Freedom and Responsibility
Freedom and Responsibility
July 8, 2013
Beyond Trayvon Martin Tragedy
Public Education In America
August 8, 2013

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By Janice S. Ellis, Ph.D., Kansas City, MO –

Beyond the Trayvon Martin tragedy, where George Zimmerman a white man took the life of an unarmed black teen, what is  going to be done to address the conditions and attitudes that created an ideal storm that brought it about?

At this time, everyone is talking about the conditions around Trayvon Martin’s death and the “Not Guilty” verdict delivered in the George Zimmerman trial. But when the demonstrations and marches cease and when some other problem catches the attention of talking heads and the news outlets, what will all elected officials, law enforcement officers, the judicial system, white, black and brown people all over the nation do?

What will we do?

Beyond Trayvon Martin Tragedy

At the end of the day, will purposeful change take place? Recall the Sandy Hook Catastrophe? Remember the despair, the pain and the outrage expressed when 26 people, 20 of them just 6 or 7 years old, were brutally gunned down in an elementary school in New Town, Connecticut?

There was all the conversation about the need to revisit and pass new gun control legislation. There was one expression of concern and outrage after the other for weeks. Congress held hearings on increased gun violence, the demand for better screening, more mental health services, and reduced access to military-style firearms.

What significant activities at the state, national or local grade happened as an outcome of it?

Beyond Trayvon Martin tragedy. victim portraits of Sandy Hook Elementary shootings

Beyond Trayvon Martin tragedy,

Will the “Stand Your Ground” laws, now running in over thirty states, still stay? Will more states embrace them? Will it require a black or another minority to kill someone white, “standing their ground” before serious activities to alter this law will happen? Beyond Trayvon Martin tragedy, what will we do?

Will we acknowledge and do something about the justice system that frequently doesn’t mete out punishment or penalty in equal portions for precisely the same violation in regards to black and white perpetrators?

And, what about racial profiling? Will each of us really take time to examine why we have and act upon the feelings we hold about minorities, the poor, the rich, the powerful, and every other class in which we frequently place individuals we do not trouble to get to know or comprehend?

Given all of the attention today about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, are you willing to wager the nation, your community, or might you actually do something about the conditions and perspectives behind the tragedy, and that we will find some purposeful change in the coming months and years?

At the very least, we each can make a honest attempt to better comprehend what and why we continue to discover ourselves in a racially- charged and divisive state. We must also be willing to own and take responsibility for our part in the dilemma. And, would not it be amazing, if we all commit, based upon who we are and where we are, to do something about it.

That could be the start for meaningful change to take place.

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Janice Ellis
Janice Ellis
Janice S. Ellis, PhD, is an award-winning author. Her book, From Liberty to Magnolia: In Search of the American Dream is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other major book sellers. She has written a column for newspapers, radio, and now online, where she analyzes educational, political, social and economic issues across race, ethnicity, age and socio-economic status. You can see her writings on this website.

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