So much is being said about the death of Trayvon Martin, but let me add a few reflections-
1.) No matter the race or ethnicity of the one behind the murder weapon, we must be concerned about the continued loss of young African-American male lives. Too many young African-American men are leaving this earth too soon. We need more than a rally, we need reasonable solutions about this crisis that leads to fruitful results. Too many institutions are failing African-American boys and young men in this country. More importantly than that, too many families are failing them as well. We need strong African-American marriages, strong churches committed to community development and racial reconciliation, and a series of national initiatives that raises the value of young African-American male life.
2.) We cannot avoid the issue of race in the United States of America and beyond. The racial stereotyping, profiling, and devaluing of African-Americans is still a major issue. I am a professional, Christian, and highly educated African-American male. I still have to endure experiences where I am profiled simply for being Black. We can’t put all the blame on African-Americans in terms of how they are perceived. Corporate heads that are European-American make more money than African-Americans off of the devaluing and stereotyping of African-Americans. No question that there are some African-American rappers, athletes, and reality show stars that have sold their souls over money, but they should not carry the blame alone.
3.) It’s painful that some of the media are trying to use the fact that Trayvon was having some trouble in school to place blame on him for his own murder. Painting an African-American male as troubled on some level is used to steer our attention away from justice.
4.) It’s also painful that so-called Civil Rights leaders show up for racially charged issues, but don’t give the same passionate attention to Black on Black crime. A few months ago in Oakland, California there multiple homicides in one weekend where African-Americans were both victim and responsible for the crime. Neither Reverend Sharpton, nor Reverend Jackson made an appearance.
5.) Finally, as an evangelical pastor, I’m so concerned about how the evangelical church and its leaders seem to rarely, if ever take the lead in standing for compassion, mercy, and justice on issues like this. Where are the prophetic voices of justice, reconciliation, and liberation within evangelicalism?
These are my reflections. I now turn to prayer before the God of love, justice, and transformation. In Jesus name.