When attorneys in the George Zimmerman trial gave closing arguments this week, I could not bring myself to hear the defense's closing. Why?
I could not bear to hear Trayvon Martin, demonized as a black "thug," "punk," or "hoodlum." No. These words were not uttered, but I believe they came to mind for many who viewed blurry images of a young man in a hoodie buying a drink and Skittles on February 26, 2012.
From family photos of Trayvon, it is obvious that he had a varied and positive upbringing.
Trayvon was 17 and on the verge of manhood. I suspect that in a few years, under the guidance of a protective mother and a doting father, he would have been a productive citizen with a bright future.
Thanks to George Zimmerman, a man with a gun and a perception of himself as an enforcer (who has not seemed remorseful), he will never have this chance.
Trayvon Martin is a symbol of America's black youth, often regarded with suspicion, contempt, or fear.
He could have been my son, grandson, brother, nephew, or uncle shot dead because he looked, "suspicious."
The defense made Zimmerman the victim and Trayvon the aggressor.
Today, a jury acquitted him.
It is a sad day for his family and for America.
He is another native son taken from us too soon.