It is with a heavy heart that I write this article. I thought, I hoped, and I prayed that those immoral, unconscionable days of racially motivated slayings of people such as Emmett Till, Yusuf Hawkins, and James Byrd were behind us. But those days gone by are not gone by at all.
We must now include the names of Trayvon Martin and Shaima Alawadi to that seemingly innumerable list as well. But they are in good company, for that list also bears the names of Medgar Evers, Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner - the three civil rights workers slain in Mississippi, among others.
We must be ever so careful to not forget that the shedding of innocent blood is a travesty of the worst kind and that no one’s life or death should ever be hinged upon the color of their skin or the nation from which they originated.
The beating of Shaima Alawadi with a tire iron in her own home was even more senseless than the murdering of Trayvon by another crazed bigot who chased after him on that rainy night.
Mrs. Alawadi, the mother of five children, was barbarically beaten on the head in her house in a suburb of San Diego and was found unconscious by her 17 year old daughter on March 21st.
Next to her lay a note written by her assailant that read “go back to your country you terrorist”. Shaima died three days later. Her murderer is still at large.
The murder of Trayvon Martin back in February has of course been the most significant topic in the news as his assailant, George Zimmerman, is still free.
Though Trayvon’s death was over a month, I chose to wait until now to respond, given the ongoing investigation and the media hype surrounding the case.
I wanted to wait until enough information and facts were available before I lifted up my voice.
And after Monday night’s report by ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, I can say with a great deal of confidence that it seems to have indeed been murder and not self defense as Zimmerman claims.
According to the report, an expert viewed the video of Zimmerman being taken into the police precinct after the shooting.
Zimmerman had claimed that he was brutally assaulted by Trayvon, yet besides two small welts on the back of his head, Zimmerman showed no other physical signs of a brutal attack. There was no traces of blood anywhere on him, according to the expert, who used digital enhancement software to clear up the fuzzy images from the videotape.
A relative of Zimmerman’s claimed that his nose had been broken during the altercation, but again, according to the expert, this also seems to be false because Zimmerman’s nose showed no signs of being disfigured.
The following timeline of events regarding the killing of Trayvon Martin was taken from ABC.com -
“Below is a timeline of events:
Feb. 26: Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old Florida high school student, is found shot and killed in Sanford, Fla., a community north of Orlando.
Several eyewitnesses report to police that they heard a scuffle, then a cry for help, and then a gunshot.
According to the Sanford police report, George Zimmerman, 28, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain, is found armed with a handgun, standing over Martin. He has a bloody nose and a wound in the back of his head.
Martin is unresponsive and pronounced dead at the scene. He has no weapons on him, only a pack of Skittles and a bottle of iced tea.
Zimmerman tells police he killed Martin in self defense. Taking him at his word, police do not arrest him, nor administer a drug or alcohol test.
March 9: Trayvon Martin’s family demands that police release the 911 tapes or make an arrest nearly one month after Martin was killed. Police declined to comment at the time, but told ABC News the tapes would be released the following week.
March 13: ABC News uncovers questionable police conduct in the investigation of the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.
Sanford Police Chief Billy Lee said there is no evidence to dispute George Zimmerman’s assertion that he shot Martin out of self defense.
March 16: Police recordings made the night George Zimmerman allegedly shot and killed Trayvon Martin sent the boy’s mother screaming from the room and prompted his father to declare, “He killed my son,” a family representative tells ABC News.
ABC News affiliate WFTV publishes excerpts from the 911 calls.
One of several petitions for Zimmerman’s arrest has garnered more than 250,000 signatures on a change.org site. At one point signatures were pouring in at the rate of 10,000 an hour, according to the website.
March 18: Trayvon Martin’s family asks U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and the FBI to get involved in the investigation of their son’s death.
March 19: A 16-year-old girl tells Benjamin Crump, the Martin family’s attorney, about the last moments of Trayvon Martin’s life. Martin was on the phone with her when George Zimmerman began following him. She recounted that she told Martin to run, then she heard some pushing, then the line went dead.
The U.S. Justice Department announces it has launched an investigation into Martin’s slaying.
ABC News also learns that Zimmerman violated major principles of the Neighborhood Watch manual, which states, “it should be emphasized to members that they do not possess police powers, and they shall not carry weapons or pursue vehicles.”
The State Attorney’s office in Seminole County, Fla., announces that a grand jury will review the evidence of the case on April 10.
