Conflicting Information and Media Distortion in Trayvon Case

Glenna Milberg of WPLG has some thoughts on the Trayvon Martin case:

I meant to write as we drove back from covering Trayvon Martin’s case in Sanford, but I kept running into roadblocks – the mental kind – the ones that crop up when conflicting and confounding observations, facts, theories and perspectives just won’t coalesce into logic and sense.

And they still haven’t completely.  So many voices are weighing in on the latest elements of the evidence almost daily.  Truth is, only two people know exactly what happened that rainy February evening on the path behind the homes in that gated community in Sanford.  Trayvon Martin is not alive to say, and George Zimmerman has a vested interest in making his actions and intentions seem pure.

That said, there is an obvious truth here, no matter what the facts and motivations ultimately prove to be.  And that is, we are a hurting nation, divided in ways both obvious and subtle.

With all I may have in common as parents with Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, it never once occurred to me to teach my daughters how to behave around someone who may be suspicious of them for no reason.  My friends who know that well, who have given their children just that lesson, they call it “walking while black”, or “driving while black”.

I struggle with how to help my girls understand that a boy, their same age, who knew people in common, was killed by a guy out to protect his neighborhood.  Do I call it a crime?  It’s not that simple.  Do I bring up race?  How can I not?

Will they, in a generation that may be the first to grow up color-blind, grasp how and why others are not?  And that there are people who are good people, who generally mean well, who may act in ways that are ugly and demeaning to others?  My girls have experienced prejudice because of our religion; that certainly gives them a foundation for understanding.  But how do you help a child understand the insidious culture of bigotry that breeds people who will be the first to genuinely deny they discriminate?

In the last few weeks, we have been to more than a few rallies in Sanford and South Florida, all those gatherings focused on a single, indignant, angry call for justice.  Whatever justice may turn out to be in Trayvon’s particular case, there is no denying the existence of injustice every day, on some level. Trayvon has just given it a focus, an icon.

Today, April 4th, marks the day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was fatally shot 44 years ago

Two generations later, in Sanford, Florida, his words blasted from speakers to thousands gathered in a public park: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

I agree with Ms. Milberg that there are so many conflicting things going on here. Unfortunately, as the days go by, the worse it gets. Now we have major national media outlets intentionally deceiving and misleading the public both in the 911 tapes and in video of George Zimmerman while being detained by police. Too many talking heads, too many people using the situation to divide us further for the sake of “air time”.

The conflicting evidence and what we know and don’t know is bad enough. It’s also bad enough that we’re not that close to finding out what really happened that night in February. But the real kicker is that the information we’re getting is in some cases being distorted through biased lens. On BOTH sides, but recently it’s the media who’s been taking a deserved hit apparently against Zimmerman.

Is it too much to ask for all media outlets to just stick with what we know? I’m afraid I know the answer to that question. I also wonder what Glenna Milberg thinks about this.

“I Have a Dream”

ImageToday, April 4th, is the 44th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s death. Dr. King was one of those truly transcendental figures that come around a couple of times a century, if not even less often.

” I Have a Dream”, his landmark speech delivered in August, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, are words than ring true today, words that although focused on the plight and efforts of American blacks and the civil rights movement of the time, apply to people of every race, creed and era. They speak a universal truth encoded in us by our Creator. We would be wise in 2012 to heed Dr. King’s wise and compassionate words.

Below is Dr. King’s speech in its entirety:

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor’s lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

Memorial for Unborn Children

The sculpture above is heart-breaking and stunning at the same time:

As an art student, Martin Hudáček of Slovakia was moved to create a sculpture to draw attention to the devastation abortion can bring to the woman, and to the fact that through the love and mercy of God, reconciliation and healing are possible.

The sculpture shows a woman in great sorrow grieving her abortion. The second figure in the work is the aborted child, presented as a young child, who in a very touching, healing way, comes to the mother, to offer forgiveness.

Martin, who named the work “Memorial for Unborn Children,” said the sculpture also “expresses hope which is given to believers by the One who died on the cross for us, and showed how much He cares about all of us.”

Read the full article here.

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