The verdict came in Saturday evening. Upon getting that phone notification, my heart seemingly stopped. “Not guilty?!” Of anything?? Surely, this had to be a joke. Maybe I was missing something. I read and re-read CNN multiple times. This was not funny.
In the blink of an eye, I was transported back to March 2009. I sat in the back of the small Los Angeles courtroom, staring at my dad. Once able to compete with body-builders, my dad was now slim; a skeleton of his old self. His weight was gradually decreasing with each trial date. I'd never seen him like this. His eyes were sadder and tired. I wanted to save him. He had aged since I'd last hugged him in 2007, the last time he was a free man. This was the day we'd get to see him unshackled again. I'd planned to put my arms around him and tell him how much I loved and missed him. I couldn't wait for him to see me graduate college next year. I had so many plans for us: church, amusement parks, movies, dinners. I wasn't letting him out of my sight again. I wanted to protect him.
“We, the jury, find the defendant guilty...” My mouth reacted before my mind got the chance: “DADDY!!!” The jurors looked at me with sorrow. They knew he was innocent. The prosecutors smirked. My dad looked at me with a look that said it would be alright. I wanted to believe him. I put my head down and cried.
The Zimmerman verdict brought back an emotion that I hated feeling: defeat. As much as my family fought for my dad's freedom—because we had evidence of his innocence—it wasn't enough. We were robbed of justice due to lack of respect for the defendant, a black man. Similarly, as much as Trayvon's family (and even strangers) fought for justice, it seems like it was not enough. We all followed the trial as much as the news channels allowed, watching how it was terribly unfair how—as actor Jesse Williams tweeted—“a dead black boy was put on trial for his own murder [and] was found guilty.” It's extremely sad, but evidently true.
|Photo Credit: ABC News|
Not only is the death of a black teenager proving to be acceptable, according to this verdict, but it is also proving to be profitable. Juror B-37 attempted to write a book about the trial, entitled George Zimmerman is Innocent. Thankfully, a Twitter user with the name @MoreAndAgain got the publisher to nix the book deal. The blatant disrespect is overwhelming. Like so many others, I'm entirely fucking fed up with the amount of disrespect, bigotry, and racism that people think they can exhibit just because the victim is black. While I hate pulling the “race card,” it's extremely difficult to ignore the fact that Trayvon Martin's character was put on exhibition as a way to defend Zimmerman's actions in gunning him down.
In a press conference Zimmerman's lawyer, Mark O'Mara, had the nerve to claim that, had the race roles been reversed, there would not have been a trial. How astonishing. Had the race roles been reversed, Zimmerman (as a “big scary” black man) would have been thrown into jail and the key thrown away. We all know that. O'Mara, please return to your wonderful world of delusion. Someone who is not black will never know what it feels like to be black in America.
I've spent days attempting to recover from this blow to my psyche, but I'm having a scabrous time. Visiting news sites and seeing so many people commenting about Trayvon being a “thug who got what was coming to him,” is so saddening. Whenever a major event occurs involving race relations, I have to mentally prepare myself for the usually-closeted racists and bigots to come out of hiding to spout ignorance. I deal with it whenever I tell people about my dad's case, and I'm going to have to keep dealing with it, but that doesn't mean that I want or have to.