March 20: Sanford police department admits to ABC News that investigators missed a possible racist remark by the shooter as he spoke to police dispatchers moments before Trayvon Martin’s killing.
March 21: Sanford city commissioners conduct a vote of “no confidence” against embattled Police Chief Billy Lee at a heated city council meeting. Three of five commissioners vote against the chief.
The city manager now decides whether or not to let Lee go.
Martin’s parents join hundreds of protesters in New York City for the “Million Hoodie March,” demanding justice for the slain 17-year-old.
A single online petition calling for George Zimmerman’s arrest has nearly 900,000 signatures and is now the fastest growing petition in internet history, according to change.org. Tweets from celebrities, such as Justin Bieber and Spike Lee, helped fuel wide interest in the case.”
And now an expert have viewed the digitally enhanced video and after listening to the 911 call made during the incident, a voice expert has determined that the voice heard screaming in the call was not that of George Zimmerman.
It was more likely Trayvon’s screams.
What Can We Learn?
1) We can learn that we should not take the violent and unjustifiable death of ANYONE for granted – Even though I am a Christian, I feel the hurt and pain of Shaima Alawadi’s death. We are all diminished as human beings, for her brutal and unnecessary murder. I fought back as many tears for Shaima as I did for Trayvon. Her having been Moslem does not in any way decrease the sadness in my heart for her tragic death. In fact, I am even more saddened because she died simply because of someone’s hatred of her heritage.
2) We can learn that NONE OF US CHOSE the skin that we are in – We cannot choose our parents, our race, our nationality, or our economic status at birth. Trayvon could not choose to be a White 17 year old wearing a hoodie, which he had over his head to protect him from the rain that night. Trayvon had no ability to change his race, just as Shaima had no way of changing her Iraqi ancestry. We are all subject to these limitations, therefore, it behooves us to remember this before judging anyone, especially when it comes to race and nationality. Being a Black teenager in a hoodie makes no one any more a criminal than being a White male in a suit makes you a honest and upright citizen. If you don’t believe me then think about Bernie Madoff and Kenneth Lay (remember Enron?), two of the biggest crooks of the last decade. And equally so, no one should equate Shaima’s religion of Islam or her Iraqi heritage with “being a terrorist”. Neither she nor any woman should be threatened, let alone brutally murdered because they wear a hijab.
3) We can learn that when someone is murdered, they are not murdered alone – Trayvon and Shaima were not the only ones killed on those tragic days, their families were murdered as well. Each of them had a family that envisioned them as doing something great with their lives. Trayvon’s parents will forever be imprisoned in the memory of what, of who Trayvon could have become, could have done. They will never be able to walk freely in their own home ever again – because they must at some point, pass by the bedroom that he once occupied. They must see the bed that he slept in, see the walls where pictures of him and his favorite belongings hang, see the doorway that he gleamingly walked in and out of on his way to school or to a friend’s house. His parents were murdered that night as well – their bodies are still here with us, but their thoughts will ever reflect upon and their lives will never truly be as sweet without Trayvon. And their hearts will ever be entombed with him in that casket, in a sepulcher of murdered dreams, murdered hopes.
Likewise, the five children of Shaima Alawadi will never caress her face again, they will never share a conversation filled meal with her ever again. She will never again see them off to school, kiss their foreheads, or show the compassion and give the comfort that only a mother knows how to. Her husband – before March 21st, he would pull out a picture of his beautiful wife and smile with joy; he will never look at her picture and be able to smile ever again. Now, he will only cry and through his tears, mouth “Shaima, Shaima!” Do not make the tragic mistake of thinking that her assailant murdered her alone, for lying beside her body are the lifelong memories of her husband, her children, her parents, her native homeland of Iraq, her current homeland of America. We were all murdered a little when she and Trayvon died because we will never know what greatness they were going to bring to our country, to our lives.
3) We can learn that Cain was wrong; we are our brothers’ keeper (Gen. 4:9) – We are responsible for each other and have a divine ordinance to “Love Thy Neighbor” (everyone around you) As Ourselves. If we dare to forget that, then we risk being a victim of hate and bigotry ourselves because your son could be the next Trayvon or your mother or wife could be the next Shaima. So seek justice for Trayvon and Shaima – pray that their murderers be brought to justice. As it stands, their blood is upon their murderers' hands, but if we as Americans fail to demand justice for them, then their blood is upon us all as well.
Here Endeth The Lesson.
Please click on the link below to sign the petition to arrest George Zimmerman for the murder of Trayvon Martin -