The Burden Of Proof

This morning, my husband left our home to run some errands, wash the car, and get his hair cut. He went alone. I was still in bed, sleeping in on a Saturday morning. As is my normal routine, I said a quick prayer for his safety while he was out and about. I imagine most wives might do the same for their husbands. Or moms might do the same for their sons, sisters for their brothers…wanting their loved ones to come back home safe and sound.

My husband is 38 years old, college educated and works an office job every day. He is a dedicated brother and son. He is gentle and kind and has a huge heart. He is really, quite simply, a really nice guy.

My husband is a black man, a tall, large black man at that, and it’s because of that I pray every time he leaves the house.

Unless you have been under a rock for the past 2 weeks or so, you can’t  help but to have heard about the growing uproar about 17 year old Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed by a volunteer neighborhood watch leader, while coming from the store where he was getting candy for his brother. Trayvon was holding a package of Skittles candy and a can of iced tea when he was murdered.

It seems that Trayvon’s only crime was being a black male walking alone in a gated community. If you have a black brother, son, cousin or father, this is the story of their lives.

The burden of proof falls on good men like my husband all the time. The burden to prove that they are not robbers, or rapists, or murders, or drug dealers. The police stops just because “they fit the description”. Clutched purses in stores or elevators. Being judged because they wear jerseys or their pants sag low, like all of the popular rappers that are on the radio. In a way, it seems that I’d gotten jaded to reading or hearing about black (or brown) men being harassed by the police. The men I know just knew they had to charge it to the game and govern themselves accordingly. Black mothers and fathers educate their sons about how to behave if stopped by the police: speak clearly and politely, don’t act belligerent, have slow movements.

Trayvon Martin didn’t even the courtesy of being able to prove himself, it seems. He didn’t get a chance to explain that he was coming from the store and going back to his dad’s house, who lived in that community. Some dude with a tin badge and a 9mm, decided he saw a strange in a neighborhood that SURELY he didn’t belong in, shot first and asked questions later. Trayvon Martin will not get a chance to graduate high school, go to college, get married, or have kids. He will not get the chance to PROVE himself, in life.

This is why I pray for my husband, and for my brother, who is only ten years old than Trayvon and even for my 62 year old father. The wrong circumstance and the wrong person and they could easily be a Trayvon, not getting a chance to explain their very existence, having to prove yet again…

…that they have a right to be a black man minding their own damn business in the United States of America.

Please help Trayvon Martin’s family get the justice he deserves and sign the petition asking for his killer to be arrested and prosecuted.

He never even had a chance...

(Editor’s note: Comments that are off topic and/or racist will be deleted. I am not even entertaining THAT.)

8 thoughts on “The Burden Of Proof

  1. My heart weeps for this child’s family. I hope that the stand your ground law in Florida is overturned – or at least re-written in a way that doesn’t allow for the legal murder of “threatening looking people.” Particularly since, as you say, I love a lot of “threatening looking people,” as do, I am sure, we all.

  2. I don’t even know where to start on this. My heart is just so heavy and I am angry.

    Thank you for beautifully expressing a lot of what I am feeling.

  3. This made me tear up and brought out so many emotions, because in 2012 these are still things we have to worry about. It’s senseless that a young man can’t even walk to the store and back in his OWN neighborhood. The truth of the matter is very overwhelming.

  4. I have a 21, 30, 34 year old Black Male kids. I worry ALL THE TIME.

  5. I heard the tapes Friday…so sad. He was coming back from the store and the police SAID not to follow. How afraid he must have been to see a car following him. He is old enough to notice and be scared about a random car following him. So sad.

  6. That town is declaring open season on the hunting and killing of black people. The white man stalked, confronted then killed a black boy and has not been arrested. How can an aggressor claim self-defense?

    I hope another government agency investigates because if this is permitted, it will be open season on black men, women and children.

  7. I have one boy and this has been my constant worry – when he was little, in MS, HS, college, etc. We’ve had lots of conversations about this. I’m not racist, I just present the realities of the world we live in, so that he’s prepared.
    Anything can happen anytime, so instead of worrying I have turned this over to the Lord. That’s how i deal with it.

  8. Very, very, very well written. And I don’t mean style. I am talking with love, passion, and heartfelt concern. I can’t even put words onto paper. The depth of emotion I am reading here is overwhelming and filling me with sorrow and pride. There are good black men out there. They are our brothers, and fathers, and nephews and cousins and they all deserve the right to a life free of historical prejudices, a life free of historical stereotypes, a life, well hell they deserve to have life. And not to lose it just because of some sweet tea and some damn skittles. Fugg!!!

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