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Will we hear the scream?

July 16, 2013

By Sister Renee Y.

cropped-multicolored-hands[1]Throughout its history, America has suffered from the deep schizophrenia of color. And certain events have driven the wedge of that illness deeper and deeper into our souls. Last night was such an event. Justice and law have seldom been further from each other than they were when last night’s verdict was read.

As an American, I am ashamed and outraged that the law has protected a perpetrator of the worst kind of racial intimidation. Because Trayvon Martin is dead for only one essential reason – he was Black. And in our deep hearts, I think we all know it.

There will be all kinds of repercussions from last night’s travesty of justice. It may be used by some as an excuse for reactive violence, hate and division. It may be used by others to further justify codification of laws that control people based on color, language, ethnicity, country of origin or level of education and economy.

Perhaps most insidious of all, it will suggest its poison into our neighborhoods and workplaces where people of different races and backgrounds pursue the opportunity to enrich each others lives by our shared work, histories, cultures and faith. It will do this if we are silent. It will do this if we do not share our honest, humble, prayerfully considered feelings about this tragedy. It will do this if we do not act together to bring justice and law into alignment.

George Zimmerman has been exonerated in a court of law. But he will never be a free man. Life, as he knew it, is over for him and he will live forever hearing that final scream, no matter whose it was.

The question is, will we hear it? Will we hear it calling out to us to address the laws which allow injustice to triumph? To face the fears which cause us to stereotype each other as criminals? To reach across our historic schizophrenia to the person we know by name, whose children’s pictures are on the desk, whose dreams and stories are just under the surface of his color, if we are willing to scratch it. Will we be brave enough to have the conversations that heal rather than the silences that further divide us?

This is a challenge to every one of us, whatever our skin color may be. Beneath the surface, we are all the same color – deep blood red. We all send our children out of the house hoping the world will protect and not harm them. It is in that depth that we must join one another to convert this tragedy to some form of good – to build a world where those hopes may be assured.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. Eileen O'Connor permalink
    July 18, 2013 3:08 pm

    Thank you for this heart-felt reflection, Renee…. as well as for your excellent article in the recent VIVA! Mercy. “Their blood cries out: countering violence with love.” Your contributions invite deep reflection and action. Blessings to you for sharing your special gifts with us. Eileen O’Connor, NYPPAW

    • Renee Yann permalink
      July 18, 2013 4:41 pm

      Thank you, Eileen.

  2. Peggy Costa permalink
    July 18, 2013 5:05 pm

    Thank you, Renee, for giving voice to what we know is truth. Thank you for acting. Thank you for challenging us to act and speak out.

  3. July 18, 2013 6:06 pm

    Thank you Renee for writing your blog!

    I and others were initially shocked; could only say “wow” or “unbelievable!” We were saddened and some immediately flooded with anger, while others felt defeat and fear.
    Fear not only for ourselves, but fear of what America is becoming and how our younger brothers and sisters (especially our brothers), will fair in what too often seems like an unjust society.

    When you have lived through “Jim Crow,” segregated education, the Civil Rights movement, and more… one does not like to think that racism still exist, but unfortunately, it does. I am not “definitely” saying the case in Florida was racist. However, …

    When one is well educated, well read, well fed, and respected… One does not like to think that the angry face of injustice can rise up in the midst of “poetic justice,” but it does.

    When you have been raised to think differently, feel differently, and to put things into proper perspective before reacting… One would like to be civil, but too often all is easier said than done.

    When one professes to be a Christian and to love as Jesus did… does one really love this way? Has anyone been able to do this authentically without some under current of judgement, some holding back or fear of letting go, without some question and some false or superficial lining.

    Why is it easier for some people to preach love, yet be so degrading, so condescending, and so disrespectful of others. Such ways only raise the bar of fear in our neighborhoods, political arenas, and religious institutions.

    One does not have to be a person of color to live in fear. One does not have to be a person of color to want justice and question what seems unjust. You don’t even have to be a person of color to be angry or in tears about this most recent action in the courtroom of Florida. But, it would help and magnify the pulse within my heart and the multitude of emotions stirring among my people if one were a person of color.

    Thank you again Renee for establishing a platform for my personal reflection.

    Let us continue to move forward in grace and integrity. In all things, to God be the glory!

    • Renee Yann permalink
      July 19, 2013 3:16 pm

      I deeply value and will try to learn from your heart-felt and profoundly personal reflection, Larretta. Thank you! Renee

  4. Myra permalink
    July 19, 2013 8:26 am

    I believe this is an outrage in light of what Sisters of Mercy should stand for! Where is the Merciful spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness?

  5. Barbara Johnson permalink
    July 19, 2013 11:07 am

    Thank you for the beautiful reflection! As a mother I especially am touched by the sentence, “We all send our children out of the house hoping the world will protect and not harm them.” Clearly this verdict has shown that the law does not always protect all children. ~Barbara

  6. July 20, 2013 7:51 am

    “Will we be brave enough to have the conversations that heal rather than the silences that further divide us?” this is what i want to carry around with me from your rich reflection. god be with us as we be sisters of mercy. much thanks renee, anne

    • Renee Yann permalink
      July 23, 2013 5:28 pm

      Thank you, Anne.

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