Tags: Zimmerman | Verdict | Racial | Tension

It's Okay to Disagree

It's Okay to Disagree
Demonstrators in Los Angeles stop freeway traffic. (Getty)

Tuesday, 16 July 2013 04:01 PM Current | Bio | Archive

As an African-American woman and a mother, I sympathize with the unfathomable loss that Trayvon Martin’s family has experienced. I’m so sorry that your son will not be able to realize his dreams on this Earth.

But I hope that everyone on both sides of this painful issue will choose a peaceful way to honor Trayvon’s memory.

As Americans, it’s okay to disagree and to see things differently. That’s what sets our nation apart from other countries.

Saturday’s verdict concerning George Zimmerman exposed a grievous and deep vein of disharmony and racial tension in our nation that can only be healed when people realize that every human being must be treated with dignity and respect.

A trial like this causes public outcry and people sometimes forget right from wrong — perhaps contemplating actions that would overshadow Trayvon’s tragic death.

This trial, like few others in recent memory, has blurred the line between right and wrong — between black and white.

We saw similar visceral reactions in the O.J. trial nearly 18 years ago and in the Casey Anthony trial in 2011.

In each of these cases there was reasonable doubt — no matter how minute — in the minds of jurors.

While we may disagree with one — or all of these decisions — our system of justice worked.

Law enforcement officials evaluated the facts surrounding Trayvon’s death and eventually charges were brought against George Zimmerman by the state of Florida.

The 29-year-old had his day in court — and was judged by a jury of his peers — to be not guilty of the charges brought against him.

The jury has spoken. None of us would have wanted those six women who sat in judgment over Zimmerman to render a decision that was based on public opinion.

They did their duty to the best of their ability, and we must commend them for their service regardless if we look at the same facts differently.

Some of you may have read or heard the comments that my cousin Bernice King made relative to this case.

While we may differ in our political perspectives — like any family ours has a kaleidoscope of views — we certainly agree that nonviolence and love is the course that will steer us to peace and prosperity.

My uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that we must all learn to live together as brothers (and sisters) or perish as fools. Too many people are dying today for too many reasons, and the race baiting and strife add fuel to the fire which grieves my soul.

A young African-American man has perished, while another has become a public spectacle. Who wins?

Others seem to feel a victory because the question of reasonable doubt prevailed in this case. Yet it is important to note that Zimmerman's life is ruined too, and that the court of public opinion is not on his side.

It remains critically-important, however, that all protests against the verdict demonstrate an irrevocable commitment to nonviolence, to honor the dignity of Trayvon Martin’s precious life and not add further tragedy to what his family and the people of Sanford have already experienced.

Dr. Alveda C. King grew up in the civil rights movement led by her uncle, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. She is a pastoral associate and director of African-American outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. Her family home in Birmingham, Ala., was bombed, as was her father’s church office in Louisville, Ky. Alveda herself was jailed during the open housing movement. Read more reports from Dr. Alveda C. King — Click Here Now.

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As an African-American woman and a mother, I sympathize with the unfathomable loss that Trayvon Martin’s family has experienced. I’m so sorry that your son will not be able to realize his dreams on this Earth.
Tuesday, 16 July 2013 04:01 PM
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