Dear Trayvon's Mom
by Jen Hatmaker on March 26th, 2012

My name is Jen Hatmaker. I’m super white. I even have blue eyes. My hair was snow blonde then it was dirty brown and now it’s gray but I color it so who even knows anymore? (I’m sorry. I overshare when I’m nervous.) My husband and I cranked out three carbon copies of us.
Look at us. We were the poster family for white people.
 

I grew up in the lower middle class. In my early years, we lived in racially diverse cities. I was the only white girl in my second grade class in Little Rock, Arkansas, a fact I was oblivious to, because you get the luxury of being oblivious when you’re seven. I lived in south Louisiana, where there is every shade of skin color under God’s yellow sun. But I logged my formative middle and high school years in Wichita, Kansas…Haysville, Kansas to be exact. Pretty much total white bread. 

I nonchalantly enjoyed my white privileges my entire adult life, one of those people who said “racism is dying” and “things are different now” and “we’re colorblind” and casual ignorance like that. I gushed and over-loved any black people in my life, of which there were very few; none in a real relationship with me that wasn’t exaggerated and a little contrived and over-zealous.

But then we decided to adopt two children from Ethiopia, and in November 2010, as I was shopping for their very first care package to send over, I was standing in the middle of the Target toy aisle, and I sent out this SOS text:

Where are all the black baby dolls? 

I sat down in the middle of Target and cried my eyes out.

How did I never notice this? How was this my first sense of outrage over this discrepancy? How could I have yammered about the end of racism and “a fair system” when evidence to the contrary was staring me in the face every single day?

Sybrina, please envision me getting down on my knees in front of you, this white mama, and asking you to forgive me. I never understood the systemic racism that persists in this country, because I didn’t have to. The system is structured to grant me privileges and power through no merit of my own; simply by virtue of my skin color. This same system denies and protects this oppressive hierarchy, conditioning white people to not even see it.

We don’t get followed around in the store by suspicious security.

We don’t get singled out or searched by policemen.

The bandaids in Walmart all match our skin color.

The children’s section in the bookstore is full of covers with white kids.

If I ask to speak to a manager, he or she is usually white, like me.

And our sons don’t get murdered walking down our own street holding Skittles. 

So because these things didn’t happen to me, I ignorantly assumed they were not happening to you. I casually consumed my white privileges – these unearned assets that granted me the benefit of the doubt and free passes and guaranteed security and permanent insider status – assuming that anyone else, anyone, could enjoy these same advantages by making good choices and working hard.

But it is simply not true, because the same system that keeps me on top keeps you on bottom. If anyone is automatically granted insider status, by definition that means someone has outsider status. We see this when a black student or man or woman accomplishes something extraordinary, and they are called “a credit to their race.” If a white person pulled off the same thing, he would just be called awesome. You have to work harder for acknowledgment, and then singling it out as an exception to the rule diminishes and demeans your merit.

I didn’t know about the Black Male Code, because I didn’t have to. I had the luxury of knowing my sons would breeze through applications and security lines and entrance exams and interviews, receiving unmerited approval at the first glance.

But then I got this son.



And I watched in horror as this son was cut down in the prime of his life.


And my heart was seized in terror. Because everyone loves my Ben right now. Who wouldn’t? He’s eight and the size of a first grader. He’s adorable and silly. His Ethiopian accent is the cutest thing that has ever entered your ears. He’s writing stories about “A Dog as the President” and he wears and a helmet and kneepads when he skates. He watches Power Rangers.

But I’m learning what is going to happen six years from now, Sybrina. People will start to suspect him for no reason, or train a watchful eye on him at the mall, or fear him. He may ask a white girl to prom, one he has gone to school with since these innocent years, and get his heart crushed when her daddy forbids it. He will have to be careful in public with his friends, as the most innocent activity will likely be interpreted as threatening…like walking down the street with candy and tea in his own neighborhood.

I have grieved endlessly for your son. I just keep trying to make sense of it, and sense won’t come. There is simply no sense in this injustice. You don’t get to murder a teenage boy because you’re paranoid and suspicious of him. You don’t get to do that. Would this have happened if Trayvon was a white kid named Troy? Would he have been viewed with the same fear? Will our black sons ever escape this treacherous plight and just be free to be children? 

I’m ashamed that I haven’t seen or cared about this inequity until I had black kids under my roof, Sybrina. I’m so sorry. I would completely understand if you dismissed my solidarity here, because just two years ago I claimed America was a post-racial country, and that is a sorry state of willful ignorance. Neglecting the hard, important conversations about race, justice, ignorance, and inequity until I literally had skin in the game is appalling, and if you reject my concern now, I wouldn’t blame you.

But if you’ll have me, I’d like to stand with you.

I’d like to link arms and stand up for our black sons and daughters, calling the system so wrought with disparities to reform. I want to engage these challenging discussions with respect and commitment to one another, because I can no longer be complicit in the battle against equity.

We’re going to have to work hard here, because it’s tempting to make sweeping statements and unfair generalities. It's easy to say things are all bad or all good or never this or always that, and that's not true and won't get us far. Both of our races are wrought with fools and charlatans and bigots; none of us are perfect and this is complicated. It’s going to take respect and humility to navigate this well, to begin pulling the threads to unravel such an entrenched system. But I want to start here, with you:

I see Trayvon.

I know he wasn’t a perfect kid. He probably opened up a sassy mouth to you and whined about chores. His room might have been a pigsty no matter how much you fussed at him (but with a face like that, I’m sure he got away with it). Like all seventeen-year-old sons, he probably drove you crazy sometimes, pushing against the boundaries barely holding him back from young adulthood, anxious to spread his wings. But he was the son of your heart and he mattered and he deserved life.

I am devastated it was stolen.

Please know that as for me, I promise to do the hard work and ask the hard questions and enter the difficult places to turn the tides for my son and all the black sons, and I grieve that it is too late for yours. I hope the national outcry for Trayvon has comforted you; so many of us see him. We are hungry for a better world where our boys can walk down the street unafraid and unfeared.

Please accept my hand; I stand with you, two moms demanding more for our sons. I am sorry you’ve lost Trayvon, my sister. I’m so very sorry. May his legacy help us move into a wider space together, tearing down walls and stereotypes and fear and building communities where we truly love our neighbor once again.

All my love to you.



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607 Comments

Sarah Beals - March 26th, 2012 at 10:12 AM
Beautifully written, Jen. Sharing.
Name - March 27th, 2012 at 9:26 AM
Beautifully written. Please dont turn this into a race issue.All the facts arent out so please dont judge.Here in Spokane a white man was beaten and died .He was beaten by a black youth and I have yet to hear anyone turning this into a race issue. Please be careful not to make this a race issue this only makes what happened a reason to hate and not trust.BE proud of whatever race you are and never apoligize for being white.....
Stewart - March 27th, 2012 at 10:03 AM
How can this not be a racial issue when Zimmerman referred to Trayvon with a racial slur? The author is not apologizing for being white, she is apologizing fro being blind to the racism that minorities live every day. Was the black youth you spoke about in Spokane charged and arrested? If he or she were not arrested and there was a black Police Chief and the head, it most certainly would be a racial issue.

chad - March 27th, 2012 at 12:09 PM
If this country was racicst why do we have a black president? This is america and we all have somthing called due process which mr zimmerman will not get cause every one is wantig justice, the facts r not out but everyone is jumping to conclusions. And by the way trevon would not been in this situation cause he was suspende from school for having weed, if that was my son he would have been grounded to the house.
Jacquie J - March 27th, 2012 at 12:32 PM
Oh Chad...this letter to Trayvon's mother is all about being willfully ignorant of the white default that America is set to and ignoring the racism that still exists because it doesn't apply to you. Yes, we have a black president...who has been the only president in the history of the US to be so blatantly disrespected and discredited regardless of any good he does. A president who has had, and continues to have, his very citizenship and religious affiliation brought into question for no other reason than his name is Obama. A president whose image has been presented as a gorilla. Wake up and look around...racism is alive and well, and it exists regardless of whether it affects you directly or not.
Jennifer - March 27th, 2012 at 1:08 PM
Oh my goodness, Jacquie, YES! A hundreds times, yes! Thank you for saying this.
Cristi - March 27th, 2012 at 1:42 PM
Awesome reply. Thank you!
Meaghan - March 27th, 2012 at 2:49 PM
Well said Jacquie!!
Cherylss - March 27th, 2012 at 5:15 PM
My sentiments exactly. I was defriended by someone on Facebook for the simple fact that I support Obama.
Al - April 5th, 2012 at 7:05 AM
My brother no longer speaks to me because I voted for Obama. Well written Jen, and a perfect reply Jacquie.
Jamie - May 18th, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Wow! Sorry to hear that you've lost the oneness with your brother, praying that your relationship will be healed, I lost my brother suddenly and would pay any price to just have a last word with him! #lifeistooshort

Tracey - March 27th, 2012 at 7:58 PM
Chad are you just blind or what - where are you living? Where do you hang out -the America the beautiful and the free "REALLY" - don't get me wrong it is better here than other places but racism is here and if you don't see it and breathe it then you must be a while male - I truly believe the guy was crazy and alot played a part in it like just getting away with alot but the fact remains he was treated unjust and still is
SC - March 27th, 2012 at 9:22 PM
Nail on the head!
Jolie - March 29th, 2012 at 1:57 AM
Amen. To this BEAUTIFUL POST and this VERY TRUE COMMENT. From one very white, southern momma living in AL in her almost all white neighborhood but grieving for all the Trayvons in the US who are judged just by the color of their skin and their hoodie. May God open our eyes to LOVE OUR NEIGHBORS AS HE HAS TAUGHT US, WHEREVER THAT NEIGHBOR MAY BE!
Will - March 29th, 2012 at 4:43 PM
TGHe only president to be blatantly disrespected? come on, the eight years before didnt have swatikas and nazi references. you just being willfully ignorant.

Jim - March 30th, 2012 at 7:32 PM
KS white bread complicity is so pop fundametal/evangelical main stream. Thanks for sharing your whole multigrain Karis SHALOM Agape counter cultural response sister. I too grew up in KS and have worshipped at FBC Haysville back in the 90s.
Rae' - March 29th, 2012 at 8:08 PM
Jacquie, thank you! Well said!
NurseCinnamon - March 30th, 2012 at 12:00 AM
OMG!!! Jackie! Right on!!!!
Lady G - March 30th, 2012 at 3:35 PM
ABSOLUTELY TRUE
Name - April 6th, 2012 at 9:22 AM
Beautifully said.
ryan - January 9th, 2013 at 10:39 PM
Bush was disrespected just as much as Obama...and of course it's a default to race and could never be based on disagreements in policy.
alana - March 27th, 2012 at 12:47 PM
FOR WHATEVER REASON IT STILL HAPPENED. U WON'T KNOW HOW IT FEELS TILL IT HITS HOME.
caresse - March 27th, 2012 at 3:47 PM
Chad you are still blinded by your privilege of whiteness. And you are out of touch with reality.
Cindy - March 27th, 2012 at 4:29 PM
Chad, you also forget (as so many seem to forget) that our president is also 1/2 white and was raised by a white woman. Why is it people only seem to see the color of one's skin?? And how many young people try weed?? Were yoou always perfect?? I doubt it.
Just me

Donielle - March 27th, 2012 at 6:30 PM
Amen. Yes we have a dark colored president, yet everyone wants to say he is the FIRST BLACK president.....when he is actually the first dark colored mixed president! (america is a mixing pot of races!) We will never know what the entire true story is, though I know these parents or any parents should ever have ti go through this kind of pain!
Karen - March 27th, 2012 at 6:11 PM
I totally do not support Obama, but it has nothing to do with his race. There are black people I would vote for. We just went to a conference primarily to hear Voddie Baucham speak. Don't turn my disdain for socialism into a race issue. The man who shot Trayvon was wrong based on the part of the story I have heard. My heart goes out to his mother, and his death makes me sad.
Name - May 5th, 2012 at 8:46 AM
Thank you Karen!!!
Denise - March 27th, 2012 at 6:38 PM
Chad, actually Trayvon wouldn't be in this situation if Mr. Zimmerman hadn't killed him.
Deborah - March 29th, 2012 at 2:17 PM
Thank you Denise. Chad open your eyes to the truth and then receive it and hear it you are very lost.

Will - March 29th, 2012 at 5:26 PM
Actually, Trayvon would not be in that position if he hadn't punched mr. Zimmerman in the nose and began pounding his head in to the pavement. You do know there is an eye witness to this?
rose - March 29th, 2012 at 11:43 PM
Umm sorry but Zimmerman wouldent of had to (if he did at all) if he was not following treyvor and went home like 911 told him. Plain and simple he put himself in the situation . So how on earth was he in fear for his life? He started it by stalking this kid.
Christopher - April 3rd, 2012 at 7:53 AM
911 did tell him that he didn't need to follow Trayvon, but then asked for the address. So he kept going in the same direction until the end of the street to look at the street name, then went back to his car where Trayvon FOLLOWED Zimmerman, and Trayvon then proceeded to beat down Zimmerman.
It is definitely a sad situation.
LolaS - April 4th, 2012 at 9:18 PM
Actually, if you'd bother to read the police report AND the eyewitness accounts, there's no way Trayvon followed Zimmerman to his car (like Zimmerman claims). Trayvon's body was found no where near Zimmerman's vehicle. Plus, none of you knuckle heads use an ounce of common sense. If Trayvon was actually sitting atop of Zimmerman when he got shot at point blank range, why is there not one speck of his blood on Zimmerman's clothing? And if Zimmerman got his head beat in and his nose broken, why is there not one speck of his own blood on his clothing? We even have a witness who heard Zimmerman approach and engage Trayvon, not the other way around as he claims.
Zimmerman instigated this entire thing and then filled in the blanks to make himself look like the innocent victim. And he has a host of people like you who aren't smart enough to see right thru it. What a shame.
Tamitha - March 30th, 2012 at 9:58 AM
Yes, a witness who was probably paid off. Did you not see the police video? There was NO injuries to Zimmerman. I don't think that Trayvon did anything wrong. And if he really HAD hit Zimmerman, then why did this not get mentioned in the first place? Why was it not mentioned until just a few days ago? I call B.S.
Cindy Battles - March 30th, 2012 at 7:15 PM
FYI, the police surveillance video of Zimmerman does not support the statement that his nose was bloody or his head was bashed in...and there are also eye witnesses to the story that Zimmerman was the aggressor. In ANY case, a mother has lost her son. And I grieve with her.
sonja - April 1st, 2012 at 4:52 PM
he was cleaned up by medics before the police station what everyone needs to see is the mugshot
sky - March 30th, 2012 at 8:28 PM
@Will, What makes you so certain that the witness is a credible one? Look at all the other lies that are unfolding. Trayvon's girlfriend was also on the phone with him and her account of what happened fits in perfectly with what Zimmerman stated happened. Most racism comes from "White Men" just like you and Chad. I honestly believe that youre intimidated by black men for whatever reason but that is a whole other story. We dont know if Trayvon hit Zimmerman first. According to his gf who was on the phone GZ pushed him , but let's say he did hit him first. If you were alone and being followed by a strange man and then that strange man approached you, wouldnt you be afraid? and out of fear wouldnt you defend yourself? I agree with Denise 100% when she said Trayvon wouldnt be in this situation if GZ hadnt killed him. It doesnt have anything to do with him smoking marijuana. He couldve easily been visiting his Dad under different circumstances. Jen, I think it was really thoughtful of you to write this letter and it is a step towards making things better. I think it is really brave of you because you are going to get alot of backlash from ignorant people who no matter how many facts are presented to them or how clear things are, at the end of the day they will still choose to believe what they want to believe and to me that is the true definition of the word "NIGGER: An ignorant person".
Brandy Ann - April 2nd, 2012 at 2:56 PM
and the apparent witness is his OWN father!!! there isn't a single mark on Zimmerman!! get over it! he called the police, siad there was a suspicious black man and the police told him DO NOT APPROACH HIM!! what did he do?? he approached him and shot him!! tayvon's girlfriends was on the phone. trayvon asked zimmerman why he was following him!!! ZIMMERMAN IS WRONG! trayvon did nothing but walk home from the store!
Jennysuejenn - April 3rd, 2012 at 8:55 AM
He was being stalked by a large man. He was scared and felt alone. I do not blame the child for defending himself.
Eunice - March 28th, 2012 at 2:17 AM
Oh so every young boy should be murdered because they get suspended from school for a wrong they did? Trayvon's killer didn't go through due process but here you are demanding due process for him. Did Trayvon get due process? Did his family and friends get due process? I love every color under the sun and so am gonna pray for you that someday your teenage child doesn't act like most normal teenagers do but if and when they do, you pray that they do not meet any paranoid mind anywhere
Amanda - March 29th, 2012 at 10:57 AM
So since Treyvon was suspended for having weed he deserves to be killed? Is that what you think your son deserves? I don't think anyone does!
Robert - March 31st, 2012 at 10:13 AM
Chad, why are you here?
Crystal M - April 1st, 2012 at 5:41 PM
If in fact Trayvon beat him, he did it in self-defense. A grown man following you, chasing you, wouldn't you be afraid? How was he supposed to defend himself? Use his tea and skittles? I doubt that would have stopped that bullet. I'm not worried about the racial issue here, I'm worried about justice. If Zimmerman didn't get arrested because of the stand your ground law there, doesn't that apply to Trayvon? He was standing his ground against a stalker, against a grown man, against a man with a gun. What does Trayvon being suspended from school for having weed have to do with him being stalked down and killed? Children of all colors are suspended everyday from school for having weed, that doesn't mean they are all out to rob and create violent acts. JUSTICE, That's all we are calling for. Well written Jen! I applaud your courage to stand up and say something!
Name - April 3rd, 2012 at 1:46 PM
That was a very ingnorant statement.

