I take two sips of my morning coffee, I log on and I read this article:
I cry for the parents, for the boy who will never have_______ (so much to fill in that blank), and I wonder why can’t we look at our people (yes, OUR people) for who they are.
Then I’m driven to write, of course.
Was Michael Skolnik’s article not a call for his Caucasian brothers and sisters to respond to Trayvon Martin’s senseless murder?
I want to make something clear first. We don’t all live in cities or suburbs. The small county that I grew up in and still live in is very VERY Caucasian. What Mr. Skolnik describes here “I will never look suspicious to you, because of one thing and one thing only. The color of my skin. I am white.” That doesn’t work in my town. I’ve clutched my purse closer when in the presence of suspicious white folk. I’ve rushed home from the bus stop because I was being followed by a police vehicle and neighbors. When you live in a place that has a high crime rate with the root of it all pointing to methamphetamine…yeah, many many white people scare the shit out of me!
I get it Mr. Skolnik, you’re talking about the bigger picture here. But this is the world I know, in our little town, in a little valley.
Let’s get back to Trayvon. Trayvon!!!
Did you all look at his picture? What a beautiful boy he was! All of that is gone now. All of that beauty in what could have been a man is gone.
As my boys inch closer and closer to their teen years the bulk of our conversations lead back to compassion. COMPASSION. This, like anything, means something different to everyone. But I think that it has a common thread of respect and patience (the ability listen and to be present).
What compassion has taught me is to look past all walls, social/physical obstacles, and to see myself in another person.
Sometimes to find compassion we have to pull from deep down inside. It is taking all of me, reaching deep down to the root of my compassion, these days to have compassion for those who want to take my reproductive rights away from me. It is taking all of me to have compassion for those who cannot accept my husband and his birth son as our family. It is taking all of me give up the fight and to ride the waves of justice.
Now I ask you, how much more will OUR people have to lose before WE take action towards compassion? Why not teach it during math class? It has the word ‘compass’ in it, does it not?
If Mr. George Zimmerman had learned about compassion before seeing this boy walk down his street, however unfamiliar this boy may have been to him. He would have seen a kid not a thug-in-training or whatever Mr. Zimmerman saw instead. He would have seen a kid. That’s all. A kid.
His name is Trayvon. Mr. Zimmerman could have introduced himself. He could have asked him about his folks. He would have known Trayvon from then on. He could have done so many many different things besides what he did. If only he was carrying compassion instead of that semi-automatic weapon. If only! Well, all of that is gone now.
Now it is Mr. Zimmerman’s time to ride the waves of justice. I hope justice is brought, for real! And I hope one day his inner compass finds compassion and all of those like Mr. Zimmerman.
All I know, for my husband and me, is continuance to teach our boys about compassion. I will continue to see myself in others and I will continue to keep digging deep inside for that last ounce of compassion even when I think it is no longer there.