Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sorrow In Joy

I feel quite certain that all of you have heard of the Trayvon Martin tragedy. I have been reading about it and hearing about it on NPR for days now and I haven't said anything because this space has mostly been about our new grandchild and family things and that is valid but I have to admit that it has been at the back of my mind this whole time.

If there are any of you who do NOT know about this case, it's the story of a seventeen year old boy in Sanford, Florida who was on his way back to his daddy's house with some Skittles and iced tea which he'd just bought and who was murdered by a self-proclaimed neighborhood watch guy. And the most shocking thing about the case is that the murderer was not arrested because he claimed self-defense.
Trayvon was black, his killer was what they are calling a "white Hispanic."
Well. The whole world is now watching and the police chief has "stepped aside."

And I have nothing to say, really, because what can I add to what has already been said? You know what I think- the same thing all of you think, which is that times have changed but not nearly enough. That it is still dangerous for a black youth to walk down the street, even in broad daylight. Even armed with nothing but a pack of candy and a can of tea.

Owen came over today. It was so lovely. He fell asleep on his way over and I carried him in the house and took off his shoes and he laid down on the bed and he slept for hours. I am sure that this new brother of his has shaken his world to its core, or at least, as he perceives it, and here he was at Mer-Mer's house where he takes such good naps, and he slept and it was beautiful. He got up and we went out to the front porch because the chickens were out there and he hasn't seen his chickens for awhile and he was so happy to see Elvis and the hens and we fed them some bread and while we were out there, a young black guy walked by the house. Lloyd, where I live, is a very mixed community. We are black, we are white, we are a multi-colored flock and there are college professors and there are changers-of-the-oil and tillers-of-the-soil and here we all are and we mostly get along fine but when something like the murder of Trayvon Martin happens, I can feel all of us open our eyes a bit wider.
It all affects all of us, whether it is the election of our first black president or yet another example of how racism is still alive and well in our country. In our STATE!
And this guy walked by and I said, as I usually do, "Hey, how you doin'?" and he looked me carefully in the eye and he said, "Fine. And you?" Polite as I'm sure his mama taught him. And then he said, "Hey," to Owen but Owen is shy and wouldn't look up and I said, "He's shy," and the guy smiled and went on but it got me in my heart.
I felt as if I should apologize to him but of course, that's ridiculous. There's no part of me which would shoot anybody for any reason I can imagine but still.
We ain't right yet. And it's not a joke and it leads to the murder of some one's child and it means that a young black male can't walk down the street where he lives on a beautiful spring day without having to wonder if someone (an old white lady in overalls with a little boy and chickens on the porch?) is a threat.

Okay. I've said my piece for now. Sort of.

Owen was a joy. Here he is on the tractor, showing me how he can steer with this entire body.

Here he is, playing with a "big boy" hammer on the floor of the kitchen with his Bop.

And here's a picture of Gibson, our newest boy, with his beautiful, proud Papa.

These are MY boys and Trayvon was someone's boy and my heart breaks to think that babies are still growing up in a world, in a country where the color of your skin makes you guilty before proven innocent. Where the very act of walking down the street can be perceived as a threat and you can be shot and your killer not arrested.

But here's the good news, if there is such a thing in a situation like this: The whole world is watching and you can't get away with shit like this any damn more. There WILL be an arrest and there WILL be a trial. You can count on that. And then...well, we'll see if justice is served or not but at least the process will be honored.
Eventually. I hope.

And I hope that the world my grandsons grow up in is a better one. At least when it comes to blind violent hatred. And dammit, that EVERY ONE'S grandsons grow up in a better one. And grand daughters, too! It seems like in so many areas we take one step forward and then one step back but slowly, slowly, progress HAS to be made so that everyone can be seen as a human being whether they are male or female, black or white or Hispanic or whatever. Gay or straight or bisexual or transgendered. Differently abled, rich and poor and in between. All of us, dammit. We are all part of the human race and we each deserve what anyone else deserves. Which is love and the ability to just be able to walk down the damn road without fear of being shot and killed.

Yours in peace and hope...Ms. Moon


  1. That is a terrible thing to have happen - the murder, yes, but no arrest? shameful. If it were the other way around, do you suppose a black man would not get soundly beaten as he were dragged to the police car and again into jail where he would sit and likely not have his side listened to until some day far in the future when his trial came up?

  2. This young man was smaller than his killer, alone and unarmed. I just can't believe anyone bought that self-defense crap at all. The whole thing is heart-breaking and infuriating and there is a part of me that would think it perfectly okay for someone to shoot Mr. Zimmerman. I'm not usually an eye-for-eye person. I'm just angry and dissapointed in us as a species. Damn it.

