Tales From the Hilltop
An intelligent, yet Devil's Advocate view of the world

Episode Fifty: All the motivation we’ll EVER need now…..

OK, so if you’re like me, you are now heartbroken and outraged at what happened in America on Saturday, July 14, 2013. Starting back in February of last year, A man named George Zimmerman, who was not a police officer – yet wanted to assert his authority like one – confronted a 17-year-old kid named Trayvon Martin for looking “suspicious” in his neighborhood. This man called even 911 about the kid, and was told not to pursue this kid, but he chose to disregard that order by the dispatcher and take matters into his own hands.

He confronted the kid, the kid fought him, and then Zimmerman shot the boy, claiming to be in fear for his life. Trayvon ended up dead. Those facts we know.
After a very questionable investigation (which almost never happened in the first place), Zimmerman was indicted on the charge of Murder in the 2nd degree, and later, Manslaughter. We all watched in shock and bewilderment on the aforementioned date as the jury found Mr. Zimmerman not guilty of all charges by a six person, all-female jury.

This you all know by now.

The result of this has sent shockwaves throughout the country, and has resulted in mass protests around the country from coast-to-coast, and even rioting in Oakland, CA.

This you should all know, too.

Here what people don’t know and SHOULD by this: these inactions of what we consider “true justice and equality” in this land have motivated a lot of us to really look at this country in a very different view from now on. Not just the African American community (though, I’d be lying if we weren’t already skeptical about our standing in America to begin with), but also the majority of the population.

In speaking for myself, what I see now – in addition to my own outrage at how a young black man is really valued in this country – is drive.

The drive to fight back at this obviously broken system.

The drive to educate the youth, so this never happens again.

The drive to help us stop the dreaded lifestyle that killing of anyone (whether it’s race related or not) should not, can not, and WILL not be tolerated.

The drive to make my presence felt in this world.

Most importantly, the drive to never lower myself to the awful stereotypes us men of color are assigned with everyday.

If there’s one thing I think that needs to be taken away from this entire event it’s this: if this didn’t motivate you to do better, then nothing ever will.
So, the anger, hurt, pain, frustration, and all-out rage that we may feel needs to put to the greatest uses of our capabilities. What I mean is this:

If young black men that are around Trayvon’s age feel as they are being unfairly disrespected in this world, then things to need to happen to change that perception. Make your mark in better ways than shooting, hustling, and overall ignorance – towards yourselves and the communities you live in. Take better care of your neighborhoods. Have some pride in your appearance. And if you think that’s too much work, remember July 14th, and channel that outrage into focus.

If young black females that are around the age of Rachael Jeantel feel people may look that them the way we all saw her portrayed (even if it WAS mostly validated), then this should be that motivation to change it. Take your education more seriously. Show a little more dignity in public. Cut out the twerking on social media, and stop throwing yourselves under the cyber buses. Learn your true worth…and value it. STOP having kids when you all know you aren’t ready. If that seems too much to bear, just think back to how angry you were when you saw the verdict come in….and your motivation will come.

If the older community feels as though as a whole we are being disrespected and disenfranchised, then DO something about it instead of complaining for five days on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and then going back to the same cycle of ignorance and “ratchetness.” Boycott influences in this world (the radio, various “Housewives” shows, BET as a whole for right now) that portray us as destructive beings, incapable of advancing our communities and race. Educate the youth better. Set better standards for them (and yourself)…and most importantly, LEAD BY EXAMPLE. If you believe this doesn’t matter, just replay your feelings when you heard the words, “NOT guilty….so say we all.” Then you’ll find out why it DOES matter.

This motivation won’t change us overnight. No true revolution ever did. However, if we as a people want real change in America it has to start INWARD. At ourselves. No slogan will trigger this. No lawmaker will argue for this and win. We the people have to. That’s the only way we’ll ever get any respect in the face of this system.

I saw that energy and motivation at a Trayvon Martin rally at Union Square in Manhattan, NY this Sunday, as well as several rallies taking place. Now, we have to sustain this momentum. So, my real questions to you all are this:

As outraged and hurt we all feel now, will you still feel this way next week? On August 1st? On January 1, 2014? Or will this whole Trayvon phenomenon be nothing more than a social media fad, fading away once the next big thing to grab our attention comes?

This event alone shouldn’t have been the catalyst for our outrage at the American justice system: we’ve seen it several times before in the unjust and tragic ending of lives like Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, Troy Davis, the Scottsboro boys, George Stinney, and so many others. However, if we ARE going to truly change this country, we also have to stop the killings of our own. Until we get a handle on ourselves first, then we’ll never accomplish any real goals of being taken seriously.

We have the motivation once again. We’ve been re-awoken. So, what will YOU do with it?

7/16/13

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