Jennifer - April 5th, 2012 at 12:24 PM
"A president whose image has been presented as a gorilla. Wake up and look around." my sweet,brown boy saw that image on a sign as we were driving by a tea party rally in our city.my son knows that Pres.Obama is mixed race like he is. he was so bothered by that hateful image that these 3 years later (no matter how many times we remind him what a wonderful little 9 year old boy he is)"is that what people think of me?broke.my.heart. and the other comment that chad makes is even more incendiary!!! if that poor boy was not suspended from school and home grounded he wouldn't have been killed? you,chad, are waaaaaaay out of line!unfortunately, like you jen, have had many situation examples go through my mind of my son being mistreated or hurt like the ones you used. but now even more unfortunately have an incident. we were at a walmart and my son asked to go to the magazine section while i am standing in line so he can look at the "ninja magazines". i always go to the line nearest the magazines so that he is in my vision the whole time.2 other little boys from another line go over near my son. they keep fiddling w/their pockets and quietly disagreeing over something. one wants the other to keep something and the other keeps trying to give it back. a male store clerk comes over and asks the boys what was going on and then they BOTH say that the black boy gave them this and they didn't know what to do with it. it took me a whole 5 seconds to realize they were talking about MY son who was standing there looking at magazines! he was too engrossed with the "ninjas" to even know what was going on. the man then turns to my son and GRABS my son's arm (magazine still in his hand) and says "what are you trying to pull, boy". when i got there in 0.02 seconds to defend my son the clerk then tells me that this was store business and to get back in line! i explained that this was my son and that i saw everything and that this WAS my business! it was all mixed up and eventually the bottom was gotten to but that whole situation shook me.i saw how easy it was for 2 little white boys to point the finger to someone and how easily they were believed and not even questioned! what if i wasn't there??? what if my boy was a teenager??? what if it wasn't a package of gum that they were trying to steal and blame my son for??? my husband and i had to have a conversation w/ our son that was so difficult. now i find myself a little paranoid. worried about how far i let him go out of my sight, what would happen to him out of my care? what kind of fear am i letting trickle into my view of him and his life? i have had to repent and pray so much about fear, rejection, judgment and fear some more.after this horrible tragedy with trayvon, our 2 other children, both girls, at the dinner table told our son not to wear hoodies anymore."even my pirates of the Caribbean one?" he asks us sadly. another conversation for my husband and i to have w/our girls AND our son. our girls are afraid for their brother's safety. and sadly i can see why. injustice is all around us in all forms. wake up people!
Ms. McKinney - April 16th, 2012 at 7:27 PM
Is getting suspended from school a reason for someone to get their life tooken away, is smoking weed a reason for someone to murder an innocent child. His lifestyle and how he look doesn't give anyone a reason to kill him Zimmerman was clearly in the wrong for following him in the first place if he would indeed listened to the police and stopped following him and let the police handle it then Trayvon would still be here. No I'm not saying that teenagers smoking weed and getting suspended from school is right but that doesn't mean he deserved to get his life tooken away.
Leah - March 28th, 2012 at 12:02 PM
This is a tragedy. - The murder of any child, teen, or human (regardless of their race), is truly sad. I can agree that, unfortunately, our country still sees racism. Daily. - But I would like to think that Trayvon was not murdered because of his race - I would like to be able to think more of the people who live and function in the same society as I do. While I may be a white woman, I am not speaking from a place of ignorance - for the Lord called my half black daughter home to Him about a year ago. Trayvons case, like any murder, deserves to see justice. But I cannot help but to think that had this been a white boy who looked "shady" and was shot by a black man, the media (and people all over) would not jump the conclusion that he was shot because of his race. Regardless, my heart HURTS for his mother, and she deserves to see justice for her precious son. - But I think, as a society, we need to be careful blaming racism so quickly. While we are not where we need to be - I would like to believe that we are farther than denying justice to someone because of the color of their skin.
Wendy - March 28th, 2012 at 7:18 PM
Of course they wouldn't attribute a black man shooting a white boy as racist...they would look at it as "well what else do you expect from a black man?" Why would that be the reaction? Because racism is alive and well. Your example would produce not a judgment on the white boy that got shot, but a judgment on the black man. Why? Because blacks are, by and large, going to be the GUILTY PARTY because of their color. In Trayvon's case, you have a white man shooting a black boy. Who's guilty? So far, the powers-that-be say the black boy. They can't win.
By defintion, racism is: "A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race."
Would a white kid in a hoodie ever been deemed "suspicious"? No...because "white" is not a "primary determinant" of "cause for suspicion."
I, too, would like to believe that we are farther from denying justice to someone because of the color of their skin. Clearly we aren't!
melissa - March 30th, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Exactly- does it matter what his skin color is? A life cut short at 17 is a tragedy regardless of race. I know there is racism in America, to all races in different ways. Our jobs are to break the cycle, teach our children to be color blind!!
Tiago - March 29th, 2012 at 2:07 PM
The old jump to conclusions mat haha
You must have a few.
SirKevin - March 29th, 2012 at 4:17 PM
Hey stewie, the have proven that it was not a racial slur. He said punks, even Sharpton and Jesse acknowledge this. Please quit spewing the bs you heard on HLN or CNN. Just read the news reports.

Cresenda - March 30th, 2012 at 5:21 AM
Neither Sharpton nor Jackson believe Zimmerman said punks.... Are you only watching Fox/Fixed znews? Coon sounds nothing like punks..
chasity - March 30th, 2012 at 4:37 PM
Zimmerman made racial slurs, including he's blk and must be up to no good or on drugs. It is a race thing... and im as white as can be. Anyone that has read up, watched, and heard this story and the 911 calls know what they are talking about. Do u know the statistics of kids smoking weed is? Over 75% known! So dont judge him by something is done by several kids, that's not a reason to get killed.. and it was traces found. 2nd of all, he wasnt out having fun but getting his brother tea and skittles. Get real, no this would have NEVER happened if Zimerman would have listened to the 911 dispatcher!
Tina - April 2nd, 2012 at 2:06 PM
Now the dust is clearing and more an more is coming to light about what happened. For instance NBC LIED! How dare they! They pasted pieces of the 911 call together to make it sound racially motivated. He NEVER mentioned Treyvon's race until asked by police and Z then said I THINK he's black.
Why has Jenn ONLY used his childhood pics and not the ones of him laced w/tattoo's?

Jenn, I am so disappointed with you!
Sherri - April 5th, 2012 at 3:35 PM
Yes, we need to understand the racism that exists, however, I would caution that you, through your words, have shown that you listened to media that have purposefully censored information in order to make this a charged issue.
Jennjen - April 6th, 2012 at 6:23 AM
ZIMMERMAN looks like a minority himself. As a white female I would instinctively fear Zimmerman and Trayvon as I have been a victim of blacks and Hispanics.
Name - March 27th, 2012 at 10:19 AM
Because the youth was most likely arrested or will be when caught of course.
Chrissy - March 27th, 2012 at 12:22 PM
I agree with you (no name) :) Everyone wants to jump on the racial band wagon.....The media looooves to stir up controversy and it just hurts everyone on both sides....White people because it brings up history all over again and leaves people who weren't even there paying the price with guilt and shame.....And black people because it stirs up emotions that maybe we really haven't gotten past that racial mentality......It's unfortunate that a young man had to lose his life but people of ALL race, religion and color lose their lives daily around the world for.....It is the way WE ALL as "humans" (not colors) have allowed our world to become and we are just as much to blame when we just sit and watch the news and go "Oh that's so sad" then go about our daily routines......I don't think it's fair that the media should be allowed to stir up controversy then sit back and watch it grow into hate and not be held accountable for what they've caused......I can't wait for Jesus to come back and cleanse the earth of all hate and violence......

Jessica - March 27th, 2012 at 12:40 PM
would you trademark your son's name for profit if he was killed?You have a big heart but you obviously are very naive.
pat - March 27th, 2012 at 2:11 PM
You may not be aware, but anyone can apply for a trademark. As unpleasant as it may be, these parents should take steps to protect the use of their dead child's name so that it cannot be used by others. I hope they are also taking steps to protect all possible domain names that suggest their child. No one is immune from misuse of their identity in today's internet-linked world. Just witness all that former Senator Santorum and his family had to endure with the vulgar misuse of his name. Be careful about the motives you attribute to others.
justice - March 27th, 2012 at 3:30 PM
Absolutely! To protect his name from the slanderous media and the population that chooses to try to degrade the name of the deceased. What are you even implying? That was a truly ignorant statement. No one knows how they would react or what they would do in a particular situation until they are IN that situation.
felicia - March 28th, 2012 at 12:45 AM
What do you meaan Crissy by your use of "racial mentality" when referring to blacks in your above statement stating that the media causes "emotions" in blacks with a racial mentality? I think Jesu would weep over racism
Mr. - March 27th, 2012 at 1:44 PM
Perhaps this black youth was arrested, and maybe charged with a crime?
LolaS - March 27th, 2012 at 5:27 PM
Please don't ignore that race is a major issue in this country. ALL the facts aren't out but the main ones are. And the only one left filling in the blanks is the man who killed an innocent boy after calling him a racial slur. So, if you actually think ALL the facts will ever come out, you're not living in reality.
name - March 29th, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Mr. Zimmerman is a MEXICAN...He is not a white man.
samantha - April 2nd, 2012 at 10:18 AM
Zimmerman does look like an Hispanic. Where did we get the idea that he was white?
KB - April 2nd, 2012 at 4:14 PM
He's not Mexican. The news reports say that he is half Peruvian and half Caucasian-American (hence "Zimmerman").
Angela - March 28th, 2012 at 8:07 AM
When I first heard the 911 tape, I thought he said "F**king clueless." Whatever he said, Zimmerman said it under his breath, it is barely audible, and there is no way to be certain whether he did or did not use a racial slur.

That said, I don't doubt that blacks are subjected to this sort of treatment constantly. I went shopping at Target with a black woman, another room parent from my daughter's class, for candies and favors for the school's Halloween party. We were constantly followed by a security guard. I asked my companion what she thought the guard's deal was and she replied with a laugh, "Oh, that? I didn't even notice him. I'm so use to having an escort whenever I go shopping."
Faith - March 28th, 2012 at 9:05 AM
There is no way you can not turn to race because everything this mother has put into this post is true. You gave no details to why this man was beaten and died just part of the truth not the whole.There are 3 sides to all stories the victims side,the person who victimized the victim and the truth. Only 3 people know the truth person dead,person who killed and God ! If you have ever experienced systemic racism then your view is only of the world you know as a white person in the world. I am an African American with a 17 yr old son. Blacks have always had to teach our children what she has put in this post.Have you ever had do do any of these things? For yourself,your children if you have any,neice,nephew,cousins...did your parents have to school you so you can survive day to day? I have white friend and no not one ..and have been privilaged to work with the richest to the poorest of whites and their kids habe never encountred what a black male does on a daily basis. When you can say yea or nay I'm not sure where your comment comes from. I pray for all parties involved with Mr.Martins case and in your own town because both were wrong and I pray God will bring solution and comfort to both families touched by senseless violence.
K L - March 28th, 2012 at 9:16 PM
Definitely a race issue. Ignorance may be bliss, but it's still ignorance.
handoutsociety - March 28th, 2012 at 11:06 PM
I agree with the comment above! Don't make it a race issue..... we were not there and once you have this much attention most of its hearsay! I would like to see rev. Sharpton show up to just one of thousands of hate crimes that happen outside of his race!
TheTruthr - March 29th, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Have you ever stopped to think if the black young boy beating the white man to death is not a race issue because it's expected for black young men to be angry and violent? Things to think about!
Don - March 29th, 2012 at 7:28 PM
what's your point ? because their savage antisocial behavior is 'expected' we have to excuse it ? .. I want you to give channon christian and christopher newsom's parent that utterly stupid reasoning as explanation why their kids were raped, set on fire and killed .. your comment is extremely offensive to innocent law abiding citizens everywhere
Bert - March 29th, 2012 at 2:09 PM
You obviously need reading comprehension or you weren't reading what was written. Fact : Trayvon was shot dead! Shooter non-police wasn't arrested! Its not up to police to decide ether or not to arrest someone in this case. If he was arrested ..and this played out in court I AM SURE THIS WOULD NOT BE GOING ON!
Yvonne - March 27th, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Jen, thank you for sharing. Beautiful letter... thank you. thank you. thank you again.
Tim - March 27th, 2012 at 3:34 PM
Fact #1: no one knows what Trayvon was doing at the time of the incident
Fact #2: Mr. Zimmerman is of at least part Latino descent, just as Mr. Obama is at least part Caucasian descent
Fact #3: This is a shooting, not yet a murder, and there are eye/ear witnesses to testify still
Fact #4: We do not put private bounties on private citizens, and we do not convict without due process, nor do we convict people in the media, or based on the loudmouthed race-baiting comments of those with selfish agendas in the United States of America
Fact #5: Both of these people have facts of their past which may or may not have contributed to this incident, but again, due process must be followed
Fact #6: Racism exists in the US, and it knows no color limitations, coming from all races against others, regardless of skin color
Fact #7: Trayvon's mother has apparently sought a way to financially profit from this tragedy by trademarking her son's name, image, and other related information, perhaps following tasteless and terrible advice from greedy attorneys or black race-baiting peddlers
Conclusion: If is true that Mr. Zimmerman was the one being attacked, then many people should have the integrity to very publicly retract their inflammatory comments, and apologize to the entire planet for contributing to racism; perhaps one of the stupidest human flaws to ever hit the planet...genetically, no one of us is different from any other--we have to be taught racism. I am still waiting for an apology from everyone with even the slightest "German blood" for the holocaust to my own people--not really, but you get my point...or should get it.
Charlie - March 27th, 2012 at 3:55 PM
Tim....You are right on! And to add to it: the author fails to realize that in racially divers neighborhoods the stores have dark skinned dolls (the stock what sells in each particular store), WalMart has various colors of BandAids in racially diverse locations, Bookstores have covers with racially diverse children in racially diverse neighborhoods and the store managers are racially diverse in racially diverse neighborhoods. And one last thing Ms Hatmaker, you are not judge
Carriecd - March 27th, 2012 at 9:12 PM
Not so, Charlie. Just before Christmas I stood in the doll aisle at Walmart. I was looking for a baby doll for our Ethiopian daughter. There was not a single doll that resembled my daughter. Like the author, I cried. And I did something else too...I looked around the store. I, a fair skinned girl, was the minority. Yet all the dolls looked like me.
Kelley - March 27th, 2012 at 9:22 PM
You obviously haven't shopped for brown baby dolls....ever!
tracie - March 27th, 2012 at 11:23 PM
while that may be true, you'll find that the "racially diverse locations" have BOTH options. it's really ironic that there are even "racially diverse locations". ask yourself why that is the case... i think it's sad that the sincerity by which the author wrote this letter has been misunderstood. it's one mom speaking to another and expressing her heart about racism that is still alive and well in this country. she's empathizing, not apologizing for being white. thanks for those words Jen :)
SJ - March 27th, 2012 at 10:25 PM
1. Fact 1: Minutes before his death, phone records show Trayvon was on the phone with his girlfriend, who says he told her someone was following him and then heard him ask "someone"/Zimmerman "Why are you following me?"
2. Zimmerman's being Latino is irrelevant and does not hinder him from having racial biases against Black people.
3. Look up the definition of murder...i'll wait...so far all "ear witnesses" believe Zimmerman was guilty. No eye witnesses, the closest was a young man who described seeing someone on the ground.
4. The media simply brought this issue to the fore-front so that it could be given due process and not swept under the rug or ignored like similar cases before it. Also the antiquated term "race-baiting" implies that people don't have the intellectual capacity to call a spade a spade. You assume that like mindless fish swimming in an ocean, people/the media are waiting for some God-awful thing to happen to a Black person in order to scream race...that's pretty idiotic.
5. True, but the evidence of violence has only been attributed to Zimmerman.
6. I agree...see #2.
7. I don't know what his mother's intentions are in this situation. I'd like to assume the best, protection of son's reputation, lawyers fee's etc. but regardless, I guarantee that she'd trade all the mayhem and chaos just to hold her son again.

Conclusion: The only person claiming Zimmerman was attacked is Zimmerman. Even if he were attacked my an unarmed teenager half his size I still in no way feel as if that justifies his actions. In the audio it definitely sounds as if he refers to the young man as a "coon," so people aren't creating racism and drama from nowhere, their examining the evidence presented and coming to presenting and informed opinion. No one says wait for an apology from anyone with "German Blood." Do you really think all Black people want an apology from White people? How idiotic! Most people like yourself are too busy dealing with their day-to-day, but what Black people want is to not have to hold marches and rallies and to not have to yell and fight for the right to be seen as people. It would be amazing if when a man kills a young unarmed boy he went to jail and was tried before a jury because then Black people could rest at ease that American justice is truly for all.
mary - March 28th, 2012 at 7:34 PM
Great reply SJ, Thanks for replying, b/c Im getting very tired of educating "conservatives" on a murder, that deserved the same amount of investigation as any other murder in this country. There was no investigation, except to test Trayvon's body for drugs and cut him up-for what-to possibly sale his organs as he laid in the morgue for 3 days as a John Doe, even after his parents called daily reporting him missing.