  3. It's been on my mind constantly. Gibson being born was a pleasant diversion from this horror, especially for those of us living in Florida. It blows my mind that Zimmerman is not in jail. I've been listening to NPR, too, and yes, Jeannie, they talked about how it would be so very different if the tables were turned.

    I hope all of our grandsons and granddaughters grow up in a better world. And with beautiful young people like the ones the Moons have raised, I do believe there's hope.

    Owen looks gorgeous and happy!

  4. Amen, Amen, Amen.
    An African American woman I know once told me as we stood in my kitchen after a get together, that when her son was born, she thought, "Oh dear, a boy, a son. I hope he survives." It stunned me then and still stuns me now. Sorrow in joy.

  5. Ms. Moon, the world makes no sense to me. Hate is everywhere. I can't even begin to wrap my head around it so instead I try to understand how his family will ever find a resolution to the needlessness of his death. I can only hope and pray that somehow they will get through this because of the all the people who are supporting them right now. Still, when this is forgotten about by the world in a month they will still be without their boy. It hurts my heart to think about it.

  6. So sad Ms Moon, racism is such a dreadful thing when it takes hold.

  7. I knew you would say the absolute right thing.

  8. The idea of how comparatively easy our lives are as middle class white folks compared with the more difficult lives of minorities here in our U.S. is huge. It is impossible not to feel guilty for how simple and easy my life is.

  9. I heard the tape- the 911 tape- on accident and it made me so sick to my soul that I still get waves of misery, and that is just me, a stranger, no one to them. To imagine how his mother feels? Impossible.
    It makes me feel a furious rage and heartsickness that is unfamiliar to me. That boys scream.

    I am so glad for Gibson. He is so beautiful and loved and let's hold that up.

  10. I sure hope you are right, Moon, that there will be justice. And I hope that the stupid Stand Your Ground law goes away. As Trayvon's mother stated: This isn't a matter of black or white. It is a matter of wrong or right.

  11. I have been reading your blog faithfully since the summer. I found you through Dr. Manning's blog and I have wished more than once to meet you and know you in person. I have never commented before, mostly because I have enjoyed the wisdom, peace, thoughtfulness of your words and felt that they were complete as you wrote them, and did not call for any comment or addition from me (it's hard to explain, I'm not doing a good job here, and I feel selfish for having absorbed what you radiated through your words so generously without giving back, but if thoughts and good will count, then I have been sending you regular large batches - for your trip to NC to visit Jessie, your strength in dealing with your mother's move, your vacation in Mexico, the birth of Gibson, your acting, or just ordinary days in Lloyd, etc. etc... I have earnestly wished and willed (and if I were a little more religious than you, I would have prayed, but the Church of Batshit Crazy is pretty much the only one I visit on a regular basis) happiness and wellness for you and everyone you love, practically on a daily basis, with each visit to your blog).

    Trayvon Martin's case has been tearing me apart for more than a week. I cannot bear to look at his picture - I, the mother of a sweet teenage boy who likes to wear hoodies, have been unable to come to terms with the fact that in the year 2012 my exceptional, kind, gifted, promising child can find himself in imminent danger for no other reason than the hue of his skin or the clothes on his back.

    I am grateful to you beyond words for not forgetting the loss of this innocent child's life, even while celebrating the beautiful treasure that has just arrived in your lives.

    May Gibson and Owen, and all our children, grow up to live in a better world and may they always be surrounded by love.

    In case I didn't make this clear - you are an absolutely amazing lady, your children and grandchildren are truly lucky to have you for a mother and grandmother, and I feel lucky that you have decided to share slivers of your life with a stranger like me! Thank you.

  12. It's all over the news here in Ireland too... The world is watching, what a tragic sad loss for that poor boy, his whole life stolen from him, I was thinking of him never getting to experience holding his own newborn baby, never get to sit back and watch his own children have children. Such a terrible loss for him and all those left behind, and for what??? I can't understand what makes a human heart so broken that it can justify taking a young innocent life the way he did..

  13. It's not just the racism of the shooter, it's those cops more specifically. No aspect of the current self defense law or a carry permit covers what happened, yet the cops just allowed the shooter to walk home. I've trained with officers many times, and any one of them would have arrested the shooter of that kid on the spot.

    The fix? it's in the little ones we're raising now. Keep adding decent ones to the mix and it has to get better.

  14. Jeannie- I just don't understand it either. I just don't.

    Beth- Me too. For all of us. Mostly mothers, I don't know why. Because that is my perspective, I guess.

