This weekend was filled with joy, pain, and reassurance my generation is smarter than you think. While many believe we’re texting and tweeting away, we’re out making noise and taking a stand. Over the years, there’s been one tragedy after the other. The story of Trayvon Martin not only grabbed America’s attention but the little brown kids of the burbs, the hood, and everywhere in between.
We will all remember where, when and how we felt when the verdict for George Zimmerman came in late Saturday night. I was just getting home from work, exhausted but happy to relax. Before I can rest my toes and find out the plans for the night, the verdict of George Zimmerman scrolled across my Instagram timeline. “Not Guilty” was all I saw at 10:02 p.m.
Moments later I heard two gunshots. Then a couple more.
Flustered, I turned on my T.V. The news was flooded with the verdict that George Zimmerman was found not guilty for the murder of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin. We all the know the story, but what happened after was something beautiful.
Like many, I attended one of the rallies in New York Sunday afternoon. I ended up in Union Square park with journalist, activist and writer Kevin Powell. Powell, with his group BK Nation began a discussion and a stage for young people to voice their opinions about the New York laws of 16 and 17 year-olds being tried as adults and how it connects to Trayvon Martin. Like many open discussions,the subject was lost while people talked about their own struggles and the war against the the laws that created America.
While it was evident online that we as a “lost generation” were upset, and distraught (hence the ignorance of people firing guns in the air and online threats to Zimmerman.) What bloomed from the rally wasn’t anticipated arrests or fights like we’re so naive to expect.
What were heard were voices of many races, gender and age describing what Trayvon meant to them-together. There were barely (if any) insults to Zimmerman, and no one wanting to start a riot. At the end of the day, there was grief, sorrow and an overwhelming feeling of complete strangers coming together and making the common area for hipsters, beggars, and baby boomer chess players a platform for change. Sure the subway was blocked by teens stacked together like a human totem pole, but it didn’t matter. A group of girls bought water for thirsty protesters (thanks guys!) and some even sang tunes to keep our spirits up. Powell and his crew didn’t get an exact answer to their question, but instead what young mothers, fathers, students and professionals believed would help prevent the modern day Emmett Till tragedy from happening again. What I’ve learned from this and the stories of Kendrick Johnson, Oscar Grant, Troy Davis and Occupy Wall Street is that the perception of my generation is flawed and I believe a lot of older people realized it too.
We’re not just behind keyboards trolling away at gossip sites, or obsessing over current trends. It’s a small part of what we do, not who we are. There were strong ideas and views coming from my generation Sunday and it will probably never reach a news channel and that’s fine.
We listened and we gave our voices to Trayvon and the injustice we witnessed Saturday night. We stood with children, grandmothers, and professors and learned one simple thing. Division wouldn’t help bring Trayvon back, anger towards the NYPD or Florida won’t change the verdict. As people chanted “No justice, no peace” the voices of the lost generation were found-shared, tweeted, emailed and texted. And for the ones that haven’t noticed it -open up your eyes and realize this: the world is ours.