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News from the Hill July 22, 2013 | back to index

Searching for perspective on the Trayvon Martin verdict


Andover Newton President Nick Carter issued the following statement on the July 13 acquittal of Florida neighborhood watch member George Zimmerman in the 2012 shooting of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin:

The verdict

The trial in the Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman case came to a conclusion last week, but the jury’s decision was not the verdict the nation awaited. The Latin root of the word verdict is “truth-saying,” and the folks in that Florida courtroom did everything they could to avoid it. Martin’s race was on trial and it was avoided. Zimmerman’s embodiment of a fear-ridden national obsession with guns and “standing your ground” was on trial and it was avoided.  The jury deliberated over the facts and the nuances of the law, but not the truth.

Today the architecture of fear dominates our communities, as well as national and international borders. Fear sells security systems, guns and newspapers, but it doesn’t create communities. Ironically, the walls we build and the weapons with which we arm ourselves do little other than add to our ignorance and ensure the likelihood that tragedies like this will happen again.

As people of faith we must realize when an idea of security only separates us and compounds our fears of each other it is a false god. As a school we are committed to preparing new generations of faith leaders and truth-seekers. In the case of Trayvon Martin we must admit to our students that truth has eluded capture. But we must also admit our rectitude requires the fortitude to recognize that racism and insecurity are pandemic and not confined to Florida courtrooms.