By De’Sean Quinn
After the weekend I took much time to reflect on the “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmermann murder trial that concluded Saturday. Like many, I was aware and tracking the daily commentary of this trial. I was disappointed in the outcome, however I respect the decision reached by the Court. The burden of proof resides with the prosecution and they failed. I am extremely disappointed in the prosecution’s case and the responsibility for the loss falls squarely on their shoulders however our society and our lack of compassion and understanding also contributed greatly to the ultimate decision.
I want to apologize as an American to Trayvon for your civil and human rights being violated. A young life was taken too soon and the verdict does not resolve the unfortunate life being lost.
I want to apologize as a citizen that I have not tried harder to be placed on juries. Knowing the value of diverse perspectives and professional experiences in our jury pools is our collective responsibility.
I apologize as someone whose experience includes being profiled by police and regular everyday people and not always taking action to challenge and educate those that may have felt comfortable doing so. Like filing formal complaints with police departments and offering to have dialogue with those who think it’s appropriate to clutch their purses when I get on an elevator. Or walking out a store and not patronizing establishments that think it’s appropriate to follow me up and down the aisles for fear I may steal something.
Thank you to Trayvon Martin for reminding the community that we must organize, march, lobby, write, build coalitions, vote, run for office, mentor, teach, pray, donate, affectively work together and serve in our communities. Not because we are outraged but because we are committed to never having this situation ever occur again.
I apologize that as a tax payer that I have not lobbied the district, municipal and superior courts in my community to have a high level of training in cultural competency to reduce instances where generalizations, ignorance and discrimination may occur in decisions reached by courts. As a tax payer I have observed significant funding reductions in after school programs, teen recreational programs funding by state, local and federal governments.
As a tax payer I apologize for not successfully lobbying for increased funding of education and addressing the opportunity gaps that exist in our education system.
I want to thank you Trayvon Martin for reminding us all that even though the Supreme Court Justice John Roberts recently said “Our country has changed” in the opinion recently striking down parts of the voting rights act of 1965. Your rights were violated on the day you were murdered and we must remain diligent in protecting civil and human rights of all in this country.
I want to thank Trayvon for reminding me to never forget the lessons that my father taught me about society’s perceptions of young African American men. Telling me that I need to continue to challenge those negative perceptions while being diligent and avoid situations where my credibility can be questioned. I want to thank Trayvon Martin for reminding me to hold my son a little closer and pass on those lessons from my father. One day I will tell him that even though no one is perfect you do not have the luxury of making youthful mistakes. That the stakes are high on decisions you make. I can’t help but look into my sons eyes that are filled with joy and happiness believing as my parents did that his future will be better.
I apologize to Trayvon Martin as a voter and someone that has worked on many campaigns that we have not elected a congress that is willing to pass gun control laws to help reduce gun violence in this country.
Finally I want to thank you for sharing your story, there is a lesson in your experience for everyone no matter what community you are in that life is sacred. Your story no matter how short taught us that your young life is something we as a society should have cherished and protected.
De’Sean Quinn is a member of the Tukwila City Council, a father and a community member.