Tim's #6, I'd have to disagree with, as people of color rarely have enough power to CORRUPT a police department in letting murder's walk FREE b/c his dad is the magistrate judge.

Also on the night of this murder the Prosecuting Atty, The Police Chief
Sky - March 30th, 2012 at 8:45 PM
Things can be right in front of their face and they can hear it with their own ears just like the rest of us did yet they choose to ignore it and believe what they want to believe and that is really sad. No one wants to admit that George Zimmerman called him a "fucking coon" and said " they always get away", No one wants to admit that he followed this kid even though the police told him to fall back, the girlfriend said he asked "why are you following me?" and the guy pushed him because she heard the earplug fall from his ear. Noone wants to admit that the fact that after this kid was murdered, even though the police had his cellphone they didnt even have the decency to call his parents to notify them that their child was murdered. Instead they put a John Doe sticker on his toe. Let's say Trayvon did hit him first. Noone wants to admit that if in the same situation a stranger following them they'd protect themselves as well. Im a woman and hell i wouldve too and if he did hit him first then dammit you called the police and you thought you were billy bad ass to follow him and get out car when the police told you not to then you shouldve just fought back and not use a gun. He knew the cops were on their way and trust me once they had shown up if Zimmerman hadn't killed him Trayvon still wouldve been treated as a criminal just because he was black.
Jane - April 5th, 2012 at 10:29 AM
Didn't Zimmerman try to get into law enforcement and fail? Maybe for good reason. His actions seemed overzealous against a boy carrying no weapon, and his words were racist. I live in the deep south and racism is alive and well here and as said before in many places against many other groups of people. I don't know if this particular case due to racism, but usually where there is smoke there is fire. And I do believe things might be different if this had been a white teenager that was shot and killed. Maybe not. Regardless, it seems like a senseless, preventable tragedy!!
Name - March 28th, 2012 at 5:33 PM
Well said Tim
april harris - March 28th, 2012 at 8:45 PM
This is amazing and I'm in a similar household! Ill stad with you all!
Sickofpeoplelikeyou - March 29th, 2012 at 7:02 PM
Yes, and tell me again why you DIDN'T marry a black man , Jen ??? Since they are all wonderful and alI, I was wondering why you wouldn't want to give some of your white privilege away to nice black man ? Oh, I forgot you adopted black so you're definitely not a racist.. You're pathetic to say the least..
Name - April 6th, 2012 at 10:08 AM
Your comment is one of the worst things I have ever read. Jen - thank you for your message.
cresenda - March 30th, 2012 at 5:33 AM
Thanks Jen
Trineseya Ward - June 21st, 2012 at 7:40 PM
I shedded tears. beautiful written
John - January 25th, 2013 at 7:58 AM
Bullshit. I was shopping for my niece last month and there are plenty of colored dolls. This is where the African American population is at 7%. Perpetuating racism is all people like you do.
LCP - October 4th, 2014 at 1:59 PM
Wow... We have such a long way to go as human beings. Why is empathy for others so difficult? Do we have to be black to comprehend systemic racism? It's a race issue because young, innocent white boys are not being profiled and murdered because of the color of their skin. It's a race issue because it took months of protests and marches to get an interest in investigating Trayvon's murder. Thanks, Jen for your open letter to Trayvon's mom.
Susan - March 26th, 2012 at 10:14 AM
Thank you for writing this Jen!
Ashley - March 26th, 2012 at 10:15 AM
Thank you for this. I want to ride in this boat with you.
Alecia Horner - March 26th, 2012 at 10:16 AM
Standing with you...
T-momma - March 26th, 2012 at 10:17 AM
I have chills...and since this event, I no longer just ignore racist comments...I call them out and tell people how wrong and uncomfortable they make me feel. Racism is alive, I would like to say it's dying with an older generation, but it still lingers...it lingers in "black jokes" or when people comment about our adopting from Ethiopia, it lingers when people comment on our president based on his color rather then his actions...you don't have to like the man, but it has nothing to do with his race! Thank you for this beautiful post.
miloark - March 27th, 2012 at 11:37 AM
The problem I have with Obama is that everything with him is taken back to race. I told someone I disagreed with him continuing those stupid bail outs and they said I was racist. WTF? Disliking him has nothing to do with skin color. I don't care what color he is, he's a freaking idiot. (FYI- I voted for Alan Keyes and have been told 'he doesn't count because he isn't 'black enough.' Again, WTF?)

You want racism to stop? Quit making everything about race
Jen - March 27th, 2012 at 1:10 PM
How black is Alan Keyes? Isn't Obama half white? Maybe I am mistaken, but isn't he? And if so, I don't know why people are all so ridiculous about that. Yeah he is black, he is also white, so what? That doesn't even matter... not to me anyway. I don't care what race our president is. I just what him or her to serve this country properly.

As far as an earlier comment went, about this kid being out of school for possession of weed... SERIOUSLY??? What's the matter with you?? So children should be killed and it go overlooked because they had pot? Wow... if every child was killed and it was okay, who happened to have handled pot, we would have few teens. Stupid reasoning.

This post was beautifully written.
Jolie - March 26th, 2012 at 10:20 AM
I'm with you, Jen.
ashley - March 26th, 2012 at 10:21 AM
I hope this makes it's way to Trayvon's mother. I was outraged and amazed when I saw this story. My first thought was, "Isn't this 2012?" Aren't we supposed to be past all of this JUNK? I, as so many others, am heartbroken for this momma. I would lay down my life for my children and I can only begin to imagine the devastation she is feeling right now. So, Jen
Shley - March 26th, 2012 at 9:26 PM
I don't know where the rest of my comment went.
Name - March 27th, 2012 at 12:04 AM
yes, Trayvon's mother needs to see this.

Amanda - March 26th, 2012 at 10:26 AM
What a beautiful post. I too, several years ago, claimed to be against racism, thought it didn't exist, etc. That was until my husband moved me to a community where WE were the minority. We lived in a community that was filled with Eastern Indians. I cried my eyes out when I came home from new family orientation at school and I was the only white mom. I cried harder when I dropped my babies off at a school where the "white kids" were few. I cried even harder when I realized none of my kids saw color...EVER. But, I was brought to my knees when I was reminded that this was a picture of Heaven. By the end of our time there, I too, begin to see people...not color. It's easy to have a pretty view of racism when you aren't the minority. Thanks so much for this reminder. I never want to go back to that place of seeing color...I simply want to see people...God's people.



I also enjoyed the links you provided. The story about the prom is heartbreaking. Heartbreaking!
KLTTX - March 26th, 2012 at 10:26 AM
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I was just talking about how naive I have been about race in this country. My African baby is just 1 year old but I need to learn these things now and hope and pray for change.
Jenny - March 26th, 2012 at 10:29 AM
Beautifully written, Jen. We are adopting from Ethiopia, as well, and your words (as always) have touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your heart.
Christine - March 26th, 2012 at 10:31 AM
So powerful and so very true. It saddens this mother's heart to see a child gunned down and killed. May God continue to bring justice and comfort to this beautiful family. The world needs to wake up and stop seeing a person by the color of their skin, the size of their house, the money in their wallet or their credentials of education. God created us all equal in His eyes and The Book of Life does not have your skin color beside your name. We are judged on how we love one another.
Shell - March 26th, 2012 at 10:31 AM
And now I'm crying. Thanks a lot. No, really. This story breaks my heart. I want us to be better than this!
Nicky - March 26th, 2012 at 10:31 AM
I read this through my tears..just as you wrote it.

Beautiful words!!

I too stand with you on this.
Rachel N - March 26th, 2012 at 10:38 AM
I have been in agony these last few weeks over the same issues. Thank you for putting into words what I could not. My ET babes are 4 and 2. When I consider the circumstances they may face in 10 years and beyond, I am overcome with the question, "HOW in the WORLD do I prepare them?" Praying for wisdom for all of us.
Amber - March 26th, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Standing with you both!
Katie M - March 26th, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Standing here too. My black American babies are now 5, 6, and 8 and we live in a rural white town with a bunch of other folks with adopted babies. I saw my 8 year old pull up a hoodie this morning to get the newspapers and I thought he's so stinking cute... and he could be Trayvon. Standing up and shouting out
anneofalamo - March 26th, 2012 at 10:45 AM
okay, I admit, I cried so hard, I ache, ache ache because of this. As a mom to very diverse group of children-from vanilla white, to latte hispanic/white, to bit darker, Indian/hispanic/white to my newest additions of Indian/African American. Like you, we love them because of the heart that beats inside that skin and the smile that pops out and tears that flow.

Protecting our children is in us, and this made me see, I can not protect them from so much. Very overwhelming!


TORI - March 26th, 2012 at 10:48 AM
Noone could have said it better. I pray right now that this racist act of ignorant hatred would stop, I lived in deep south Ga. and I cannot tell you what a culture shock it was to see the community still living as if it was the early 19th century. NO matter what color we are we are all of one race created by God and in his image. Who are we to stand and say who has more merit over another. I would like to join you. Let me know what I can do here in Wichita to help you! YOU INSPIRE ME WITH YOUR AMAZING HEART FOR GODS TRUTH. JEN YOU HAVE A BEAUTIFUL HOME IN GOD KINGDOM!
Karena Price - March 26th, 2012 at 10:49 AM
I am thinking about my black son as I read this blog.. I am also saying to Trayvon's mom... "If you'll have me.. I'd like to stand with you" enough is enough. Someday my sweet Juvens will grow up and he will be a 17 year old black boy... enough is enough...

Thank You for this post!
tonya - March 27th, 2012 at 12:35 PM
Karena, I have been thinking the same thing about my son. when will it stop?
Angela - March 26th, 2012 at 10:50 AM
Jen, I posted a link to this on Facebook because I believe you eloquently gave words to the things I was feeling in my own heart about this outrageous incident, but also all that comes with it. The inevitable discussions about race in 2012, the heartbreak over a mama's loss of her baby, and the excruciating spotlight that God shines on my own heart, exposing ugliness and shadows that want to lurk there, unseen until provoked. There's a general uneasiness that comes about when "things like this" happen, not because they happened, but because of how I respond to them. I'm sure this is the work of the Holy Spirit, pricking my conscience and forcing me to admit that something inside needs to change. Thank you for your honesty because it's the stick that God used today to poke at my selfish heart.
Lynne Bucks - March 26th, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I posted to my Fb wall too. I cred when I read this because you gave my thoughts an eloquent beautiful voice. Thank you. God bless you!
Sue Johnson - March 26th, 2012 at 10:48 PM
I posted it on my FB as well. I have been signing petitions and offering support to the Martins since this happened. And yes, I'm white. But I raised my 2 daughters that we see people not colors. Both my daughters have been in intercultural relationships (and I say inter "cultural because I believe there is only 1 race and that is the human race..some just don't act very human).
Tammy - March 26th, 2012 at 10:53 AM
Beautiful and thank you for opening my eyes.
Michelle - March 26th, 2012 at 10:58 AM
WOw.. This brought tears to my eyes. You said everything I am feeling. This is amazing!!! I too have adopted children of a different race. I have a boy and girl from Haiti and I have thought the very same thing you have.. I too will STAND!!!
Rebecca Maas - March 26th, 2012 at 11:03 AM
Thank you for writing these words. Our children, all children, desire the same bright futures. As a mother of children with many different skin colors, and many different medical diagnosis I cry to God daily that they will be treated with dignity. God makes no mistakes and He created each of our children unique but equal. I wish everyone could see their beauty.
Lara - March 26th, 2012 at 11:04 AM
I'm a whitebread momma to a chocolate son and am just horrified to think that people will look at him with suspicion in ten years. I also had the shocking experience of buying toys and books for him and realizing there weren't any that looked like him.
Marla Taviano - March 26th, 2012 at 11:10 AM
Sybrina, if you'll have me, I want to stand with you too. Praying for your aching, grieving heart.
Laurie - March 26th, 2012 at 11:16 AM
Incredible words. Eye opening...as it should be. Thank you for sharing what we have all been thinking through this whole thing but had no words for. This is a blessing to me and my children who will never be able to escape their blackness no matter how white their world may be.
Erin - March 26th, 2012 at 11:19 AM
Sybrina, I pray you read this post and these comments and know we are all standing with you, grieving for you, holding you up to the Father who sees and knows all.

Jen, thank you for writing what, I think, so many of us wanted to say to Trayvon's mom.
Sarah@EmergingMummy - March 26th, 2012 at 11:19 AM
I haven't spoken a word about it. I have nothing to offer. I'm not American, I have zero understanding of these issues but my heart is so grieved, I cry for Trayvon and his mother, for all of us, really. I can't even get my head around it and my heart wont' try. But I'm standing with her, too.
Whitney - March 26th, 2012 at 11:20 AM
Wonderful Jen..you move me (as you always do). i know God will use this towards justice and love and encouragement. How sad i am for the loss of Trayvon
Tasha - March 26th, 2012 at 11:38 AM
This absolutely brought me to tears. I hope we can all stand together for this family.
Jessica - March 26th, 2012 at 11:40 AM
I will say... that before race keeps being bated due to this story... that we wait to see what happened. This coming from a mom of a minority.



http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2012-03-26/news/os-trayvon-martin-zimmerman-account-20120326_1_arizona-iced-tea-suv-unarmed-black-teenager



What you have to say is important -- but to say it by using the emotional volcano of this case is wrong... IMO... you are characterizing this whole situation w/o any of us knowing the facts. This young man was not shot in the back while carrying a bag of skittles. To paint that picture is dishonest... to say the least.


Chris - March 26th, 2012 at 11:57 AM
I agree with this. First this post just continues the distinction between black and white..."white bread" etc. There are a lot of facts missing here. This was not his neighborhood. He was visiting family. Second, there are conflicting reports of this young man making some physical advances to the man who shot him. And there had been multiple robberies in this neighborhood recently. Let's wait to hear the facts before jumping into the automatic white guilt that actually does harm to the black community as well as the nation.
JustMe - March 26th, 2012 at 2:49 PM
So you can shoot and kill someone because either: a) THEY are in your neighborhood, b) you see someone making 'physical advances' or c) there were robberies at other times in your neighborhood. Awesome. Can you be my lawyer?

This is not about "white guilt" this is about common sense. I hope your kids learn to a) not visit other neighborhoods, b) never 'advance' on someone c) watch the news or go online before going somewhere to see if there have been any robberies there recently. You're a freaking genius.
Dale - March 26th, 2012 at 3:32 PM
Would you please reference your "facts"? I am the father of a adopted black child (Bentley 9). Me,my wife and oldest child (Paxton 18) are bright ginger hair people, so we are use to being stared at in public. We got Bentley when he was 3 days old and ever day has been a blessing to our lives. We had conflict with, people we knew, family members and the general public. It's one of the leading factors in me taking a job 600 miles from our hometown and living in a very diverse community of our choosing. I have seen and hear enough not to be fooled by our surroundings. You do not have to go far in either direction to find the same small minded attitude we left behind. With that said, I have raised my son with a lot of confidence and attitude. I do not want him to be a victim of ignorance. He has a blue belt in Tae Kwon Do and I have taught him military hand to hand combat. He will never use these to be a bully or start a fight but if it comes to him .......I have hear a lot of offensive things said by white people that I probably would not have thought twice about until Bentley came into my life. Those people saying those things never meant (or should I say "mean", because it happens all the time.) anything to me until they were talking about my son. FACT : He had no business approaching anyone in a confrontational manner. FACT he was told by a police dispatcher not to pursue this person. MY THOUGHT: Zimmerman confronted the kid and got his butt kicked. He very well could have been in fear for his life, but he put himself in that situation, so he should answer for what he did in someway.

Dela - March 26th, 2012 at 12:03 PM
Did you hear the tapes of Trayvon screaming for help a full 30 seconds before the gunshot boomed?


Jesse - March 26th, 2012 at 1:01 PM
Um, you mean ZIMMERMANS screams? Did you not see the most recent report??
JustMe - March 26th, 2012 at 2:45 PM
So it is acceptable to shoot an unarmed person? Nice. I don't care if this kid were purple, you don't get to shoot folks just because you are scared, have the upper hand, and a gun. That's what happens in those "other countries" that we loathe and complain about.
Jen Hatmaker - March 26th, 2012 at 5:56 PM
Here is my thought here: I know that if one of my sons was walking home from the gas station, and a man in a dark car was following him at a slow pace, then that 200 pound man got out of his car and followed my son on foot, and HE HAD A GUN, he would be terrified out of his mind, and he may come out swinging. I know I would. I would come out swinging like a crazy person. This kid was just walking home, Zimmerman got involved, pursued him against dispatcher advice, and now this kid is dead. And the report says "there is one minute where we can't tell what happened." This guy has called 911 46 or 47 times in the last year to report suspicious activity. We shouldn't be happy about death threats on Zimmerman's life either. This is a tragedy in a hundred ways. But it remains that this kid was walking home unarmed, he was pursued (scared and worried according to his friend on the phone with Trayvon who kept telling him to run away), and now he is dead.
Hope - March 26th, 2012 at 6:32 PM
Jen, where did you get the information that George Zimmerman weighs 200 pounds? I can't find that information but it has been reported that he weighs 40 pounds less than what the photo shows. He is shorter than Trayvon was and the eyewitness says GZ was on the bottom and it was GZ screaming. It just seems as if so much is being made out of misinformation. Yes, it is a tragedy but why are we turning this into a child's game of telephone and making it worse than it already is? Why are we whipping people into a frenzy over things we don't know? How about the fact that GZ's best friend is black? How about the fact that he and his wife are mentors to children of all races? How about the fact that he is the member of a mixed race family?
Is it possible for just a moment that this was just an overzealous member of the community that made a tragic choice completely unrelated to race? What if that REALLY is the truth? Shouldn't we speak about that instead?
kendra - April 3rd, 2012 at 10:34 AM
um its not GZ screaming in the back ground. they had 2 different specialist analyzing the tapes and they both said it was not GZ screaming...so therefor it had to be TM...just sayin
DearHarrison.com - April 4th, 2012 at 12:55 AM
Hope, the words you have typed here carry more wisdom than any of the thousands of other words I have read above. It seems apparent that emotionalism, misinformation, and assumptions are the default setting here, and the thought that so many people are content to issue a "case closed" verdict on the events AND the motivation behind this killing sickens me to the core. How can people be so bold as to pass judgment on this man without the facts necessary to properly do so (on either side)?

