The Real America

The nation has been abuzz with opinion and heated debate since the Zimmerman verdict was delivered Saturday. But I had remained silent. It seemed pointless to voice to the same outrage that was being so eloquently voiced from every media source that felt justice had not been delivered. To state the obvious, I do not feel justice has been delivered. I will stated that I could not bring myself to watch the trial, probably already intuitively knowing this would be the outcome, so I can’t argue every little detail. All I can argue is common sense. Which I feel I’m pretty good with and common sense doesn’t generally change. It’s like right and wrong, it is what it is. Now let’s be clear. We still live in America. We’re only 50 or so some odd years from a forced Civil Rights era. So I never expected Zimmerman to be convicted of first degree murder, which gets into whether the murder is deliberate and/or premeditated, as defined by most states. But I did expect something. At least a voluntary manslaughter charge perhaps? After all, the fact that a life was taken is indisputable, and for there to be no repercussions whatsoever, sends a horrible message. The message I get is that ‘young black men are expendable.’

A horrible message to be dropped in the wrong hands. My fear and now my outcry has become the future Trayvon Martin’s who will be shot and killed in the name of self-defense and the shooters who will get off in the name justice. As the mother of a black son, what can I tell my son about this America that we live in when we are still saying it’s okay to criminalize our black males and shoot them dead in the streets? This is not an emotional response. In the past days, I’ve heard of at least two other young black males, shot and killed in the days since Martin’s shooting. Jordan Davis, a 17-year-old black male, was gunned down in Jacksonville, Fl on November 23, 2012  by Michael Dunn, a white 46-year-old male, after an argument in a convenience store parking lot in which Dunn asked Davis and his friends to turn down the volume of their rap music. Dunn open fired into the vehicle with Davis and friends 8-9 times, after claiming he saw a shotgun. Davis was killed immediately. No weapons were ever found on the teens.

A second case, involves the shooting of 13-year-old black Wisconsin male, Darius Simmons, by his 76-year-old white neighbor, John Henry Spooner. Spooner shot Simmons on the sidewalk in front of their homes after Spooner accused Simmons of stealing over $3,000 worth of guns from his home. Simmons’ mother was a witness to the shooting of her son.

I cannot dispute whether or not George Zimmerman is a card-carrying Ku Klux Klan racist or not. I don’t know him or his family. His brother has vouched for his stellar character, but what else would he do? I do know that Zimmerman racially profiled Martin and probably did have him characterized as a potential neighborhood threat. Had it have been a white kid walking that night, I don’t think Zimmerman would have followed him with suspicion. All I know is that a boy ended up dead because he was trying to stand his ground. To Martin, Zimmerman was the threat and had to be handled. Now, my question has always been, ‘how many fist fights have you gotten in where you truly felt you were going to be killed?’ I don’t understand how Zimmerman felt his life were in jeopardy during a fist fight if at no time Martin ever attempted to reach for any weapon? Should delivering a justifiable ass-whipping cost you your life? Should Martin have just kept being followed and hoped everything turned out for the best?

I’m disappointed that we have those who feel it’s not a matter of race. In America, it’s always a matter of race. This is a racially charged nation that has not healed it’s racist past, just put a band-aid on it and a black President. And I’m not sure if ‘healing’ in the traditionally sense is possible, for many reasons that can be discussed later, but at least some type of resolution that won’t leave me scared to send my son at night. Any suggestions?

Darius Simmons

Darius Simmons

Jordan Davis

Jordan Davis

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin

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Fulfillment Seekers

So in a previous blog, I discussed my concept of religion and spirituality. And, as I’ve reinstated my meditation practice, I’ve been asking myself, ‘what is it all for?’. And it dawned on me, one of the great things about meditating is the introspection it allows, that we are all seeking fulfillment and a sense of contentedness. And the difficulty of the task is the abstractness of what it means to be fulfilled. This idea is something that varies from person to person and has no universal guideline as to what it means to be fulfilled. Fulfillment and happiness tend to go hand and hand and many people don’t even know what it would take to make them happy. Many of us try and seek fulfillment from material possessions, and then wonder why we are still met with feelings of discontent after purchasing everything we ever thought we wanted. Some of us seek fulfillment from the relationships we build with those around us. A danger game to play to let your happiness be defined by others if you ask me. And yet still, we have those who seek that fulfillment with religion, falsely believing they will be content the more they attend service and tithe.

