Thursday Open Thread

From the first article I read, I have been haunted by the death of 17-year-old  Trayvon Martin at the hands of an overzealous, self-appointed “neighborhood watch captain” who deemed the teen’s very presence suspicious. So George Zimmerman stalked Trayvon, confronted him and ended up shooting him with a 9mm handgun. Trayvon had walked to a convenience store for a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea. His only crime seemed to be Walking While Black. And Zimmerman? Hasn’t even been arrested yet.

If you haven’t yet, please read our very own Christina’s post about Trayvon. I’ve been so upset by this tragedy, this vicious, senseless act, but Christina’s post finally helped me pin down exactly what I’ve been feeling. It had me sobbing as I grappled with rage and fear and impotence. And now I think I know why Trayvon’s death hit so close to home: my son is brown. He might someday fall under the same “suspicion” that led to Trayvon’s murder. I pray for Trayvon, for his parents. I pray for all of us.

If you haven’t yet, please sign the petition urging for the prosecution of Trayvon’s murderer. Thanks to ongoing public pressure, the U.S. Department of Justice, the FBI, and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have launched their own investigations. Last night, the Sanford City Commission gave the police chief a vote of  no confidence, adding to a widespread call to oust him. Please, make your voice heard.

What’s on your mind today?

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21 thoughts on “Thursday Open Thread

  1. I can barely look at that picture of him without tearing up. I find myself so angry and sad about it. I’ve signed th petition and I’m pleased that the DOJ is now involved but I really want heads to roll on this one.

    • Yes. I’m really struggling with it. Yesterday a friend posted a picture of his one year old in a hoody with the hood up as part of the mobilization against this. And there smiled out this cute, innocent little baby and it just really triggered the whole horror for me as that’s all Trayvon was – an innocent kid getting a snack. I agree – I hope heads roll.

    • I’m with you…every time I see his face, my heart is broken, which is as it should be. What insane law this is, that’s number one. “Stand your ground”?? I read how the self-defense pleas have going up quite a bit since this law was enacted, it’s just downright unconscionable. And true, why do neighborhood watch people have guns? Zimmerman’s story is no less damning. I’m praying for this family and for this injustice.

  2. I suck at this stuff.

    So as I mentioned in the afternoon thread yesterday, my most favoritest co-worker had a stroke early yesterday morning. (By the way, I don’t think this was *completely* unexpected but that’s just a hunch.) They’re keeping him in the hospital at least through tomorrow, but as far as I can tell he’s expected to be fine and the effects, thus far, seem to be mostly physical. I texted him yesterday to tease him about telling me originally that he had just overslept because he stayed up too late doing his taxes, and we joked back and forth a few times. He told me he appreciated the humor (and I mean, I’m sure he did, we have that sort of relationship) but the truth is, I couldn’t think of anything sincere to say that wasn’t either completely trite or totally freaked out (which I am). For this reason it’s widely considered that one of my best personality traits is the ability to stay absolutely calm and focused in a crisis.

    Anyway, I’d love some ideas for something useful to do. It’s a small office (4 people) so we’re all pretty close. I’d say I’m closer to him than I am to anyone else in the office, but he probably wouldn’t say the same about me, if that makes sense. Like his wife called one of our other co-workers to update us yesterday.

    I was planning to text late morning or so and offer to (1) bring real food or reading materials to the hospital, (2) entertain his wife and/or kids for a couple hours [it's a long story, but they live in a different state--he lives here with his wife's brother and commutes back on weekends, but I assume that at least his wife will be coming down], and/or (3) bring food by the house over the weekend. Any other ideas?

    • I think all your suggestions are lovely (in other words, doesn’t sound to me like you suck at this!)

      And I think if you can keep in touch and lighten his mood a bit, that’s also a good thing.

      One thing that can be nice to take to someone in the hospital is fresh baked cookies [we are lucky to have a place here that will deliver them, but maybe you could grab some from a bakery]. It’s something you can share with your visitors and the staff, and who isn’t going to be extra attentive to the patient who gave you cookies? Also sometimes there are little personal items that people like to have — for me, lip balm and hand lotion — that aren’t provided at the hospital and that you might not think of when asking for your “essentials” like toothbrush, glasses, etc. Maybe you could find out if there’s anything like that he would need?

      Good luck — hope he is able to fully recover.