I fear for our nation that voices like yours are in the minority here. I hope the comments section of this blog is not representative of the general population, but I fear that it may be. God help us if it is.
Ray - March 26th, 2012 at 8:13 PM
JEN: YOU HAVE NO CLUE OF WHAT REALLY HAPPENED. DO NOT USE THE WORD MURDER WHEN TALKING ABOUT THIS BOY (WHO BY THE WAY DOES NOT LOOK LIKE THE KID IN THE HOLLISTER PICTURE--WE ALL LOOKED YOUNG INNOCENT AND CUTE WHEN WE WERE 11 YEARS OLD, EVEN YOU) UNTIL YOU KNOW IT WAS A MURDER. AMAZING HOW CHRISTIANS CAST THE FIRST STONE IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE. YOU WERE NOT THERE. YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED. WAIT UNTIL THE TRUTH COMES OUT...AND IT WILL. ...IF THE BLACK PANTHERS $10,000 BOUNTY DOESNT GET GEORGE ZIMMERMAN KILLED FIRST.
Simon - March 26th, 2012 at 8:57 PM
Ray, we have a rare case here. Both parties were on the phone, and there were witnesses. Whether Trayvon looked innocent or suspicious is immaterial. If, and/or why hw was suspended from school is immaterial. If, after he was attacked, he was or was not successfully defending himself in the fight with George Zimmerman is immaterial. Likewise, the racial diversity of the neighborhood, and whether or not George Zimmerman has black friends. None of that matters. We know what happened. You cannot attack someone, and then claim self-defense.

More important to me, the fact that the police stowed little to no concern as to the identity of the dead young man. Even if you want to argue that George Zimmerman is not specifically a racist, it would be impossible to argue that this entire situation is not. It simply is. Maybe that makes you uncomfortable, but you cannot fix problem that you deny exist.

If you think that the extreme reactions of other people, New Black Panthers, or whomever, somehow retroactively justifies your position, then I think you have a poor grasp on reality.
Morgan - March 26th, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Why not show the picture of him with his gold grillz, tattoos, and gang signs. He was a drug dealer, a gang member, and walking in a neighborhood which had been burgurlarized multiple times in the last few months. Plus white bread lady. Zimmerman was a spanish speaking Latinowhite person. Knock off the bullshit
EarleyDaysYet - March 27th, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Those pictures are not of TM, and were being circulated by StormFront, the White Power knuckleheads. The actions of the New Black Panthers' behaviour - putting a bounty on GZ - is also stupid. Answer me this: if a black man shot
MN - March 29th, 2012 at 10:21 AM
That's a false picture, honey. But thank you for your hatred.
Jocelyn - March 29th, 2012 at 1:42 PM
Those weren't him big dummy...do some research. He was not a drug dealer, nor a ang member. Gosh it must suck to be u.
Common Sense Mom - March 27th, 2012 at 6:27 AM
Ray- The problem that most of America has with this situation is that Zimmerman left the safety of his home, grabbing a gun on his way out the door, to chase down an unarmed boy who "looked like he was on drugs or something".

The problem is Zimmerman started it. And Zimmerman finished it. And Zimmerman has yet to be held legally responsible for his actions.

Zimmerman should be tried by a jury of peers. He took the life of an unarmed boy AFTER PROVOKING HIM. He needs to answer for it. Any citizen who takes the life of another must answer for it. Anything less is pure anarchy.
Midori - March 27th, 2012 at 7:43 AM
What do you call the shooting death of an unarmed person if it's not murder?

An ADULT admitted he shot an UNARMED CHILD! Aside from race isn't that enough to be angry about and demand a PROPER investigation?
Just Sayin' - March 28th, 2012 at 8:34 AM
Using all caps makes you look crazy.
Kristi - March 26th, 2012 at 11:08 PM
No matter how you slice and dice this story, the fact remains: Zimmerman is the aggressor. Zimmerman called him a "f-ing ni*gger" on the 911 call. Zimmerman sought him out and went after him. *If* Trayvon turned around and attacked him, then so what? How does that change ANYTHING? TRAYVON acted in self-defense, NOT Zimmerman. Period. You don't GET to be the aggressor and THEN turn around and claim "self defense". By all means, report a suspicious person. But let the REAL cops handle it from there. Had Zimmerman LISTENED to the authorities who told him NOT to follow Trayvon, none of this would happen. Jen said it best...I'm trying to make sense of it, but sense won't come. Even if Trayvon turned around and attacked him....doesn't change a thing. THAT is self defense. The fact that Zimmerman was NOT EVEN ARRESTED is baffling...just baffling. HE JUST KILLED A KID AND WASN'T EVEN ARRESTED. At least lock him up until the facts are out, if nothing else....but that didn't happen. Why? THAT is where the sense just doesn't come... But Zimmerman will walk free. The situation was fumbled too badly from the get go. The authorities won't want to admit to it. The "Stand Your Ground" law defense is bogus....Read the law. Zimmerman certainly didn't fall within the limits of what that law states. And nobody knows the facts of how it all unfolded. Nobody knows if it was Zimmerman screaming on the 911 calls...................but if it was, then good.
Frustrated - March 27th, 2012 at 1:09 PM
Wow Kristi, you don't even have the facts. The racial epitaph that he has been accused of is NOT even the one you just wrote in your comment. No one EVER said that Zimmerman said that. Have you even heard the tape? Even in the tape it is a completely different word. Nothing else you said can be trusted so your arguments just failed.
Kristi - March 27th, 2012 at 3:48 PM
Thank you for correcting me on that. I have heard the tape, but when I heard it that portion was bleeped out, and my assumption was that he used the "N" word. I know now that he said "coon"......and that makes me feel better about the whole thing (insert eye roll).

Other than the mistaken, but still horrific, racial slur that I typed, everything else is fact. Sure there are LOTS of things we don't know from that night and we will NEVER know because it is now a one sided story. Because Trayvon can't tell his. But the few facts we do have are MORE than enough to justify that he should've been, AT THE VERY LEAST, arrested on the spot while awaiting trial...if he even gets a trial.

Not only can I not make sense of the injustice at hand, I can't make sense of people defending Zimmerman so passionately. Oh wait....yes I can...but I'll keep to myself.


Frustrated - March 28th, 2012 at 12:26 PM
They haven't confirmed that "coon" was the word either. They think it could be "goon" which isn't necessarily racial. (insert double eye roll with a half twist) Of course it was an ASSUMPTION. The entire comment you made was an ASSUMPTION not FACT.
As for the rest of your comments, you have NO IDEA if it is the TRUTH. You weren't THERE. You have already proven your ability to JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS. You never included the fact that Zimmerman's best friend is black, Zimmerman is Hispanic (that makes him a minority as well), Zimmerman mentors youth of EVERY COLOR and evidence suggests that GZ was returning to his vehicle as soon as the dispatcher told him he didn't need to follow TM. you forgot to mention GZs broken nose and bleeding head wound. You forgot to mention the eyewitness accounts that show TM as the aggressor.
For the record, I am NOT defending Zimmerman, I am defending the process. You can't just arrest now, ask questions later. You have to have enough evidence to arrest someone.
Here are the REAL facts! You are taking small bits of reports and spouting off with your opinions as if they are FACTS. You weren't there. I wasn't there. Rushing to judgement won't do anyone any good. Why aren't you outraged about the Black Panthers putting a bounty on someone's head? Is that justice? Sorry, is that JUSTICE? (this randomly capitalizing words is fun!)

Seriously, a young man is dead, no matter how you slice it, no matter what color he is, this is a tragedy. There is no reason to further the tragedy by condemning someone before all the facts come in and taking the little morsels that the media releases with a twist doesn't do anything to bring justice to anyone.
Dwain - March 26th, 2012 at 8:35 PM
Absolutely right! This is a very disappointing post. Well-written, as always, but very premature.
SortaCrunchy - March 26th, 2012 at 11:40 AM
I think most of us have been stunned into not knowing what on EARTH to say. How can this be happening? How can it really, really, really happen in our nation in 2012?



I tend to avoid news and current events at all costs because when I know things like this are happening, I start to wonder how God can possibly bring redemption from it. A reflection on my own lack of faith, to be sure.



Your words as a mother of a black son will be heard on so many more levels, but please know you speak for ALL mothers in writing this.



Even so, come Lord Jesus.
suzannah {the smitten word} - March 26th, 2012 at 11:40 AM
thank you for writing this. the silence among white evangelicals has been deafening, and these are whispers of another Way.
ksgrl444 - March 27th, 2012 at 12:05 PM
Wow, I do not see it that way at all. What ARE white evangelicals supposed to say? There are murders upon murders every single day. Why is this one "special?"

I read his Twitter name was No_Limit_Nigger. Suspended from school multiple times. And, all I mean by this, is that the media has whipped us into a frenzy when there are other just a special and precious men, women and children who died that same day, and yesterday and today.


Anonymous - March 27th, 2012 at 6:23 PM
It was No_Limit_Nigga...that is a Rap Label...he also talked about finding his Silk the Shocker CD, who is a rapper on No Limit.

I listened to rap, and smoked weed, and skipped school, I even shop lifted a few times, just for the rush...I am a white, 30 year old female, in a professional job...graduated with honors, was in the advanced program at a university, and am engaged to a black man.

I could have been Trayvon.
MN - March 29th, 2012 at 10:23 AM
Thank you for this.

That is all.
Jane - April 5th, 2012 at 1:15 PM
So true!
michelle - March 26th, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Thank you for speaking out about the hard things. They always make me self reflect and I can say on these issues I've been very naive. Thank you for shining a bright light on this issue. To say this is a tragedy is an understatement. :(
Stephanie Coelho - March 26th, 2012 at 11:45 AM
Wow, you write incredibly and this is such a sad story and state that our country is in!
Susan - March 26th, 2012 at 11:46 AM
Your boy is beautiful and so are you!!!!!
Rana - March 26th, 2012 at 11:48 AM
This was very touching! Very well written, Jen.
JayDee - March 26th, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Beautifully written. I have no words. All I can say is that I will stand.
Erica Shubin - March 26th, 2012 at 11:50 AM
THANK YOU for speaking out Jen. This is BEAUTIFUL. I pray Sybrina sees these comments and knows that there are many like us who wish to stand with her. If you'll have me, I'd be honored.
sarah m - March 26th, 2012 at 11:53 AM
I read through tears. Bless you. Thank you for this.
Cecelia - March 26th, 2012 at 11:55 AM
The tears flowed as I read this. Well, well said!
Kim Tavernier - March 26th, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Thank you for writing this. It's so important for us to admit that we have lived this privilege so that we can actually start doing something about it.
Chrissy - March 26th, 2012 at 12:01 PM
I just cried my way through this post. As an adoptive white Mom to two darling black boys and a gorgeous black daughter, this cut me to the core. I just assumed that my boys would be safe because I was raising them in our quiet little town...how silly of me. I, too, think of how my children will be treated when they are older and I cringe. Thank you for writing so eloquently what I could not.
Amy - March 26th, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Jen, you are a voice for so many on so many issues. God bless you for going here. I stand with you.
Molly Shockley - March 26th, 2012 at 12:11 PM
I love you. I am so proud of you. I blogged about this on Friday, and well, it seems like a third grader wrote mine. You amaze me and God is working through your life sister. Thank you for sharing your heart...its so obviously Jesus' heart. Big hugs!
Barb - March 26th, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Beautifully and truthfully said! I agree wholeheartedly!
Annie B - March 26th, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Thank you for standing up for EVERYONE. We all know people that look different then all of us. I feel very grateful that you wrote this and can only hope that we will all read this . I`m sorry for all that suffers from these same things in one way or another. I hope people will share this. My prayers go out for everyone!
Kelly Moore - March 26th, 2012 at 12:32 PM
I do not have children, will never be a mother - but this resonated with me. Thank you for expressing what I could never express but somehow know deeply is true.



Kelly Moore, fellow OBU alum, 1992
Kathy - March 26th, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Thank you for penning what's been on my heart for the past week.
Anabell - March 26th, 2012 at 12:34 PM
Thank you Jen, for sharing this very powerful letter, for touching my heart and putting into words the saddness and fear this tragedy has brought me, and the worry I feel for our black son waiting for us in Ethiopia. Praying for the Martin Family, and that more people in this world can open their eyes and hearts to each other regardless of the color of their skin. Realizing there is a long, difficult road yet ahead of us to end racism but that we need to do the hard work and ask the hard questions if we ever expect it to change.
julie koppen - March 26th, 2012 at 12:35 PM
god is defintily working threw you !that was beautiful!my son is mixed with black and it scares the heck out of me that my son has to grow up in a worl like this ! my son also weres hoodies and walks to his friends house to play basketball!could that have been my child?could have been !thank you for this letter is was just beautiful ! thanks !!!
rachel spies - March 26th, 2012 at 12:37 PM
as a white mom of an african son, i have struggled to put my feelings into proper words. all i can see when i see trayvon is a little boy, an innocent kid, my son in ten years, and i cry and cry and cry. i see his beautiful mother, his brave beyond belief mother, and i and cry some more. no closure yet, just sadness and grief and a struggle to know how in the world to talk my kids, all of them - white and black - about this.
LISAMARIE - March 26th, 2012 at 12:42 PM
THIS IS SO BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN I AM SPEECHLESS BECAUSE MY FAMILY RANGE IN COLOR FROM LIGHT(MISTAKEN FOR WHITE) TO DARK BLACK AND YES THERE'S ALWAYS BEEN DIFFERENCE NOT THAT WE SAW AS CHILDREN BUT AS WE GREW..THE CHANGE THAT COMES FROM EVEN HOW BLACKS REACT TO COLOR.. SO I CAN IMAGINE WHERE YOUR THOUGHTS HAVE TAKEN YOU.. BUT AS A PERSON YOU CAN ONLY MOVE FORWARD AND THE STEPS YOU ARE TAKING ARE TO BE COMMENDED THAT YOU FOR SHARING YOUR MOST INNER THOUGHTS ON THIS SUBJECT..AND EVEN MORE THANK YOU FOR REACHING OUT NOT ONLY TO TRAYVON'S FAMILY BUT REACHING OUT TO A RACE OF PEOPLE WHO ARE STILL FINDING ONE ANOTHER...
jai arnold - March 26th, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Jen thank you I am a mommie to three bi racial sons and I also stand firm with yuh in our fight to stop this madness.


Anna Dreyfus - March 26th, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Beautiful, Jen! So thankful you had the courage to stand in the gap for all of us!


angie - March 26th, 2012 at 12:54 PM
this is so beautiful. we are in the waiting process for our boy(s) from ethiopia and i am just starting to shed some of my ignorance of the racism that still exists.



and i have to say, i am glad i am not the only one who had a fit in the middle of target searching for one cute black baby doll!!!!
Ken Laundra - March 26th, 2012 at 12:56 PM
I'll be sharing this blog with my students in Criminology and Race Relations. Thanx!
Rachel - March 26th, 2012 at 1:00 PM
I am incredibly white as well, with my two blonde haired blue eyed babies. I was opened to this when my daughter (3 years old) picked the black baby doll at the store. We were checking out at the register and the cashier, an older white woman, said "I would never let me daughter have a brown baby!". What? I was outraged! We then got in a heated debate, and I notified management. I have been praying for God to open the eyes and ears of our country, ever since that day. Thank you for writing this! It truly is heartbreaking!
Janet Graybill - March 26th, 2012 at 1:09 PM
Beautiful and touching .... truly heartfelt...
Sue Bachman - March 26th, 2012 at 1:11 PM
AWESOME! As another former pale blonde (now Ms. Clairol - lol) mom with 2 Asian children, thank you for putting into words what many of us 'white' moms feel. My heart breaks for our diverse children. If we could give them a perfect world,they would not be noticed because of their color but only by their beautiful smiles!
ann weller - March 26th, 2012 at 7:30 PM
We will all have our "color" noticed, just as someone would notice whether we are female or male, tall or short, etc. There's nothing wrong with that. What's wrong is when stereotypes, prejudice, and assumptions are attached to a color. That's when we have to speak up, and speak out, and educate ourselves about history and racism in this country.
Momtograce - April 4th, 2012 at 4:04 PM
just like my daughter being called "messed up" to her face in front of her parents in a grocery store because she has Down Syndrome. really?! YES really.
Tenicia Lovejoy - March 26th, 2012 at 1:19 PM
I must say as I sit here reading this I am tearful, tearful over the truth, tearful for Trayvon Martin, tearful for Jen, tearful for Sybrina, and tearful for all the kids in this world who have suffered due to the ignorance in our world and this can be any child, any color on any given day. The words you speak Jen are probably the most humbling words I have ever heard coming from a white mother with a black child outside of the words spoken by my own mother as she raised biracial children of her own in the 70's. I want to thank you for these words, I wish you could share them with the world, because it's what the world needs to hear even if they wish to stay in blindfolds. I can't even express how I'm feeling right now because I can't find the words. I'm so glad I ran across this on facebook. Your words bring hope and will inspire people, they have to, I'm pretty sure they already have. They absolutely have inspired me and I just wanted to say Thank you! You probably didn't want this attention directed towards yourself, but it's hard to address the situation without giving praise to your efforts. I also want to give my love and support to Sybrina and tell her that her fight is not fought alone. We all take this with us every day out in the world with heavy heavy hearts. I will not stop talking about your son until justice is served and even after justice is served I will remember your son, I only hope I remember him because something changes in this world after such a horrible loss. Something like this women Jen writing this letter and leaving her vulnerability open for all. I pray that one day, you find solace, I really do.
Liz - March 26th, 2012 at 1:20 PM
Thank you for writing this Jen. You put into words what myself, and so many others, are trying to say.
T - March 26th, 2012 at 1:22 PM
Absolutely perfect...These are words I would love to say but just could not find the way to put pen to paper. My heart aches for Trayvon and his family but hoping and praying that his death was not in vain and will bring about unity. It is up to us to change starting with ourselves but also teaching our children that we are all God's children and the color of ones skin does not reflect their moral character or their heart. Thank you for this and for reminding me that I need to make more effort.
Ai-ling - March 26th, 2012 at 1:23 PM
Thank you so much for writing this. It has healed a little bit of the depair I have felt for the last few days in the wake of this incident. Regardless of whatever fools will make out of this entire nasty and sad sad affair, your words may transcend some of the barriers to understanding what it is like to be in someone elses shoes even for a moment. It can be very difficult to picture that difference if all you know is your own perspective, because it often takes a shared experience to really relate to someone else.