It is usually obvious how a person is attempting to fulfill themselves based on their actions and how they spend their time. So then I wonder, why are there so many unhappy souls and why would you continue with your everyday routine if it continues to leave you unfulfilled. Maybe it’s time to try something different? Starting with an honest assessment of why you aren’t fulfilled, how you’ve been attempting to fulfill yourself and what are some things that would truly make you content. To me, I am fulfilled by the culmination of events that have come together as a collective to create my life. I am further fulfilled by being accomplished. Achieving what I didn’t think I could. I am fulfilled when I can end my day and say I did something productive or I helped someone. But your journey to discovering your own fulfillment is a personal one, and one worth the effort. A fulfilled life is a lighted life that seeks to spread that joy and light to others. So I urge us all to try and be that light.

Just as light brightens darkness, discovering inner fulfillment can eliminate any disorder or discomfort. This is truly the key to creating balance and harmony in everything you do
 Deepak Chopra quotes 

Religious Zealots

I have always considered myself a spiritual person. Not really religious, as I’m not equipped to emotionally substantiate all the zealotry that tends to come with organized religion. However, never had I stopped to ponder how my lack of attending a regular Sunday affected those immediately close to me, until I was compared to the Devil by my boyfriend of nearly six years, in what I considered to be a civilized conversation based around me trying to get my questions about religions answered, since he had reportedly had a life-enlightening conversation with a pastor. Questions such as, “why is Christianity so non-tolerant of other religions? And would a Christian God really doom someone to hell because they weren’t born in a Christian nation? Was Christianity given to black folks as a way to maintain submissiveness during slavery? A girl has a right to ask questions, but what I was met with was not eager enthusiasm of my curiosities, but a defensive rhetoric about this not being up for a rebuttal. Not very surprising, but disheartening none the same. This seems to be the most common response to my questions. Belligerence and an outright disbelief that I would question anything having to do with God. And that’s where the misconception lies. I am not questioning God, just the religions that are supposedly built around him.

To me, God is manifested in everything I do and everything I am. God is not an abstract concept that can only be preached to you about by someone ordained to read a book or an omnipotent presence that you can never have a personal relationship with unless you talk to his son, Baby Jesus. i see God when I see the beauty of my garden. I talk to God whenever I want. I don’t necessarily have to be on bended knee or in front of clergy. If I’m in my car and I thank God for a blessing or send a prayer up for a friend does he not hear me the same because I’m not on my knees? Is my relationship with God not as good because I don’t go to church on Sundays? 

Religion provides a moral code for how to conduct ourselves. I feel we innately have a sense of right or wrong and whether we choose to follow that, is a personal choice. Not a religious one. I don’t think I’ll be any better a person by attending church on a weekly basis because at the end of the day, I am going to treat everyone fairly, as I’d like to be treated. So just to complicate the issue and attempt to get a point across, I was asked how do you determine when to do right from wrong. For instance, the boy who robs an old lady to feed his family. A noble intention for an unworthy cause. I feel people tend to justify behaviors and feel victimized. His only option was not to steal from someone else, but it may have been his easiest. He could have just as easily worked somewhere for something. Point being, we make our choices, and I don’t feel religion would help me to make any better choices.

I also don’t criticize those who do choose to organize around God. i just wish that I were given the same tolerance and consideration for my beliefs. As a matter of fact, if everyone practiced more tolerance and consideration and less zealotry and propagandizing we’d all be able to live more harmoniously and find that peace that we are all seeking that leads most of us to religion in the first place. Just a thought. Image

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