by Bilen Mesfin Packwood, reposted from her blog

In the aftermath of the Trayvon Martin trial verdict, I have become even more convinced of one thing: Social change is not just a 9-5.  By that I mean, justice and equality are not the sole responsibility of those who have chosen “social justice” or “social good” as a profession. It’s going to take all of us, together, doing what we can, wherever we are, to make justice real, whether that means ending racial profiling, or stopping gun violence, or fighting racial bias, or ensuring a justice system that works for everyone.

Like so many others, I admit to feeling extremely helpless after hearing the “not guilty” verdict. Like many Americans, I’m alternating between outrage and sadness. I keep thinking of fathers and brothers, cousins and nephews, husbands and friends.  And the unrepentant comments post trial from Zimmerman’s family, lawyers and supporters only exacerbate those feelings. But, in the midst of this travesty, actions by people around the country are re-energizing me and lifting my spirits.  Below are seven examples that are giving me some hope in this moment:

1) The Twitter hero who led a collective online effort that, in just a few hours, got juror B37′s agent to rescind her offer to work on the juror’s book.

2) The powerful stories submitted to the We Are Not Trayvon Martin tumblr blog that are filled with something this world desperately needs more of: empathy.

3) The hundreds of thousands of people who signed the NAACP’s petition urging the DOJ to open a civil rights case.

4) The mostly peaceful protestors who are standing up and speaking out in cities around the country.

5) Stevie Wonder’s decision not to perform in Florida until “Stand Your Ground” is repealed.

6) The National Bar Association releasing a strong statement calling all lawyers to act, and planning a two-day call to action in Miami, Florida, on July 27 and July 29.

7) Tom Joyner offering the courageous Rachel Jeantel a full ride to an HBCU of her choice.

To the artists, and celebrities, and attorneys, and business people, and nonprofit and foundation leaders, and youth, and media professionals, and just everyday people who are doing what you can, wherever you are, thank you.


Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland. For guidelines, see:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.