As a product of a mixed race marriage, I have grown up with the perspective of someone who has been at different times percieved as hispanic, white, asian, native american, or black and also as someone who is clearly none of these things and maybe therefore more for who I actually am than what people might assume if they could figure out what label to stick on me first. As a child I think the inability to classify myself even gave me a stronger sense of the divisions between people that seemed to make it harder for them to be truly aware of them at all. As an adult, I count this as a blessing which perhaps gave me a broader understanding of things at a younger age than I would otherwise have, and I recognize this as a true epiphany which may help more people see a new dimension past the limits of their own experience when they didn't even realize there were limits to that at all.



For that, I am grateful, because one person can lead the way for many to follow. And that gives me hope again. I had been starting to lose hope from watching people continue to hit that invisible wall the last few days. These thoughts that you have shared, I think, have the power to both reveal the wall and encourage more to begin to tear it down.



God bless,



and thank you.


Connie Miller - March 26th, 2012 at 1:28 PM
Beautifully written expressing heart of compassion. I have barely been able to breathe or think about anything other than this tragedy. I cannot bear the thought of what Sybrina must be going through.

And all the other Mama's whose children have been murdered, harassed, hurt in any way because they are different...skin, abilities, beliefs.

Civil Rights are for ALL American citizens.

Let's make this a better place to grow up in than the world of my childhood.
Kristen - March 26th, 2012 at 1:29 PM
The sad irony is that Trayvon had to die for us all to feel this way (and I include myself in the "us" category)! These types of things happen more than we care to admit, and because the situations may not be as extreme, they aren't plastered all over the evening news. We will never know what it feels like to raise black children as black parents, but as white parents raising black children we can only do our best to shed light on these injustices!
Josh Manges - March 26th, 2012 at 1:30 PM
I'm white, I have a white sister, a white brother, a black brother and two black sisters. I have a white daughter, a white son, a black daughter and a black son. I like to think that if I am racist in any way, I'm not very good at it. (Privately, I think that black infants are cuter than white ones. If that is racist I apologize.) However, I am no where near as color blind as my children. My white son took two weeks before realized that his new little sister from Africa was black. He said, "Hey! That baby's black!" My daughter wondered why ALL families didn't have black and white children in them. She assumed that all families were racially diverse. I pray that one day I will be as colorblind as they are.
abby - March 28th, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Shh. i agree with you. And I think little (east) indian boys are the cutest thing ever. and their cuteness makes me want to adopt ten of them one day. and on another note my friends used to tease me that one day i'd be living in a US inner city doing ministry with my black husband and all our little kids that we would have adopted from different countries. hasn't happend (yet, since i kinda forgot about it till a few weeks ago) but i'd still love for it to happen.
Angus McClure - March 26th, 2012 at 1:34 PM
Why don't black people adopt white kids?

Isn't that weird? How racist of them.
Delaine - March 26th, 2012 at 2:55 PM
A friend of mine (Black) in NYC tried to adopt domestically, and was open to any race. She was told she have better luck being matched with a child of her own race, because being matched with a White child is "highly unlikely". The social worker then went on to tell her about how, statistically, Black children in the U.S. are adopted at far lower rates, and she should consider adopting them solely, especially males.

Maybe Black families are afraid of rejection when considering adoption. Just a thought.
morgan c - March 26th, 2012 at 4:13 PM
are u kidding me? is that really what comes to mind after you read this? for a really long time it wasn't even allowed, then once some acts were passed it occurred a little more frequently. generally it's more difficult for the black children to be adopted, because of all the stereotypes and issues that come along with raising black children, so agencies usually try to persuade people to adopt them first and foremost.

Jen - March 27th, 2012 at 10:11 PM
There are many black foster parents in our county who foster white children. Not sure what the point of your comment is?
MN - March 29th, 2012 at 10:25 AM
In a nutshell? The majority of them are turned away from adopting white children. The United States has a history of not allowing domestic interracial adoption. However, plenty of black families foster children of ALL colors.

Read up next time.
Camille - March 26th, 2012 at 1:35 PM
Thanks so much for this. We now have two black teenagers under our roof, and I've always taken their safety for granted here. I mean, we live in a "nice" neighborhood. Of course they can go ride bicycles, go for a walk, chill at the park. Of course, Trayvon's mother probably thought the same thing. My heart goes out to her. Thank you for discussing the difficult questions; I pray that we all have the strength to recognize racism and join together in obliterating it.
Lindsey Bell - March 26th, 2012 at 1:39 PM
Another white woman standing up with you. Racism is wrong. Period.
NaTonja - March 26th, 2012 at 1:40 PM
That was a moving letter and I am with you and I do understand, I myself have biracial children and before having them I to was ignorant to the fact of racism and since then I learned that racism is still a big part of American and it is sad and despicable. I hope that this letter gets out to every mom that has had to face this issue and maybe it will reach our government and figure out how to stop this injustice.
Alan - March 26th, 2012 at 1:47 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-trayvon-martin-case-20120326,0,4845076.story?track=icymi Turns out Martin was the aggressor.
Adrienne - March 26th, 2012 at 8:32 PM
Can you really call a person an aggressor after you report them, make racial slurs about them and give chase after being told not to???? I man really at what point does this young man feel threatened and his senses kick in that he is being stalked, therfore providing him with the need to defend himself?????If you were scared and felt your life was threatened at what point would you fight for your life???? Really?!
Jen - March 26th, 2012 at 9:31 PM
Exactly. If the colours were the other way around the police would be all over this and we probably wouldn't even be discussing it.
Ann - March 26th, 2012 at 1:47 PM
Jen, What a powerful story and well-written! I praise God that he gave you the heart to love and adopt a child from another ethinicity group. I pray that others will now understand and realize that racism does exist and will understand the struggles that young African Americans experience in this country. Bless you!
Missy - March 26th, 2012 at 1:54 PM
What a wonderful and beautiful letter.

I am a very white momma, but one whom God has always given open eyes to the racism that still lives in our world today.

My heart breaks for Trayvon's family.

My heart breaks for Americans.

We do need to band together, open our eyes and start a revolution of change.
Jude E. - March 26th, 2012 at 1:59 PM
Very well written and heartfelt. I pray that it brings comfort to Trayvon's parents. I pray that that healing will begin soon, for his family and the Nation.
Mags - March 26th, 2012 at 2:00 PM
In college, I had to write an essay about the first time I truly noticed my gender and my race.... I didn't really get it - not as a yuppie white girl from an upperclass neighborhood. Your post "gets it."

I hope Trayvon's mother gets to read this. Well said.

Mags
Jared - March 26th, 2012 at 2:03 PM
As a minority and a brother to a sister who is engaged to a black man I loved your heart felt reach towards loving Trayvon's mom.

This is a tragedy to be sure but the fact that we have already proven Zimmerman guilty is wrong and just as tragic. And speaks volumes more about our society and microwave-reporting. Recent reports are now coming out that all is not as it seems.

I agree that in 2012 racism shouldn't even be in our vocabulary but our current state of sensationalist reporting (especially from twitter) is far more of a concern to me.

Thank you for sharing your heart
suzannah {the smitten word} - March 26th, 2012 at 2:50 PM
an un-armed teenager whom 911 records begging for his life is dead, "but the fact that we have already proven Zimmerman guilty is just as tragic"--seriously?

trayvon's killer hasn't even been arrested. justice demands that he be tried before more than a court of public opinion.
Beth - April 14th, 2012 at 8:32 AM
Thank you for stating this! My issue with this (and similar cases, like Casey Anthony, Laci Peterson, etc.) is the media and the fact that *they* get to pick and choose the victims to sensationalize. Race, creed, politics aside...what about all of the other moms, dads, brothers, sisters, friends, church families, etc. who have lost their loved ones to violent crimes? Where is their spotlight? Where is their media rally cry to find criminals who run free?

Because the media has already played judge and jury because they didn't have all of the facts, now Zimmerman's lawyers will come out full-force to put Trayvon Martin's character on trial. What a double-blow to his parents! I can't even imagine what the next few months will be like... I'd like to see justice prevail in a court of law, not in the 'court of the media.'

My heart and prayers go out to the Martin/Fulton/Zimmerman families -- their lives will never be the same. Peace and forgiveness is a long way off, but as Christians we are called to help them find their way there.
Love Joy - March 26th, 2012 at 2:11 PM
Speechless!!!! But, know this soon real soon all under the sun of "GOD" we will live in peace and happiness. No one will say " I hate my Neighbor"!!! We will all love what :GOD: loves. And we will once and for all time know what it means to love your neighbor as yourself!!!!!
missy - March 26th, 2012 at 2:15 PM
There are always lots of black baby dolls at our Target. What breaks my heart is how often they are marked on clearance.



I know that it might just be a matter of statistics. It's probably just because I live in a predominantly white suburb in a predominantly white country and that not as many people are buying the black baby dolls - but then I hear a friend who works in foster care say, "We have more non-white babies than we have homes for", and the image of a cute black baby doll with a clearance sticker on her makes me cry a little in the Target aisle.


Jennifer - March 26th, 2012 at 2:15 PM
My mother's heart weeps for this woman and her son. Just weeps.



A couple of years ago I wrote a post that said something along the lines of, as a white person I do not have the right to say that racism doesn't exist because I'm not a victim of it. When I hear my friends whispering stories to me of how they've been treated, because they always whisper them, they never shout them, my heart aches for them. I want to go out and fight a battle that I have no idea how to fight. I want to stand up to injustice, but how do I do that when it doesn't happen to me? I will gladly link arms with you and go wherever I'm directed.
Lori - March 26th, 2012 at 2:26 PM
I can so relate to this letter ! I have 3 white biological children and adopted my 4th child. He is a beautiful black boy ! Adopted at 7 days old... now 14. I can't imagine what I would do if someone hurt my beautiful son !!!!!!!!!!!
Dawn - March 26th, 2012 at 2:29 PM
There continue to be "norms" that we set whether we intend to or not -- color, ability, disability, size, and on and on the list goes! What a peace to realize that God doesn't see us that way -- may we continue to strive to be more like our Savior! Thanks for sharing!
tara - March 26th, 2012 at 2:42 PM
breaks my heart. absolutely breaks it. but i want it to do more than break my heart. i want it to change my heart and effect my actions and my words and what i stand up for. praying for boldness.
April Diaz - March 26th, 2012 at 2:42 PM
Stiffling sobs as I sit in Panera. I'm with you - white momma, Ethiopian son, heartbroken at the injustice!!!!
Anna S. - March 26th, 2012 at 2:43 PM
A son is a son no matter what color.
Emily @CreativeDisaster - March 27th, 2012 at 11:24 AM
This is the point that I think so may people are missing. This guy shot an unarmed child. period. It is a tragedy no matter what color anyone was.
cindie - March 26th, 2012 at 2:44 PM
Beautifully written and it truly is time for racism to end...we are all God;s children and our hearts should all ache for this boy...and his family.
Leanne Penny - March 26th, 2012 at 2:51 PM
As a mother considering adoption my heart has been torn open over the last 24 hours. This is tragic, your solidarity is beautiful and I will share it, shout it and be ever grateful for your honesty.
Gwen Rubenstein - March 26th, 2012 at 2:56 PM
Jen, your letter to Trayvon's mom is just beautiful. I pray it makes it to her and that she finds some comfort in knowing that you and countless others are standing with her to fight this injustice. Trayvon's death will not be forgotten.
Julia - March 26th, 2012 at 2:59 PM
Dear George Zimmerman's mom,

I'm so sorry that an entire country has judged your son and found him guilty based on a complete lack of information and total ignorance. They are now experts on his character, prejudices, motives, and intentions. There is a bounty for him, and he is reviled and hated by millions. They feel that they can do a better job than police, investigators, and prosecutors with the information given to them by the media and Treyvon's family. Yes, racism may still exist, but apparently so does the mob mentality that led people to hang someone from a tree without even a hint of a trial. I pray you are getting the support privately that Treyvon's mother is receiving publicly.

Julia
Dela - March 26th, 2012 at 3:54 PM
Why can't you sympathize with the millions of people who are truly hurting because of this, and not just write it off as mob mentality? Can't you see the national response is an actual, heart-felt symptom of deep wounds? Why trivialize other people's pain just because you don't feel it? I'm so sorry that Zimmerman's parents are having to endure seeing their son go through all this. I'm also happy that they still have their son. Are you sad at all for Martin's mom?

Jen, thank you for allowing space on your blog to help some of us grieve. It's been comforting to know that I'm not the only one who has worry for my sons.
Name - March 26th, 2012 at 4:21 PM
I applaud efforts to eliminate racism as God has created ALL MEN EQUAL and in this great country ALL MEN are supposed to be afforded the rights of Life, Liberty,
Trace - March 26th, 2012 at 4:30 PM
Zimmerman shot and killed a 17 year-old unarmed boy whom he was following on no basis but his own misguided suspicions. That is a known fact. He was instructed by the police dispatcher not to follow Trayvon, yet he did anyway. That is a known fact. He then used lethal force on this teenage boy. That is a known fact, regardless of his motivation for doing so.

And yet, Zimmerman has not even been arrested. Now, how is that a lack of information and total ignorance? Based solely on the facts above, Zimmerman should have been arrested and should be now awaiting trial. And yet he's not. But you're saying we should feel sorry for him?

Jen's blog was about the racism that very obviously still exists in our country and the hurt she was feeling over a 17 year-old being killed because of a racially-driven bias held by the shooter. You can feel sorry for Zimmerman and his family all you want, but it's really two separate issues. And by the way, the whole reason Zimmerman is being "hung" by the court of public opinion is because THERE HAS BEEN NO TRIAL.
CunningPike - March 26th, 2012 at 5:11 PM
I just wish George Zimmerman had given Trayvon Martin the same access to due process that you now feel he deserves. He obviously felt that he could do a better job than police, investigators, and prosecutors, and we know now how that turned out. A young boy is dead, and all because George Zimmerman thought he was in the wrong neighborhood in the wrong clothes.

The most heinous part of this whole story is not the color of Trayvon Martin's skin. It is not even what George Zimmerman did. It is that the FBI has to fly south of the Mason-Dixon line to investigate the shooting of an unarmed black boy by a white man because local law enforcement would not do so. Ring any bells?

CP
Julia - March 26th, 2012 at 6:38 PM
Of course I sympathize with Treyvon's mom. Does high emotion and sympathy justify destroying someone else's life and reputation without knowing anything about what actually happened? No! There seemed to be plenty of sympathy abounding here for the Martin family; I thought it might be nice to point out that Mr. Zimmerman also has a family, and is being treated unfairly. A heart-felt response does not equal a right response.
Marie - March 28th, 2012 at 3:28 PM
Poor George Zimmerman. All he did was shoot an unarmed teenager! Why is everyone picking on him??
Sarah - March 26th, 2012 at 3:32 PM
I stand with you, too. Beautifully written. My sadness for Sybrina is paralyzing. And my goodness, the pictures of Ben and Trayvon made me smile and weep. Such beautiful children.
Ben - March 26th, 2012 at 4:00 PM
Great sentiments in this note, but in one breath you lament the fact that a black kid gets followed around in the store, and in the next you have already tried and convicted the shooter in this case as a murderer. As simple as the news media and, it seems, many Americans, want to make this case, it is not simple. There are witnesses who say that they saw Trayvon on top of the shooter, beating him. The shooter had a busted nose a cuts that required stitches in the back of his head. He certainly didn't get those injuries by himself. It is a tragedy that a young man is dead (no matter the color of his skin). It is also a tragedy that another human being is being portrayed as a murderer when the evidence seems to indicate otherwise.
Erin Beth - March 26th, 2012 at 8:24 PM
I'm just wondering- what do you think he should have done? If you're followed and approached in the dark, you're going to either run or defend yourself.

