Archive for July, 2013

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Unwavering commitment to justice

July 19, 2013

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Unwavering commitment. Nelson Mandela. Wavering justice. Trayvon Martin.

In a week of deeply disturbing news, it is good to remember what Mandela has taught us about sustaining the work of justice, in spite of the difficulty, the pain, the despondency that can arise. If, as news reports indicate, his health has rebounded, it is yet another reminder that even as a light for justice seems about to be extinguished, it can catch hold of the fire again and continue to show us a way.

Today the Department of Justice placed a hold on the Trayvon Martin evidence as part of its open investigation to decide whether criminal civil rights charges should be filed by federal prosecutors. May there be an unwavering commitment to see justice done.

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If I’d been on the Zimmerman jury

July 16, 2013

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If I’d been on the Zimmerman jury . . .

I hope I would have realized that my years of being female have predisposed me to be nice and get along and that I would remember how that behavior can be dangerous to justice.

l hope I would have realized that years of cultural and institutional messages have deeply ingrained in me the message that black males, particularly young black males, are to be feared and that males who look more like me are to be trusted and assumed to have good judgment.

I hope I would have remembered that cultural norms privilege what certain groups of people have decided is the best way to do things. Usually, it is the group of people who by their power dominate society; people who look like me.

My white skin matters.  The whiteness of five of the women on the jury mattered. The gender of the jury makeup mattered. Oppression thrives when such truths are silenced.

 If I’d been on the Zimmerman jury, I would have insisted we talk about how oppression has made all of us, Zimmerman included, less fully human and that is why another young black man is dead.