    • Having spent a few weeks in the hospital due to a stroke some years back, bringing real food is the MOST appreciative thing you can do (meaning he’ll appreciate it). 12 years later, I can still remember the awesome deli sandwich my hubby brought me. Next bring him something to do. I would have killed for a book, it sounds like he’s well enough to read or do sudoku or something. Lisa’s got it right about personal items. The worst thing about being in the hospital is your lack of your own stuff, like clothes. If it were now, I’d insist on my iPad so I could do something mindless like surf to cheer me up. You have great ideas!

      • He’s addicted to his Nook, so I’d imagine he has that already as well as his iPhone, and I’d imagine that his brother-in-law will take him personal stuff.

        From all the information I have, he’s supposed to be released tomorrow afternoon or Saturday (i.e. after 2-3 days), although who knows. We haven’t been told to count on him being out past Friday, although we also haven’t been told to count on him being back Monday. A few weeks? I’m sorry to hear that, it must have been really hard.

        So far I got “no, I’m fine, I don’t need anything, I just need to rest.” I’ll probably ask again tomorrow.

        I like Lisa’s cookies idea, although I want to see if I can verify first if his family is here, since they’re all gluten-intolerant except him. I make great gluten-free peanut butter cookies though.

        • Ah, it was more inconvenient to me. With a stroke if there’s no serious damage, it’s hard to feel like you’ve really been injured. As I recall, they kept changing my release date, so I think it’s the nature of having a stroke – there are so many variables, they want to make sure nothing will happen again.

          You’ve got a GF PB cookie recipe? I’ll take that! lol..that will surely make him feel better.

        • I would suggest when you text him with an offer of help that you offer something (or a couple of things) that are specific. When Lucy was in the hospital, or even when we just brought Clara home after her birth, I loved it when someone said to me, “I’m going to be out running errands, would you like me to drop you off some lunch?” or “I’m going to Costco, would you like me to pick you up one of those big bowls of fruit?” or whatever specific thing like that you can think of. When someone made a more vague offer, “do you need anything?” or “let me know if I can help,” I never could think of anything to ask for and they ended up not being offers I could take anyone up on. If /when the wife and kids come to town, maybe you could offer to take the kids for a bit so he and his wife can spend some time together. Even if you just take some bubbles and play with the kids in the hospital courtyard for 45 minutes, or take them down to the cafeteria to get ice cream, it might be really helpful. Kids get antsy hanging around in hospital rooms. OR just take it upon yourself to make a treat and drop it by, not expecting to stay. Just my .02…

          • I totally agree. The specific offer was, Would you like me to bring you some real food or reading material, or could I entertain your wife or kids for awhile? I couldn’t think of anything more specific. (The kids in question are 10 and 15, by the way.)

            This is somewhat complicated by not knowing what hospital he’s in, LOL.

            • Haha, so bubbles won’t be so entertaining for them! i was totally picturing smaller kids. Now I’m cracking up imagining you trying to blow bubbles for a teenager and a tweener who are skulking about in their hoodies.

              • They sound like great kids. I’ve never met them, but they seem like the sort of artsy, nerdy kid I was. Theater and painting and science experiments and word puzzles and so on. (Which doesn’t surprise me, since the co-worker in question is a little like working with myself … the first time we did a trial together, we showed up in matching suits.) Co-worker is … 42-43, maybe? It’s a young department; 30s and early 40s, except one person who’s about to retire (there are 4 people in my office, 4 more in a different office in the same department in a different city).

                I got the feeling when I texted, btw, that his family has not come down yet, which reinforces my impression that this was not completely out of the blue.

  3. This has really hit home with me, too. I have two not-white grandsons and this has been something I’ve worried about since they were born. Nicholas was born on the day after President Obama was elected. Great story, right? Bi-racial/bi-cultural baby born the day after we elect a bi-racial President of the United States. World seems full of promise. However, still fully occupying my mind was the fear inspired by the crowds Sarah Palin was drawing at her rallies and the over all race baiting nastiness that was going on. Remember all of the “Real Americans” crap? We knew exactly what she was talking about and as vividly as I remember President Obama’s election I also vividly remember thinking and saying that there was no way in hell I would ever allow my mixed race/culturally mixed family anywhere near one of those rallies.

    So, this has just a further reminder. It’s not a shock for me, sadly. It’s something that’s been on my mind as I’ve always said that some kids, and those would be the kids like my grandchildren, will probably never be able to have the same margin of error that my own children had. That’s just very sad, but now I also have it in my face again that their very lives are at much more risk.

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