Treyvon wasn't armed. He'd been followed in the dark by someone who was. Now he is dead.

I'm not saying that he was shot because he is black but I 100% agree that this has been mishandled because he is black.
Name - March 26th, 2012 at 4:05 PM
What a beautiful letter! This Puerto Rican momma of two Ethiopian boys is praying for change, for the sake of all our children, no matter what their skin color.
kd - March 26th, 2012 at 4:18 PM
I applaud efforts to eliminate racism as God has created ALL MEN EQUAL and in this great country ALL MEN are supposed to be afforded the rights of Life, Liberty,
Amy - March 26th, 2012 at 4:19 PM
Thank you for this heart felt and honest letter....it gave me chills. My heart breaks for everyone involved in this tragedy. As a mother who will hopefully be bringing my baby boy home from Ethiopia this year, I have those fears also for my child...praying for a better world!
sherry - March 26th, 2012 at 4:23 PM
WOW!!!!!!..SO well written, as we too go to adopt and love our future black son, I too have been naive about the world we live in..thank you for this post...
Gloria - March 26th, 2012 at 4:33 PM
Dear Mrs. Hatmaker, Are you aware that the accused in this story has a best friend who is also black. Not only is he black but he is speaking out vehemently that this crime was not racially motivated. Forget the fact that there was a witness who saw this man lying on the ground pleading for help moments before the gun was fired. Forget the fact, that the accused suffered a broken nose and claims that Trayvon was trying to get his gun. Forget the fact that this man is a law abiding citizen who cares greatly about his community and spend many hours volunteering to keep the kids in the community safe. Let's also forget that he is also innocent until proven guilty. Here is the real problem. His skin is not dark enough to suit many. White people like you who feel that you have grown a deeper understanding of racism because you have for the first time in your lives become close to a black person have committed the same crime you have accused this man of. I had hopes that the "Christian" community would hold their tongues in this situation long enough for the facts to come in. As I can see, the trial has already taken place, and a judgement has been made. I have long understood the racism in this country, and I can assure you that blue eyed people, standing up to defend a young man just because he was black and his accused killer was white, does nothing to help the real problem.
LL - March 26th, 2012 at 6:11 PM
Thank you for writing this. Perhaps the author should look up the definition of racism. Not stocking dark skinned dolls at your local Target hardly rises to the occasion. You sat in the middle of Target crying your eyes out? Time for a reality check, lady.
Jill - March 27th, 2012 at 10:14 PM
I really think you are missing the point here. The fact is, her heart was broken for something...she wept...she decided to do something about it. THIS is the point. Isn't THIS what we should all do?? Be broken for something and do something to change it and make others think as well? I applaud this "lady", and hope that I too am broken for change for our world. Whether it be racism, hunger, the poor, the orphan....I hope I too have as much conviction in my heart to be willing to "stir the pot" simply to get others to stop and THINK!!
nathan - March 26th, 2012 at 7:02 PM
Great points Gloria.

Mariah - March 26th, 2012 at 7:23 PM
Thanks for writing this, Gloria. As a black mom of black children, I can say for certain that racism is present, but Miss Hatmaker's letter inciting more emotion over a situation that is potentially completely unrelated to racism does more harm than good. I, too, agree that it is irresponsible to speak out on the situation and make it into a racial issue when the facts are not known. It very well could have been self defense, but we as a country are being whipped into a frenzy over a bunch of rumors. Also found the crying in Target over more white than black dolls a bit much. Look around and see what percentage of patrons of your Target store are white vs. black, and obviously there is a common sense reason why there is a discrepancy in dolls, and it has nothing to do with racism.
Sarah - March 27th, 2012 at 10:24 AM
I live in Birmingham Alabama and their are ALWAYS more black dolls than white ones, be it barbie or baby...its all based on demographics of the population.
Name - March 26th, 2012 at 4:35 PM
I, too, want to stand with you. My sister (we are white) adopted a biracial baby about 34 years ago. It is incredible how much prejudice there is in this world. We had people afraid to hug her because it would rub off. She was not accepted in high school by either color. This prejudice has to stop sometime. Praying for God's grace and peace to cover Trayvon's family and only good comes from this.


Uli Walker - March 26th, 2012 at 4:45 PM
Thank you for this beautifully written letter. I sure hope this letter along with all the supporting comments will reach Sybrina and be of comfort and reassurance to her. As a Christian, I too believe that God created us equal. May God bless your family and hers!
Robyn Afrik - March 26th, 2012 at 4:47 PM
Amen
Nathan - March 26th, 2012 at 4:58 PM
Jenn I normally love your posts. But I think that this post is probably being applied to the wrong situation.



We must all hold off judgment.

Now some reports say that Trayvon picked the fight and tried to kill Zimmerman first with his hands and then by trying to kill George with his own gun. George Zimmerman a "minority" himself, has "black" people in his extended family and he and his wife have tutored black children as well. I'm sure George(Jorge) Zimmerman could tell us 100's of stories of him having prejudice aimed at himself and his family as well. Peace and Jesus' love to both families. Let's wait to see who the real aggressor was here before we make it to look like a hate crime.
Julie - March 27th, 2012 at 2:17 AM
Please listen to the 911 calls--especially Zimmerman. It tells all. He chased this child down despite being told by the dispatcher to back off. Trayvon was running away probably thinking it was for his safety --and not even knowing it was for his life.

The time is now to stand up for what is right. The post is perfect and heartfelt and precisely timed. We all have a story to tell but the story that is important is that of Trayvon and that Zimmerman is not being prosecuted. Let a court of law judge Zimmerman.

While I have never met you, Jenn, I stand with you. While I have never met Trayvon's family, I stand with them. I also stand in memory of the many injustices to children by vigilantes over the decades. I choose not to stand by but to stand up!
Jenny - March 26th, 2012 at 5:08 PM
Another white mama of two little black boys. I stand also. And I hope that somehow Sybrina sees this.
Melissa De Soto - March 26th, 2012 at 5:09 PM
Thank you for this genuine cry to Trayvon's mom. I call myself a "Hispanic incognito". My dad is Puerto Rican
Lilleye - March 26th, 2012 at 5:22 PM
This is very gut wrenching. beautifully written. I stand with you. I'm challenged.
guest - March 26th, 2012 at 5:22 PM
This is so amazing. I came across this blog and your post as a link from Facebook and I am MOVED beyond words. I THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for writing this!
Terese - March 26th, 2012 at 5:29 PM
Very well written. No child should have their life taken from them for any reason. It saddens me to see how people in our country still carries on a battle that started in our country by it's ancestors. Our soldiers stand together and fight in other countries, why can't we all do the same here in our own midst. We are all God's children and made in his image. I am white, and I was raised not to see color, but the person they are. I agree that racism needs to come to an end. .
Cynthia - March 26th, 2012 at 5:30 PM
moving and much strength to you and everyone to sit in that uncomfortable place known as challenging the norms...
Penny Bevill - March 26th, 2012 at 5:40 PM
First, I just teared up as I read your post...it started with a trip to Target. I am white, but have a number of black friends that I love dearly. What you shared opened my eyes to the extent of what they have lived during their lifetime. My heart broke when I heard about Trayvon's death, but I also didn't want to be one that rushed to judgement until all the facts have come out. I only wished more men would read your posts. Unfortunately I am married to a man who sees alot of the world in black and white, and I don't mean skin color, but I do mean...well...not willing to look at others point of view. I love you Jen, for continuing to be bold and help us open our minds and hearts.
tiffany mafima-coleman - March 26th, 2012 at 5:41 PM
I am a product of a white woman falling in love with a black (African) man. After my father passed away, I grew up primarily around my white family since my father's family was still in Africa. At times I have related more to the white race and found myself making assumptions and judgements that were, well...racist. Then I fell in love with a black man and we have a son who is primarily black (3/4). God has opened my eyes, convicted my heart and is still teaching me how to be colored blind. You are SO right, its engrained in us, whether we realize it or not, we are taught from a young age that is better to be lighter than dark. I am here to say that I have maybe one of THE cutest kids in the WORLD (okay, maybe I am bias, but he's pretty cute!). I can only pray that by the time my 3 year old grows into a 13 year old or 30 year old man that our world has opened its eyes to see that a man should be judged by the content of his character not the color of his skin. Thank you for your honestly, humility and openness. I will certainly be re-posting this to my facebook and blog (tandtk.blogspot.com).



Tiffany - Fort Worth, Texas
Gloria - March 26th, 2012 at 7:28 PM
I am sad that you were brought up that way. I was not. Maybe I am black, maybe I am white. You don't know. Either way, it is sad that you feel that it was taught to you that light is better than dark. I was raised in a much better light...All of God's people are the same. No matter what color or what size or what age. You need to let it go sister. This kid is opening our eyes but not to what you think. This kid is opening our eyes that we are still very very bias no matter what color we are.
Gene - March 26th, 2012 at 5:51 PM
What a complete and total CROCK. I am white. I make no apologies for being white. I make no apologies for a system created BY white people and run BY white people that seems to put white people in an advantage. But as I work every freaking day in an ER where I take care of plenty of non-white people, it occurs to me that I am working WAY harder than they are, and they have BETTER benefits than ME!! If one of THEM calls me fat white boy, NOTHING HAPPENS. But if I even acknowledge the color of their never-seen-a-hard-day's-work skin, I could get FIRED, SUED, or BOTH. My father is white. He was an independent contractor my whole life. He's retired now. And to keep his good healthcare benefits, he has to pay $800/month, while Mr. Never Workedaday pays NOTHING and gets EVERYTHING for FREE!! Sure, when he goes in to Walmart the security guys DON'T see him as a threat. Know why? Because people in HIS demographic group don't typically ROB YOU BLIND!! He doesn't get the third degree if he gets stopped by a police officer. I'm guessing that's because his car DOESN'T SMELL LIKE POT AND BEER. Tell me again how stacked the cards are against BLACKS, please!!
Kay - March 26th, 2012 at 5:55 PM
Get over yourself.
Jen Hatmaker - March 26th, 2012 at 6:13 PM
Oh, Gene Gene Gene. I believe you've found yourself reading the wrong blogger.
Erin Beth - March 26th, 2012 at 8:29 PM
word.
Ashley - March 26th, 2012 at 9:02 PM
Understatement.
Jackie - March 26th, 2012 at 9:24 PM
Great blog
michael - March 26th, 2012 at 5:52 PM
Everything in your post was beautifully expressed right up until the time you convicted a man of murder without due process. If he is guilty then he will do the time deserved. The court of public opinion is not the U.S Judicial system. Otherwise beautifully written.
Rosie - March 26th, 2012 at 6:16 PM
Very touching...brought me to tears. Love is all colors.
Jenny Hill - March 26th, 2012 at 6:29 PM
I am an adoptive mother of two beautiful black girls and I will stand with you too!
Dani - March 26th, 2012 at 6:33 PM
You are beautiful. Thank you for this message to Sybrina. So powerful and moving.
KMontgomery - March 26th, 2012 at 6:36 PM
Powerful words that will comfort, challenge and influence many! Bless you!
Jeanine - March 26th, 2012 at 6:45 PM
Bawling my eyes out as I read this. I hope you don't mind if I share - there are so many people who need to hear what you've so beautifully written. Blessings
Kelly - March 26th, 2012 at 6:47 PM
I cant write like that but I agree with everything amillion percent. The only way I could come up with to teach my children not to be racist was to have forien exchange students. They are al very well loved and respected adults.I wish I could come over and give you a hug and try to make you feel better. All I can say is keep believing God will take care of all of you.


Nathan Nordine - March 26th, 2012 at 7:13 PM
Jenn,

Why do you seem so apologetic for being white?

And why does it matter?

In Christ there is no Jew or Greek.

So we can say, "In Christ there is no Black or White or Hispanic, or Asian or Native American" etc.



Didn't Dr. King want us to get beyond making everything about the color of our skin.



When I was in a COGIC church in Memphis I will never forget what the "very black" Bishop Porter said to me and my "white" preacher friend. He said, "I'm not an African American, or a Black American, I'm an American! If I don't bathe I stink just like you do."



I never forgot that.

And another great example:

When Bernard Shaw great CNN anchor and life-long American journalist was retiring. I saw him being interviewed. Someone of course asked: "Mr. Shaw, how does it feel, what are the responsibilities that go with being the most famous and respected black journalist?" Bernie Shaw looked as if the man had asked him the most stupid question a person could ever ask because it was. Mr. Shaw said, "I have never viewed myself as a black journalist, just a journalist."

Amen Bishop Porter, Amen Mr. Shaw. Amen Dr. King.



In Sanford Florida. Two American men, one 17 and one 28 got caught up in a very unfortunate scuffle that turned into a life or death fight, and the younger man lost his life. It is much more a lesson on suspicion and controlling one's anger, than it will ever be about race.




Brandon Hatmaker - March 26th, 2012 at 8:46 PM
I appreciate your heart Nathan. It comes through in your posture. Scripture indeed reminds us over and over that "In Christ there is no Jew or Greek". But, the reason this was taught so regularly was because, although it is true in the eyes of God, people didn't live as if that were so. ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO CONSIDERED THEMSELVES GOD'S CHILDREN.

That said, I wish this wasn't our reality. But it is. And it's wrong. So is our silence. To stand idly by is to deny the very heart of mercy and justice.
Bro Ben - March 26th, 2012 at 7:38 PM
This is absolutely the best blog that I have ever read. As a black man the honesty provided and shared gives me hope that somewhere out here in America there are more like you.
Mearl - March 26th, 2012 at 10:55 PM
One is right here my friend.
Deb - March 28th, 2012 at 11:24 AM
Here too. :)
Mary - March 26th, 2012 at 7:46 PM
My husband and I have six kids. We are also VERY white. My 9 year old, who is autistic, announced the other day " MOM! We are now PERFECT! We have three browns and three peaches, three boys and three girls! Isn't it great!". Two of my children are black males, and we are currently fighting to adopt a third black son. I was so totally oblivious to racism until I lived it. It's ugly. I find it very ironic that my 9 year old daughter's views on our family are far more accurate than that of this world we live in. Out of the mouths of babes...
farrar - March 26th, 2012 at 7:52 PM
You are hopping right on the media bandwagon of assuming the white person did wrong without any facts. The facts that ARE coming to light are exonerating the watchman. It would be nice if people would wait on facts in cases instead of making unfounded assumptions. The facts-currently corroborated by witnesses-are that Trayvon punched the watchman, knocked him to the ground, then jumped on top of him and continued beating him. The facts are this "innocent kid"'s facebook page is full of bragging about violence he had committed. The facts are this "innocent kid" had been suspended because (according to family of his) drugs. If you want to say something to his mom, it might be to have raised her child better and paid more attention to what he was doing.
Brandon Hatmaker - March 26th, 2012 at 8:36 PM
farrar... did you actually read this post?

Your words: "Innocent Kid"
Jen's words: "I know he wasn’t a perfect kid."

She also wrote: "We’re going to have to work hard here, because it’s tempting to make sweeping statements and unfair generalities. It's easy to say things are all bad or all good or never this or always that, and that's not true and won't get us far."

And she simply asks the question: if this were a white kid, would this have happened?

Listen, racism still exists in our culture. We've been so numbed by the reduction of the heinous that we've missed the subtle. Here is a mom processing this reality AS A CONFESSION... and you pick it a part with sweeping generalizations? You completely missed the point. This attitude of reasoning away, my friend, is part of the problem. Your response is a perfect example.
Jenifer - March 26th, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Brandon - Is it wrong to want to give you a high five for that reply?
Melissa - March 26th, 2012 at 7:56 PM
Standing with you both and all the mothers with black or mixed children (like myself) WUNITED WE STAND , MUST END THIS NOW AND FOREVER !!!!!
anonymous - March 26th, 2012 at 8:03 PM
This is from the U.S. news- I have not red enough about it to say one way or the other who is at fault but...

Zimmerman's account emerged for the first time Monday in a report by The Orlando Sentinel. Quoting unidentified "law enforcement authorities," the Sentinel reported that Zimmerman (who is Hispanic not white) told police that Trayvon Martin knocked him down with a single punch and slammed his head into the sidewalk several times before the shooting — an account that police said witnesses have corroborated.
Rebekah - March 26th, 2012 at 8:11 PM
Excellently written, Jen. You have a beautiful heart for justice and are full of compassion.



To those not moved by these words, please consider reading another blog. This one will always be passionate for the "least of these".
Lyric Clemons - March 26th, 2012 at 8:22 PM
This could not have been said better.........
Waleska - March 26th, 2012 at 8:25 PM
What a beautiful post. I have a 17 year old son. Half black half puerto rican. We live in a predominately white neighborhood and he has been stopped by the police just for walking home. If e is not home by My curfew which is an hr before "their" curfew I am beside myself in fear. As mothers we stand together for the live of our sons and for the rights they do not get!!!! Just because of the color of their skin. God Bless our babies and May God Bless you All...
Terri G - March 26th, 2012 at 8:29 PM
Thank you so much for writing this. Our family has taken in two children, one of a different race and one from Russia and my sister's children are of mixed races, and your words express exactly what I want to say to all of the black mothers who look at me as a white mother and think I don't understand how they feel. My heart is breaking.
Lisa - March 26th, 2012 at 8:30 PM
This is a wonderful tribute. The band-aid comment really makes one think. Thank you for sharing.
Cindy - March 26th, 2012 at 8:32 PM
I cried when I read your post. You are a wonderful mother and a gift to those around you. If only there were more mothers like you. Thank you. And RIP to Trayvon.
T. Rachelle - March 26th, 2012 at 8:41 PM
Here is what we do know:

1. Multiple black men, women and children tell us that they are frequently subjected to profiling and treated unfairly. They say having someone suspicious of them based only on how they look is a big problem. What in the world would they gain from making that up? I for one believe them.



