OPINION: Running for his life ... standing our ground against the violence against blacks
Photo courtesy of Martin Family
We have been hearing a lot this last week about a "Stand Your Ground" law as it pertains to George Zimmerman and his shooting of unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman claims self defense even though there is mounting evidence that he actively pursued Trayvon and there still has been no arrest.
We hear a lot of support for "Standing One's Ground" laws that are all over the country. We hear about the "right to defend oneself" under the guise of the 2nd Amendment. But I can't get the image of that poor child, walking home with a bag of Skittles and flirting with his girlfriend on the phone, suddenly "running for his life" and pleading for someone to help him.
That poor child, lying there alone and dying while people cowered in their apartments in fear. Trayvon -- the latest of the thousands over hundreds of years who have "run for their lives” because they are not white. Sadly, Trayvon Martin won't be the "last."
I am an educated, white, middle-class woman. Walking down the street, I have never been seen as "suspicious." Nobody has ever called 911 because they thought I was up to no good. I have never been the target of the "Stand Your Ground" laws - I do not represent the images in people's heads when they talk about "the right to defend themselves" with deadly force.
I move through this world with a freedom that Trayvon never experienced, but a freedom he deserved solely for being a beloved Child of God. This freedom is what God desires for all of God's children. I believe God aches for these lost ones, the ones who fall because of hatred and systemic racism.
AP Photo/Alan Diaz
So how do we, this day, "Stand Our Ground" against the violence directed toward people of color? How do we embody the deep and abiding love that God has for all citizens of this world, for each and every child whom God claims as "beloved?" How do we begin to deconstruct the systems of our society that has institutionalized racism, sexism, heterosexism?
Well, I believe we begin by grieving together, and praying together, and crying together. We witness to the preciousness of Trayvon's life. We turn to God's word again as a reminder of God's call to justice. We acknowledge fearlessly that we haven't always lived into this call for justice.
It is time to "Stand Our Ground" and remember that it is Holy Ground.
The Rev. Deborah Dean-Ware is the new pastor of The Church of the Good Shepherd, United Church of Christ, an intentionally multi-racial, multi-cultural, open and affirming, just peace, whole earth, accessible to all congregation in Ann Arbor. You may read her blog at pastordebponders.wordpress.com/.Â