To the parents of Trayvon Martin, I don’t personally know you, but I pray that this message somehow finds its way to you. You have had thousands of people offer their condolences over the past year, and I am sure that you have received many sentiments concerning the verdict.

I would like to offer some sensitive but much needed advice. As much as you may not be up to it, you need to put your legal & business hats on. There are a lot of people that are going to attempt to take advantage of your misfortune. As you have already seen, Trayvon’s name and image is popping up on everything from baseball caps to t-shirts. Please make sure that you have his name and image copyrighted and licensed. There are people with little to no moral turpitude and they will surely capitalize on the current momentum.
With that being said, there is nothing wrong with mobilizing and rallying behind the Martin family, because the issue is so much greater than this one moment. It was a similar situation in the summer of 1955 when a young boy named Emmett Till was brutally beaten and murdered for whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. The men who did this were tried and acquitted, even with eyewitnesses. Yet, his death galvanized the black community across America when his mother refused to have a closed casket funeral because she wanted the world to see the type of hatred that permeated America.

Once again, America, your slip is hanging. You are showing the world your true colors. You are letting those that you preach human rights to see that your platform of perfection is not so perfect.

The black community in 1955 rallied behind Mamie Till (Emmett’s mother) and the civil rights movement was ignited. Several months later in December of the same year a Lady by the name of Rosa Parks decided enough is enough and refused to relinquish her seat to a white man. She was arrested, but she just happened to work for the NAACP, and the organization organized a boycott, and in the process, recruited a young black minister by the name of Martin Luther King Jr. to head the movement. At the time all those involved were ordinary people living ordinary lives, but they met their moment with faith, courage and determination.

This was not a racial flare-up, no, this was a stand. This was not a moment in which riots would be followed by silence. This was not a moment where blacks were concerned about the opinion of their white associates. This is where the ordinary became extraordinary when the faith (revealed through their actions) of common people met the power of God and created the perfect storm.

God has been presenting opportunities for us to stand for years, but people and organizations sought to use them for personal and political gain. We are upset because of the injustice we witnessed with the Martin family, but black families have been experiencing this same pain for years. We all have stories of racism and hatred.

I am not preaching hatred of any race; that would make me worse than those I speak out against. In fact, I must admit that even right now, some of my strongest supporters are white. With that being said those who are truly my friends and my family in Christ will support me supporting my people.

In his “I Have A Dream” speech Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the “Urgency of Now”. He warned against taking “The tranquilizing drug of gradualism”. Martin warned the nation that the discontent of the black man would not subside until his concerns had been addressed. He asserted that there could be no tranquility in America as long as the black man was still not free. Dr. King gave his life in pursuit of this dream. Medgar Evers died in pursuit of this dream. Blacks were beaten, sprayed with fire hoses, and bitten by dogs in pursuit of this dream.

Somewhere along the way, we lost our focus. Somewhere along the way “kind of” became good enough. Somewhere along the way we became satiated with minimal progress. I would suggest the dream has faded. I would suggest that the vividness of this dream that once drove our people to stand, even to the point of death, has been darkened by the lethargy of a generation of mediocre people. It has become acceptable for the black man to meander through the maze of mediocrity. It has become the common course of action for blacks to settle for dwarfed goals and colorless dreams. It has become the way life for blacks to be patted on the back in lieu of fair compensation.

We are a people that descend from royalty, our pedigree is that of aristocracy. We have the blood of kings and rulers coursing through our veins. I want to believe that Trayvon Martin did not die in vain. I want to believe that we have finally come to a point where enough is enough. I want to believe that we will not be willing to go quietly into the night having made some noise but receiving no response. I want to believe that we are ready to show America that this mobilization was more than just a hand full of black people looking to blow off some steam.

Just as Dr. King implied, we cannot allow this nation to return to business as usual.  We cannot allow another injustice to be swept under the rug. We must come together and collectively determine what we seek. We must be willing maximize our economic power and refrain from patronizing anyone that does not support us.

Yes, the majority of us are Christian people, and you may be concerned about what this means for you, but Christianity has never been a passive movement. We must be willing to stand and take what we rightfully deserve. This movement is not about hatred, and it is not antithetical to the Christian faith. This is about understanding that prayer without faith is powerless and faith without works is dead. We have been praying to God and He has been telling us to stand. Not riot, stand; not whine, stand; not finger point; stand; not pass the buck; stand.

I am not speaking of grasping at entitlements. Entitlement have crippled our race and made us easy prey for those who would seek to manipulate and exploit us. If we would unite and stand as one, not one of us would have to ask the government for anything. We have been conditioned to cheat ourselves. This is where it ends. Trayvon Martin cannot be just another dead black kid in America. Trayvon Martin has to become the battle cry of a restless people. Trayvon Martin must become the icon of solidarity that drive us to a place of discontent. We must wake up and remember the feeling of emptiness that we felt when that verdict came down.

I tell you my brothers and sisters: If we don’t see change, we have no one to blame but ourselves. ~

Dr. Rick Wallace

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