2. Multiple adoptive families of black children say they are shocked at the discriminatory attitudes toward their black sons once their sons are not little boys anymore. They say their eyes have been opened to the issues of racism in America post-adoption.



3. We are not a post-racial USA in any way shape or form -- and we are ALL to blame





Most of us have friends that look mainly like us, are in the same income bracket, have similar backgrounds ... Most of us would rather do just about anything other than be uncomfortable. Most of us don't take time to try to risk being uncomfortable by reaching out to our neighbors that are a different color, religion, or background. We stick with our circle of clones as much as we can. Most of us only give lip service to "loving like Jesus" and don't really ever do anything to cross boundaries and actually DO IT.



As long as we fear people that are different than us and refuse to listen, empathize or try to build relationships outside of our little circles, we can forget about it being any better.
Joely O - March 26th, 2012 at 8:44 PM
I just want to say as a white momma about to head to Ethiopia to meet our 8 year old son, I'm with you through and through here. No matter all the details of this case, the simple fact is that we as white people DO NOT truly understand what it is like to live life as a black person. We may know them as our brothers and sisters, our equals and may believe racism ended with MLK, BUT we are so oblivious to those out there that still don't feel that way. I'm proud and happy to think those I surround myself with, understand this and are sensitive to this but it does leave me living in a world that is not always realistic. So to anyone critiquing this blog post, can you not see the main points here? If your life is quite comfortable and you don't feel like you are being negatively watched everywhere you go because of your skin color, you likely do not get it and need to pray that God breaks your heart for what breaks His. Thank you Jen!
Black - March 26th, 2012 at 8:46 PM
Awesome.... simply awesome....
Angie - March 26th, 2012 at 8:58 PM
I've been thinking very much similar things. I am a very white foster mother hoping to adopt my black son. Although I don't look at my color or his color often, I see him as any momma who loves their son. Although I know right now all my friends and this community love my son. He is eight and goofy. He is cute and adorable. But in another 6 to 8 years, if he is walking down the street will he be safe? Will people be afraid of him? Added on that Wisconsin now has concealed carry and castle doctrine with many trigger happy people and I do worry about him. Worse, how do I as his mother explain to him the dangers out there that simply are unfair?
Melissa - March 26th, 2012 at 8:59 PM
I love this so much! Thank you so very much. I, too, was totally ignorant until I married a man with black skin and had a son with white and black skin. I remember thinking, "I've never heard people say things like this before." Then one day I realized, I always heard these things, just never truly cared until it affected me and my family. I wish we could all change. Will it ever happen?
Kimisha Ellis - March 26th, 2012 at 9:01 PM
Well said. Wake up America. These types of small racial bigotry happen everyday. But what happened to Trevon and what is happening to the man who took his life is unthinkable. Trevon's mother said it best in an interview. She said God has a plan for everyone. He has used Trevon and his family to wake this country up. When you see injustice happening dont walk by as you didnt see it....STAND UP AND SPEAK. Because if you dont who knows what next may happen. WAKE UP AMERICA...WAKE UP!!!!
Becky - March 26th, 2012 at 9:10 PM
I understand much of what you say -- except our daughter was the only white girl on her basketball team. I have had to accompany her in the dressing room due to threats because she was white. I have accompanied our black girls when we played all white schools, because they were all dear to my heart. It is easy to make generalizations . . . my husband is a police officer, never would he use race to make decisions about anyone. I don't know what happened in south Florida. I think it is incredibly sad and pray that the proper measures will be taken. I feel for Trayvon's Mom because I am a mom. Please -- let us not make similar mistakes and use color and/or race. Only by being Mom's of any color can we really make a difference.
lcabe - March 26th, 2012 at 9:17 PM
When I adopted my son I searched the entire greater Memphis area looking for a black baby doll and was appalled to only find two in a clearance section after searching for 2 days...IN MEMPHIS...I too have complained about band-aids...I stand with you too.
Gary Robinson - March 26th, 2012 at 9:28 PM
This brings tears to my eyes. This beautiful piece shows that you GET IT. I now feel hopeful again. I'm a black man that lives with this everyday. I have a job, married, two kids, and living the "American Dream". But how long will it last for me? All it takes is getting stop by a cop. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time... The truth is Trayvon's story happens more than we would like to admit.



Nonetheless, you have made me hopeful.
love - March 26th, 2012 at 9:30 PM
thank you, jen.

many prayers for trayvon's family and our broken world.
Cheryl - March 26th, 2012 at 9:31 PM
I felt ashamed of my color when I first heard the sad end of Trayvon's life. What I wish is that we could totally forget color. Stop thinking of people in terms of any color and see people. Just people. I vow that I will do my part with God's help..
soren - March 26th, 2012 at 9:44 PM
George ZImmerman is Hispanic... and doesn't even look close to being white... you do realize that don't you?
AJ - March 26th, 2012 at 10:11 PM
He is Hispanic AND Caucasian.
Angie - March 26th, 2012 at 9:41 PM
I am overwhelmed ... May God Bless You.
beth - March 26th, 2012 at 9:50 PM
beautifully written. my heart breaks for trayvons family and everyone who knew him. thank you for writing this.
Jennifer - March 26th, 2012 at 9:59 PM
Awesome! I'm in tears... I'm a black mother with 2 black sons and 1 hispanic son...I'm terrified!
heidi - March 26th, 2012 at 10:08 PM
This really touched my heart, and ur an awesome women for everything your doing and stand for. My heart goes out to u all and I stand with u too ;)
Steve - March 26th, 2012 at 10:12 PM
This story had nothing to do with color or race. Zimmerman is Hispanic with loads of African American friends. No one knows what really happened and all of these theories are downright unjust. It is infuriating to see the ambulance chasers Sharpton and Jackson stirring up more hatred, when will the black community denounce them?
Matthew - March 26th, 2012 at 10:21 PM
I think it is important to keep in mind that Trayvon was 6'2" and 180lbs 17 year old and all of the Holister T-shirt photos are of him five years ago and that the now infamous hoodie pic was Photoshopped and softened his appearance and that Treyvor openly talked about selling dope on his twitter page.



There is a very sincere possibility that a grown man was desperately trying NOT to shoot a young man who was beating his face in until he had no choice...because as of now that is exactly as law enforcement is showing the case to be and that it was Zimmerman crying out for help. Who now has this burden of killing someone on his conscious and heart as well as a $10,000 price tag on his head.
Bain - March 27th, 2012 at 9:42 PM
Except he followed him.

Evie - March 28th, 2012 at 3:12 PM
So that means it's ok for there to be a bounty on this man's head? Two wrongs do not make a right.
carla - March 26th, 2012 at 10:29 PM
So powerful, both what you have written and the comments following. Thank you for putting into words what so many are feeling. Change begins with each one of us and in teaching our children.
Pamela - March 26th, 2012 at 10:42 PM
I don't think you can ever over share the raw emotions regarding our children. And when I say our children I mean every child in the world belongs to me. Every child in the world looks to me for safety, love, food, knowledge, warmth, self-confidence. And I cannot provide every child in the world with what they need...my heart breaks. And I heard the 9-1-1 tape and I felt that this man has Testosterone Poisoning, common among all men, and felt the urge to conquer. But to conquer a sweet young man who is not a threat is the act of a sick, cowardly male. I will hear much about my statements. I am whiter than white; Scandinavian, in fact, blue eyes, blonde. But my heart knows no color. I pray for you and grieve with you. I don't know how you survive the death of a son. I send you strength.
Autumn - March 26th, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Wonderful, so beautifully written.
Jennifer - March 26th, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Thank you, Jen...what a lovely, heart-felt sentiment. I hope it makes a difference in someone's thoughts.
Jenni - March 26th, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Ok, maybe this has nothing to do with racism, but if Zimmerman had stayed in his truck like he was told, then Trayvon (innocent 17 year old) would probably be alive TODAY!



It doesn't matter what he has on his FB page or what happened to Zimmerman during the altercation...Treyvon was innocent prior to Zimmerman approaching him.
Brandon Hatmaker - March 27th, 2012 at 8:31 AM
Jenni. So simple. So well put. We too often miss the forest for the trees. So many unknown details... but what we do know is that for whatever reason, he was followed at a snails pace by an SUV. How creepy would that feel? I wonder how I would have responded if someone was following me at a snails pace in an SUV and then on foot? Trayvon obviously knew he was being followed, Zimmerman himself reported that he lost him, then Trayvon appeared out of no where. Seems he knew he was being followed, slipped aside and then addressed his follower. I would have done the same. I don't know if they knew each other, or if they have history, I'm not sure it matters. And as you said, if he'd have stayed in the truck... no problem. Geeze. Why can't we see this root problem? Regardless, my hope is that people will see this post not as a news report, but as a confession and apology. Certainly we have that right.
Janet - March 26th, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Jen--thanks so much for sharing! Having grown up in a small "whitebread" town as well, I identify with your words. I have tried to raise my kids to be open minded, although I must admit that me, myself am not "there" yet. If walking down the street, and an oncoming group of differently ethnic boys were walking toward me, I am somewhat ashamed to say that I would probably cross the street. I am reviewing that feeling and hope to "get there" within in this life-time. I am however, proud to say that my kids would not do the same, and for that I am both proud and humbled. Peace and Love!
Cynthia Robbins - March 26th, 2012 at 11:02 PM
I felt the hurt, fear,love, and sincerity as I read this letter. All realness this came from the heart and was Beautifully put. The realist I've read so far! This letter touched me I know sabrina and Tracy would be in tears as they read this
Tony - March 26th, 2012 at 11:04 PM
And Jen may have wanted to read her own words from a previous post before writing this post.



"May we not move foolishly.



Or arrogantly.



Or rashly.



Or naively."



Foolishly, rashly, and naively you assume this was a race issue. Maybe, but we don't know that. And if you're going to speak honestly about race then, who is placing a bounty on Zimmerman? Who is tweeting his home address? Who is calling for vigilante justice?



Racism doesn't surprise me ... we know it exists ... both ways. What surprises me are the people who claim to not be racist but only see skin color when they see another person. I suppose that isn't 'racism' per definition, but it seems to be an issue within your heart.
Suroj - March 26th, 2012 at 11:05 PM
As a child growing up in South America, I have been the victim of attacks by other races. Some of which is forever seared in my heart but I am happy to say that over the years, I have come to understand that these incidents are far fewer than the kindness expressed by people for other races. I am from Indian ancestry and my country was black dominated and for many years I have lived in mortal fear of black people. However, I am so glad I have been able to overcome the fear of the horrible injustices which were inflicted on me because it has allowed me to cultivate many, many wonderful relationships with people of all races.



In addition, my family has endured the horrific murder of my niece and, even though I loved my niece as my own child, I still cannot understand the pain my sister now feels every single day of her life. I can tell you that I understand your pain but I can never truly understand YOUR pain. I will tell you that faith and continued prayers will help ease some of the pain. You, as his mother, carried him in your womb for 9 months, gave painful birth to him, have nursed him at your breast, stayed up with him when he had a fever, runny nose and was simply cranky. You have probably watched him with a broken heart yourself when his heart was broken and will always love him the same way you have when you discovered his first move in your sacred womb. I pray that you and your family will can find some small comfort in the kind words of perfect strangers who are grieving along with you. His memories will keep you strong today and for all your tomorrows.



God Bless You and give you the strength to carry on!!
Sharla - March 26th, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Jen, I stand with you. I am also a white mother raising black sons and my heart has been aching fro Trayvon's mom, for all of his family. It is so sad. I know that there are a lot of comments above mine that talk about the conflicting reports and evidence and what may or may not have happened that night, but the truth is that this has forced us to admit a truth that we were trying not to talk about, that racism still exists, that it still affects real people every day. It will not go away unless we talk about it.
Jay - March 27th, 2012 at 12:13 AM
my sister in law is related to the martins lawyer so i will pass this along
Anonymityisgreat - March 27th, 2012 at 12:22 AM
So, I'd like to withhold judgement 'til all of the facts are in. Is that OK?
Lori Dean - March 27th, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Thank you Jen! I am what you call "God's special Recipe"... I use this term because it makes more sense to children when I tell them about God's kitchen where souls are made :o) it makes sense to them because my ethnic background is more like "two teaspoons of everything.' How awesome for God to think of me so special! You see Jen.. I can't hate anyone, because I am just like them and they are just like me! If we could flavor a cake ..with 2 tsp of vanilla... and we can color liquids with even less ... I think that we can surely bet that God Figured that I am indeed a special mix of his LOVE; because he gave me a portion of all peole! In my heart I identify with people of all colors and backgrounds... I smile at the different, the old, the young and even the grotesque images that others think "I am glad it is not me!" The truth is .. how do you know it won't be YOU subjected to some type of hate tomorrow? Love today ... Live tomorrow and Remember..."A life is worth all the stars in the heavens"... atleast to its maker..He did give his only Son for its purpose...To live, have fellowship and be in the Kingdom, FOREVER...I think too many forget that part. The choose to take, rob, steal and murder..it doesn't matter how exactly, they just do. Sad reality of this life not understanding our true purpose. I applaud you Jen... keep the same love and share all you can with ignorance.



~Lori
Katrina - March 27th, 2012 at 12:48 AM
Very thoughtful...beautifully written...thanks for sharing! Zimmerman stalked this young man, then killed him. Now, I'm thinking he would love a do-over. Well, life just doesn't work like that, George.
abc - March 27th, 2012 at 1:49 AM
Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

Ephesians 6:14-15
Nicole - March 27th, 2012 at 2:24 AM
Thank you for writing this. There will never be a time when every person "gets it" - but if one person can gain an understanding its worth it. This is not a matter of all of the facts coming out about Zimmerman's guilt or innocence. In my opinion, the entire case is about his first reaction and then actions toward Trayvon. His first thought was that the young man was "suspicious" - I wish I could ask him what suspicious looks like to him - what did Trayvon fit the bill? Then his next action was to follow the young man. Why? How can the person who initiated the pursuit claim self-defense? He was the offender when he approached this child - Trayvon died because he was trying to defend and protect himself by fighting back. But what I love most about this post is that it goes far beyond just this tragedy - it speaks to the greater issue of privilege in America and in the world based on race. Acknowledging these things is the only thing that will break the cycle. Thank you.
Dori - March 27th, 2012 at 3:02 AM
I am sad that we are now using the race card with all of our children to prove that we understand that there is a problem. Children are all precious. They are all the heartbeat of the Creator himself, and none are meant to perish. Both parties involved are also another of the many that God loves and pursues.

I have no real details here other than what the media spoon feeds us, but I know that tragedy has been felt by all involved. I know there are tears for feelings of injustice and tears for loss. And that is enough to know right now. Please do not decide that blogs are now the place where we deny someone the right to express how they feel because ' people are watching and ready to follow'. This is a true expression of feelings dealing with this and the much bigger issue of racism. And let people decide who to follow. They are big enough to pick up their own britches, and their children's children in some cases. It is what it is, and the only person who's reaction you can control is your own. The people stating Z's case are in it just as much as the people stating T's case...but this was a letter to a mom from another mom. And maybe it was a plea for the rest of the world to wake up. We have created such a crazy mess with generations of parent-less children. The violent tendencies that come with the anger felt from hearts broken and trust abused leads cops into almost a guerilla warfare mentality. It is not right. It is not healthy. It needs to change. The system is broken people. This does not mean that we remain silent. It means we pray. Because that is what God calls us to. Prayer. And then we listen to how He would have us participate. And we do it.
Pastor CeCe Garrett - March 27th, 2012 at 3:11 AM
As a mom of two pasty white and one brown child, I am sharing.. I would also like to read this post in church next week. Let me know if that is alright with you?
Katie Francescon - March 27th, 2012 at 4:10 AM
Beautifully and passionately stated.
thedoseofreality - March 27th, 2012 at 6:11 AM
Beautiful post. Just found it through Sybrina Fulton's Twitter, so I know she saw it, too, which is a testament to your words and their power.

May we all as mothers stand together and vow to fight until justice prevails.

Ashley

http://www.thedoseofreality.com/2012/03/22/and-justice-for-all/
Tracy - March 27th, 2012 at 6:31 AM
Wow!
Randy odom - March 27th, 2012 at 6:53 AM
Great post Jen I have been blessed in that I have been

Able to move between what I call the two worlds white and black cultures

All the while experiencing the racism with the kids I minister to in over 15 yrs of urban ministry

And with my wife , who is African American to. my son . We lived in Mississippi and now in memphis. I think back to our OBU days and it was there too it's everywhere it's a good thing you

See it and you will know be affected by it daily. So you and Brandon can fight it with us

Im glad your in the fight sister
Anonymous - March 27th, 2012 at 6:54 AM
A kid died because someone was trigger happy. I think there's more to the story than what is being told. It just does not make sense a kid eating Skittles would be shot out of the random blue for being black.



When something doesn't make sense, it generally means it's not true. Could it be the kid was being a jerk? Could it be the shooter was high as a kite? There's several critical details missing and someone needs to find them out.



