Privilege, Blame, and Injustice: Reacting to the Zimmerman Verdict
Since that fateful night in February 2012, we have watched and waited for a determination of what exactly happened between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. While we may never know the details, a jury has found Zimmerman not guilty of murder or manslaughter. However no matter what the jury decided, the fact remains that a 17-year young man old is dead, his family is hurt, and a man's life has been turned upside down.
The focal points of the trial were certainly Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. But, in such trials, we learn about ourselves, our culture, and brokeness of our society. We learned that this society remains divided.
Certainly many issues were discussed, but three could not be missed: privilege, blame, and injustice.
So I asked three thoughtful leaders-- a scholar, a bishop, and a pastor-- to tackle these issues.
First is Dr. Christena Cleveland, a social psychologist with a hopeful passion for overcoming cultural divisions in groups. You can read her full essay here.
Pastor Victor Montalvo is the lead pastor at Reality Community Church in Sanford, FL, which is the closest church meeting just blocks from where Trayvon Martin was killed. He writes on how everyone from the families, to the police, to the media was looking for someone to blame. You can read his full essay here.
Finally, Bishop Gregory Brewer tackles the issue of injustice. Greg is the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida, an evangelical with a passion for justice. Two days into his role there, he was marching in Sanford in the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin shooting as part of a crowd demanding justice. He addressed the Sanford City Commission asking them to respond to the black community and was the only white member of the clergy to do so. You can read his full essay here.
Be sure to read the entire posts and, in some cases, the authors will be engaging in the comments.