. And why would the judge allow a video of Zimmerman’s version of the incident and video clips of him being interviewed? And if it was allowed, he should have been required to testify and be cross examined.

    There is a lot of work yet to be done to bring racial harmony and justice to the US.

  5. I refuse to believe a few of the points often posed as as rational and without Bias. The mention of this being a fair trial is ludicris: A drug eval is done on the victim but not on the perp? The Prosecution in their unveiled hubris showed how effective they can be in throwing a case; They argued for the victim weakly so diligently, it seemed the only reason they presented any case was soley because of the National rancor. The Judge was as impartial as Zimmermans Mom (remember Zimmerman’s Dad is a retired Judge in that town), The Prosecution’s obvious racial disparagement of a telephonic witness and the spineless objections of the State gave me confirmation of the wrench being jammed into the works.
    The Defense presented its position of Zimmerman being threatened to the point of discharging a weapon into the chest of a minor he stalked. Zimmerman was required to present his case of Trayvon causing him to shoot because Trayvon didn’t, as the Defense said, “Didn’t run away”. So Trayvon was supposed to flee as would a runaway slave but Zimmerman was supposed to exhibit he was threatened in the midst of his chasing Trayvon.
    Now comes a Juror who says she was on the side of Zimmerman being a Murderer but, because of the ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council, The group that lobbied and threw cash to Local Governmental Officials to pass the “Stand your Ground” Laws across the Country), revision of Criminal Laws, she says she didn’t get a clear point of finding Zimmerman Guilty.
    It may seem irresponsible to say but any African American Male will be better suited to get a pistol . If you need to use it in the Zimmerman style, You’ll be considered the criminal (As was the African American woman), who shot into HER Garage ceiling to scare off her abusive Ex-Hubby, and got 20 yrs. IN THE SAME TOWN, BY THE SAME PROSECUTION TEAM.
    I’m mindful of what Dr. Carter G. Woodson said in “The Mis-Education of the Negro” A system in the US is designed for Whites and no intent or actions are available or intended to assist a Black Man.

    • Thank you for the information about the ALEC. It would be interesting to know where there money comes from, and why they’re promoting these insane laws.

  6. This so eloquently stated by You Alice, and your brother, Bill. Both of you state my feelings exactly…

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