Instead of focusing on this guy, we should be focusing on what Trayvon's death is to remind us. Life is short. Life is precious. Cherish your children. I doubt that Trayvon wants to be remembered for the one who's murderer was left free but for who HE was.
LaVerne - March 27th, 2012 at 11:37 AM
What a wonderful way of looking at this matter because no matter how it turns out both of them are sons of someone who loves them very much. And we should care about justice and not color or cast blame when we do not have all of the facts.
Diane - March 27th, 2012 at 6:54 AM
These words could have come from my own heart. As the white mother of a 21 year biracial son I am very aware of all that you wrote. We need to try to get rid of these labels whenever possible. When asked select his race on the many forms in which this question appears, my husband likes to write "human".

Diane
Toni - March 27th, 2012 at 7:18 AM
Thank you on behalf of all people like me who feel exactly the same way as you do, I pray that other people will make a stand with us, only then will this world be a better place. Best Wishes, Toni in UK.
Jayme - March 27th, 2012 at 7:47 AM
I was going to "walk on by" and not post to this. It is emotional and it is littered with guilt for something that happened that we don't have all the facts to. There is something that is BIGGER here than anything else and that is the misconception that recognizing other races helps to eliminate racism. What most people don't realize is recognizing race all the time perpetuates racism. Whether the intention is good or otherwise "you" are saying we aren't all the same as a human race. We have a billion forms that say "race" and most people will go and check off their appropriate boxes. You have labeled yourself, you have said look at me as my race, but until it is in a way you don't agree with you have no problem with that. How about we are more than the color of our skin. That is not the sum total of who we are and it is one element that makes us recognizable as an individual and not as a race of people? I don't break down my ethnicity as to make sure I'm am recognized for all the parts that make up the individual that I am. Ech time we bring race into the discussion we are making race an issue. We can't change the world and it's perceptions, but we can change ourselves and hope that it impacts others and in turn will effect change in the world. I do not see race... I see individuals, I see people, I see your actions or inactions.

For the sake of this conversation I will show you an example of what I am talking about. My son is bi-racial, but REALLY is multi racial because while society may label me white I am American Indian, French-Canandian, German and Irish... My son did NOT know he was bi-racial until about the age of 9 or 10. He found out that he was, because his friends pointed out to him. I will say I was divorced from his biological father, but it wasn't as if he encountered only "white" people (which should of if anything only made it more apparent he was "different"). We didn't make it an issue, we didn't talk about your bi-racial and I'm not. We chose to raise him in such a way that his skin color was part of what made him an individual it didn't define who he was as an individual.

Until society regards people as individuals and not members of a group we will have racism. I choose not to participate in the group mentality. I choose to remain an individual, I want my children raised to be independent, individuals and not the members of a group that they are born into and don't choose. We teach racism it is not born into us, because as children they don't see it until it is pointed out to them. Labeling individuals brings out and perpetuates racism.

So to Jen Hatmaker and all others who scream at the injustice and tell this mother I will stand with you would you have done the same to another child who didn't make the news? Do you seek out individuals who have been harmed who don't make the sensationalized news and stand with their parents?

I am all for justice and I am all for seeing that justice is sered, but let's not serve it in the court of public opinion that has rendered it's decisions based on what the news media has deemed appropriate to dole out. If he was a harmless boy that was out walking the streets and completely unprovoked the neighborhood watch gentleman shot him then justice for the boy is due. However that is for a jury with all the facts to weight out and that is for the to make this decision. Not us.

So I challenge you, I dare you the next time you fill out a form and it asks race IGNORE IT. Don't label yourself, don't label your children. Rebel at a system that was designed to label and segregate you according to group. This may seem minor, but the more and more you realize that you are an individual based on solely who you are as a person you start seeing the world in a different way. It is small changes that will begin to make a larger impact on the world. It is hard to step away sometimes and to break from what we have always done. It is liberating though. We fight the injustice of labeling. We say that I will not be "grouped", I will not be defined by the color of my skin, I will not allow someone to judge me and assume anything about me based on a trait we have no control over.

Disclaimer: Do not confuse this with a disregard for heritage and where your ancestors hail from. That is your Heritage NOT your Ethnicity. There is a difference.
Brandon Hatmaker - March 27th, 2012 at 8:18 AM
Jayme. Thanks for your thoughtful post. I would argue, however, that there is a huge difference between SAYING we are all equal and LIVING as if we are. We cannot ignore our context. If racism still exists, then calling it out doesn't perpetuate it. It simply demands we stop living in ignorance. It's a call that demands a response.

If it DIDN'T exist, then I agree with you. There would be no reason to point out the difference in our skin color. But this is Jen's point... we simply miss it. We dismiss it. We are ignorant to it.

Her post was both a confession and an apology. Please don't miss the forest for the trees.
PJ - March 27th, 2012 at 8:55 AM
Brandon (I assume Jen's husband?), I see Jayme's post as arguing that the first step in BEING equal in reality is to STOP pointing out the differences in skin color. Not pointing it out until we accept that we're equal is backward. Pointing it out only continues to separate and divide....showing the differences. Well written response Jayme. There is no such thing a "race" other than the human race. There are different shades of skin tone. I suggest the book "One Blood" as a real eye-opener on this topic. (While it doesn't lessen the sadness over the loss of this child, remember there are many children lost daily in this country of all skin shades. Do we grieve over all of them? And do we wait for all facts to come out as justice and the courts do their work in not only this, but every case?) Jen, I understand your mother's heart...and you write beautifully.
Jayme - March 27th, 2012 at 9:23 AM
Exactly. And I agree the heart of a mother I feel and her writing is excellent. Far better than my own at times. I felt what she was saying and that is why it is easy to get swept up in those emotions. I started to and that is why I almost didn't respond.
Laura Beth - March 27th, 2012 at 7:57 PM
I agree with you, Brandon.

I would also like to point out that it adds insult to injury to people of color when you are not willing to see them as they are, i.e., "Oh, I don't see you as black, I just see you as a person." Mindsets like this are harmful; they refuse to recognize a person's ethnicity, which is a slap in the face of the people who are wrongfully judged because of that same ethnicity every day. I think this aversion amongst white people to recognizing any non-white person's race proves that we subconsciously attach negative connotations to non-white races. We'd rather just "do away" with other races all together ("I don't see color. I just see people.") than address the fact that we live in a culture that looks down on those races. We especially don't want to address the fact that some, if not much, of that has been instilled in us. This is a problem centuries in the making, y'all. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that simply refusing to acknowledge that someone is of a certain race suddenly makes us immune to the systemic racism in our culture.

I would strongly encourage anyone to watch this in its entirety. It's worth the time. A woman named Jane Elliott has done this experiment regarding racism for many years and it's eye-opening.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPtzS7-H7J4

God Bless.
Jamica - March 27th, 2012 at 8:00 AM
As a Black woman with tears running down my cheeks : God Bless you Jen!.. You and your entire family. This is evidence that Trayvon's life will be used by God for a larger purpose than we ever imagined! Trayvon's life will be used to unite and NOT to divide! - It's God's way! - Bless you Trayvon's family!
luke - March 27th, 2012 at 8:02 AM
Except that was a picture from when he was 8. Not 17 and 6 foot 3 like he was
Debra Renou - March 27th, 2012 at 8:18 AM
I wish I could add something profound to what has already been said here but I don't have that ability. What I can add is I feel each and every word and sentiment posted here and I, too, would be honored to stand with Trayvon's family. If he had been white (like me and my family), Mr. Zimmerman would be sitting in jail right now and we all know that.
Lisa Rains - March 27th, 2012 at 8:19 AM
I can't even express into words at how well this is written and from the heart with brutal honesty. I have two grown daughters that are mixed and they too fall into this category and it makes me sick to my stomach that stereotyping is still going on. Thank you for putting into words what so many are affraid too.
Angel - March 27th, 2012 at 8:21 AM
Grate storry win it forst started out i was some what shoked thin i got to the last part of it and my heart sank your a good women god bless u :)
Susana - March 27th, 2012 at 8:21 AM
Ben to his future kids: When this happened, Grandma said something. When that happened, she took a stand. She was not silent. She was not afraid.



You are building faith and justice and strength into the very fiber of your children. You should be proud.
Rolyn - March 27th, 2012 at 8:32 AM
Thank you.
Tina - March 27th, 2012 at 8:49 AM
Thank you for this post. As the mother of an African American son, I cried reading this because you ACTUALLY get it. Being a African American female, I never knew racism was so bad until I had a son.
rosland - March 27th, 2012 at 9:07 AM
Thank you for such a beautifully written piece. God Bless you and your family!
Tammara - March 27th, 2012 at 9:16 AM
Very well said, we ALL can make a change
Amy - March 27th, 2012 at 9:20 AM
Very eloquently written. Thanks for opening up!
joe - March 27th, 2012 at 9:27 AM
I think we all can agree. despite the circumstances, this was a tragic loss,,warranted or not..
Nancy - March 27th, 2012 at 9:36 AM
You are a great writer and I appreciate how well your letter was written. I have an adopted African grandson and he has adapted well into his new white family. But we fear for him and hope for the best. I too thought everything had changed, but it hasn't. We still have far to go (us white people) towards accepting and fostering the meaning of change for the minorities. I know that deep in my heart are the words I was taught as a child. I have to cleanse my mind of those nasty thoughts and bring myself forward to full acceptance of all minorities. I would never express them out loud, but still they are there deeply hidden because my family raised me that way. I have to work hard to forget all of these things. In my own Christian heart, I know exactly what is right and how I should be more Christ like. He loved everyone regardless of their skin color. My own grandson is easy to love, but I know I should love every single one. I was a teacher and always loved every single one of my students. I think getting to know people must be crucial in learning that we all are the same and we are all cable of the same feelings, hurts, accomplishments, and sharing of love! May God Bless you for writing such a great letter and educating us all in the truth!
Thom - March 27th, 2012 at 9:58 AM
Jen,



Thank you for the beautiful words that express the broken hearts of many of us. Others may try to soothe their hearts by placing blame on this young man, but the fact remains that an unarmed young black man - a son - was killed by an adult with a gun, and if he wasn't black, it wouldn't have happened.
Ebonee Monique - March 27th, 2012 at 9:58 AM
This was SO beautifully written
Erica - March 27th, 2012 at 10:34 AM
Jen,



Thank you for this. As a mother of two small children in Southwest Louisiana, I know the perils of raising black children in this world. It is the most difficult and greatest reward. You have spoken to many parents with this beautifully written piece. Believe me, there are people who are never going to get past the fact that race has an enormous impact on the world today. There are people who were raised to fear black people and others who were raised that all white people are bad. I know that is not true. We are all human but to think that we will get over this hurdle of race is just not simple. But if we could work together to help all of our children see past the color of skin one is blessed by God with then we can start to heal the world and change some lives. Thank you for this piece.
Nyci - March 27th, 2012 at 10:35 AM
Hopefully these beautiful words can be put into beautiful actions. I pray that Trayvon's mother reads this and reaches out. I also pray that she pays no mind to the words of ignorance in regards to the character of her baby boy. Personally, I have 3 sons - one close to Trayvon's age - and I can't even begin to imagine the pain of him going to the store and never coming home again. If, in my unimaginable grief, I had to deal with irrational and uneducated assumptions about who my child was, well, I may just scream. There is no justification for this act. None.



I don't know where some people get this ludicrous notion that Latino's are somehow exempt from racism. I'm a 3rd generation American. My maiden name is Perez - That's "Jones" south of the border. Just because we're minorities ourselves doesn't mean we are without flaws such as this. A slur is a slur - no matter who says it. It surely wasn't meant to be words of sunshine.
Olivia - March 27th, 2012 at 10:38 AM
My heart cries out with you Jen.



I grew up in a household where equality was preached, and my parents made it very clear that equality didn't exist in this imperfect world, but that this didn't mean we shouldn't express it. It didn't mean that me and my 5 brothers and sisters weren't encouraged to completely express our need for diversity through both the amount, and the variety of friends that we had.

In highschool, (several years ago) I was asked to prom by a black boy, now a man, who I knew from another city. My parents had a lot of soul searching to do, and after many discussions they realized how much harder it was to practice what you preach when you become involved first hand.



I never knew, then, why I wasn't allowed to hang out with my boyfriend in my home town-- East Texas, until many years after.

I never knew why people would follow us in the mall.

or why, when we'd go out, be reported. Because some one thought he was attacking me.



I was devastated, that an entire world would not be able to see him as an equal human being.



Despite wether the act for Trayvon was racism, racism isn't necessarily a MOTIVE, but rather a way of thinking that is engrained into us.



I will not apologize for being a middle class white girl,

but I WOULD apologize for treating any human being, (ANY) with inequality and an air of superiority .



Awareness of the state of our culture regarding race is a very first step to take.



-With love, and Christ.

Olivia
Judi - March 27th, 2012 at 10:51 AM
It does go both ways, you know. My daughter is a teacher in a racially diverse classroom. She has been told (by a 2nd grader, mind you) that her momma told her she "didn't have to listen to no honkey" and refused to do as the rest of the class. And no, this is not isolated, she hears on a regular basis the hate black parents teach children about other races. You must be open minded enough to understand, blacks can be as racists as whites or hispanics.



Also, please keep in mind, Mr Zimmerman is classed as hispanic, not white. Not all whites are prejudiced, not all blacks are open minded, not all hispanics are illegal. In NY we have killings of children on a regular basis, but because it is black on black, or white on white, no one hears about it. If this had been a black man who killed this poor kid, would Jesse Jackson or any of the others be on the march? Nope. Shouldn't ALL child murders be cause for outrage?
Maria - March 27th, 2012 at 10:58 AM
I couldn't stop crying!!! GOD bless Trayvon's mother and father, RIP Trayvon!
JayJay - March 27th, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Thank you for this on behalf of many mother's who share this same fear for their sons, no matter their color, age or geographic location. I pray she is comforted by your words and I pray that your son and mine and many like them will be able to see the "post-racist" America that so many have and are still fighting for. Bless you and your transparency in this letter. Prayers to the Martin family and every family that has lost their child in a senseless act of ignorance.
Kisha - March 27th, 2012 at 11:27 AM
Jen-



It takes a lot of courage to write this, and even more courage to face these comments..some of which are flat out ignorant. As an African American mother of a bi-racial daughter, I salute you, and I stand with you. Thank you!!!
MDC - March 27th, 2012 at 11:43 AM
God bless you. We need the entire village and all of it's colors to make this world a better place.
Name - March 27th, 2012 at 11:54 AM
Amen to that!
Janet Rose - March 27th, 2012 at 11:57 AM
VERY well spoken. I am white as well, and I agree 100%. I live in a mixed neighborhood, and it breaks my heart when I see my friends go through this. I am working in my own way in our neighborhood to try and change this, if we all do our own little part things WILL change. I truly believe that.

To Trayvon's Parents:

I lost my oldest son to a tragedy as well, though not hate and violence. I know they are in heaven together now, and I pray my son has his arm around Trayvon's shoulders and is comforting him and helping him along his way.

God Bless and be with you both.
Kay - March 27th, 2012 at 11:59 AM
Thank for written what were on many of our hearts, Jen.
momtothree - March 27th, 2012 at 12:07 PM
I love the perspective your letter has come from, I love your mothers heart, I can hear your strong parenting desire and greatly admire your motherhood. Although I also fear we are unknowingly standing behind a young man who has had unfortunate history and choices that led up to this awful tragedy, this is a young man who was currently suspended from school for the 3rd time, had numerous truancies, had been caught with drug paraphernalia, suspected stolen jewelry. As a mom this is a terrible eye opener, we must continue to parent our children, even or more so as they enter and live through the teen years. Trayvon didn't deserve to have this, his family didn't deserve to grieve this. My heart and mind wonder at what point did this young mans life go awry, was is on that awful March evening, or had Trayvon been let down and given up on far before March of 2012.
pz - July 5th, 2013 at 6:29 PM
Did he deserve to die, though? I swear people's lack of empathy no longer surprises me.
Geki - July 14th, 2013 at 1:15 PM
Martn was beating Zimmerman and wouldn't have stopped. Yes, he deserved to die. If you harm someone else, you deserve death.
Gina - July 14th, 2013 at 9:08 PM
You are seriously ridiculous.
what?! - July 5th, 2013 at 8:38 PM
why are you even mentioning trayvon's history? trayvon didn't deserve to die, and i don't trust you even a smidgen for bringing it up.
rationalsw - July 14th, 2013 at 11:17 AM
I'm a middle aged white lady with no kids, BUT I smoked pot and did other illegal things when I was in college. If someone had shot me point blank and my murder was being investigated, I doubt very seriously if a utox would have been perpetrated upon my dead body. By the way, did anyone check Zimmerman for steroid use? What exactly is your point, anyway?
Sherry lewis - March 27th, 2012 at 12:32 PM
No one could have said this with more love and heart felt compassion. Thank you for so eloquently expressing what so many of us feel. I don't know what Trayvon's history is, I just know that someone should not have the right to take another's life unless their life is in imminent danger. I don't believe that was the case here and I think the laws in the state that I LIVE IN should be reviewed and amended.



Our hearts go out to his grieving family.
angela - March 27th, 2012 at 12:33 PM
Sharing on facebook. I pray we all join you. Thank you.
Ashley - March 27th, 2012 at 1:08 PM
Someone told me the comments on this post have devolved, and I'm so sad to see that this is the truth. Keep your head up, Jen. You did the right thing here.
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