not guilty

You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also..."  + Matthew 5: 38-39 

Six jurors reached a decision last night: George Zimmerman is “not guilty” of murder, and yet he shot a seventeen year old, unarmed teenager coming home from the store.

I don’t care that he had gold teeth, took photos of himself flipping off the camera, smoked pot, or was suspended from school (I’ve done two out of those four things myself).  

But, here’s what I do care about: it took forty-four days for the police to arrest Zimmerman and sixteen months for the case to come to trial.  What’s more, Zimmerman somehow became the victim and, as if that’s not enough, the judicial system made it crystal clear that racial profiling is alive and well not only in life and but also in life after death.

What hurts my heart the most is that our country’s history of violence against people of color, especially black men, keeps repeating itself over and over and over again.  The lynchings of the “past” have not ceased, the anxiety and fear that was aroused during Reconstruction are still metastasizing and spreading, and our legal and governmental systems seem to be fueling the deadly fire.

Desmond Tutu, South African social rights activist, Anglican priest, and lion of justice, once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.  If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

To this end, SALT is planning to shoot a short film (to be released in 2014) in partnership with WFYI and Christian Theological Seminary to mark the 75th anniversary of Billie Holiday's first recording of "Strange Fruit," which was written by Abel Meeropol after seeing a photograph of the 1930 lynching of Thomas Shipp and Abram Smith in Marion, Indiana.  We will dedicate this film to Trayvon Martin and to victims of violence everywhere.

Praying for both the elephants and the mice,

The SALT Team