    Stephanie- Well, I don't want Zimmerman shot. I can't say that. But I want him to have to go through the process which has to be gone through when one kills another. Justice must be at least attempted.

    lulumarie- It's too much, isn't it? It's too hard to take in. That's the weird thing. It's just too unbelievable that this could happen in 2012.

    Denise- It is a fact of life that you and I will never have to know and that fact alone is stunning.

    Birdie- You're right and I know exactly what you're talking about. This is not politics for the parents. It is so very and deeply tragic and personal. Their child was taken from them. Needlessly and senselessly. I just don't know how they'll manage to go on.

    Elisabeth- Racism is part of the human species, I think. It is fear of "the other." But as "evolved" humans, we should be able to get past it. It serves no purpose for us now. And there is more than racism, I think, at work here. I do.

    Elizabeth- I can only say what I feel from the perspective of my own life and heart. You know that. Thank-you.

    Rubye Jack- As a white woman, I have no idea. And then I am reminded of how I have no idea. And it shakes me to my core.

    Maggie May- Yes. Let us hold that up.

    Omgrrrl- Of course that is a bad law but even the writer of it has said that it did not apply to this situation.

    White Coat Dreamer- Well. You just made me cry. Sometimes I wonder why I do this- write this stuff and send it out and there. You just told me. I thank you for taking the time to write such eloquent words and giving them to me. Now I know that you're there and I will do my best to never let you down. I pray (in my own way to the universe) that your son remains safe. That you will have him for the rest of your life and that he will always be there to be the joy he is to you now. That he can live his life on the terms in which it was given to him- freely and with love and that the world can grow a little better every year of his life so that his sons will never have to know this sort of fear. That would be my prayer.

    Anonymous- Yes. What was broken so much in that man's heart that he could shoot someone like that? What?

    Magnum- You're right. There is so much that that is broken in this situation. So much that was done wrong. And none of it, as far as I can tell was Trayvon Martin's actions.

  15. Racism and religion, two subjects that are the cause of lots of grieve and annoyance. Costing lives.

  16. The news has reached Belgium Ms Moon.

    This is a link to a belgian newspaper site. Too sad for words.

  17. I have too many thoughts on the Trayvon Martin murder to even BEGIN to articulate them all, and really, you have said everything that needed to be said. Thank you.

    And I have been reading but had no time to comment, so belated congratulations on Gibson Monroe's (what an excellent name!)birth; it was and is beautiful, as are you and yours.

  18. I've been trying to avoid this story emotionally since I first read it, and the statement from his family. It's unbearable. The lack of action is unbearable. I don't really know what to say about it.

    There are plenty of people in the States who think racism no longer exists - I really can't imagine the ivory towers they're living in.

  19. put the sorrow on the shelf, dear mary. and send the guilt into outer space; you have no need of it, none at all. the world is what it is. gaze on your grandsons and know that in your corner of the world, there is goodness and kindness and conscience and love, and you made it so.

    and oh lord, that baby in your header is just luscious!

  20. Just sent you a petition. If any of the commenters here want to have their voice heard, please go to and sign the petition to get the man who shot this boy ARRESTED!

    I'm broken hearted for him and his family and friends and it is sad that this is one of the only things we can do to make a difference, but it is making a difference.
    Peace ya'll,

  21. Thank you for this beautiful articulation of what's wrong--and right--with America. I pray every day for the family who lost a loved one so unexpectedly. I pray every day for justice to roll down like waters. I pray every day for an answer, and I just don't have one. I know it's important to ask the questions, though, and you're asking all the right ones.

    Luscious is exactly the right word for your newest fella.

  22. I have been so sad about this case this week. I spoke with a friend who is shaken to the core. Her son is black, 16 and just as handsome and sweet faced as Trayvon was in his pictures. We go through our days, arguing with them over homework, driving them to baseball practice, feeding them their dinners and forgetting that they are big enough to be touched by this type of ugliness. My own boy is 13 and I think to myself, if some "neighborhood watchman" asked him what he was doing when he walked by, would he respond in some smartassed way? If that's what happened to set off the shooter? Would it be different because he's white? I just don't know how anyone could stand across from a CHILD especially... as he shouts for help... and pull a trigger.

  23. It harks back to the time when all a white had to say if he/she killed a black was "self defense" and it was accepted and swept under the carpet.

    No more, we can't let it be that way any more. Human is human.

  24. We think things have changed but have they really? I think that a lot of the hatred for the President is racially based. In this country, there are many who still hate black people. In this state, there are so many double standards. I don't see a brighter future unless the blacks and the Latinos build their political base and become activists. By sheer numbers , they will be able to make changes and wrest power from the white conservatives.


Tell me, sweeties. Tell me what you think.