At the outset, I would like to stress that writing this letter has been a tedious and tasteless challenge for me. Yet again an innocent black man has been killed, in Trayvon’s case, “walking while being black”. I’ve constantly and consistently had to stop composing the letter because it brought back the horrific events that took place on the early morning of the day that was supposed to be the “happiest day of my life” my wedding day.
Dear Sybrina and Tracy:
As the great Dr. Martin Luther King wrote in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever — the United States Negro is moving with a sense of great urgency toward the promised land of racial justice. If one recognizes this vital urge that has engulfed the Negro community, one should readily understand why public demonstrations are taking place. The Negro has many pent-up resentments and latent frustrations, and he must release them. So let him march; let him make prayer pilgrimages to the city hall. If his repressed emotions are not released in nonviolent ways, they will seek expression through violence; this is not a threat but a fact of history.”
I must believe the above paragraph, it is what gets me through the day, especially when I look down at my two little girls. One of which doesn’t know her father personally, although; when his picture comes on the television she yells out “Daddy”. It is truly a living nightmare to see another innocent young man’s life senselessly taken away over his demeanor. It leads me to one question only, how far have we really come since Dr. King’s speech, on the steps of the Lincoln memorial in 1963?
This injustice continues to plague our country almost 5 decades later, but it must stop now. The question you might want to ask yourselves is how can I help to diminish these tragedies? The answer is you have already begun. Your voices are being heard all across this nation as peacemakers. People are standing up for Trayvon because they feel your pain, and understand that this could easily have been their son, husband, father, brother, cousin or nephew and we are out right tired of it. Please don’t give up the fight for the pursuit of justice.
Over the past five and a half years, what I have learned throughout protest after protest, rallies, a criminal trial, the independent investigation of the federal Department of Justice, along with civil proceedings and the departmental charges hearing almost six years later of the police officers who killed my husband-to-be back in 2006, faith and endurance are the keys to everything. God will not forsake you, and through his grace and mercy you will find the strength to continue please remember this.
Trayvon’s death is not in vain, and yes, I know these words may find you a bit too soon in your mourning process to clearly grasp my intentions.
Then again, five and a half years from now, we must not let anyone forget the terrible night your lives changed forever. And in the end, God will have his way. I pray for your strength and well being during this unyielding time.
I would hear all the time “the men who killed Sean weren’t white”, I’m sure you’ve been hearing the same thing re: George Zimmerman, I believe this is the exact definition of internalized racism. We along with other minorities are conditioned to believe that it’s OK to kill us. This has been the primary means by which we have been forced to perpetuate and “agree” to our own oppression. It has been a major factor preventing us, as black people, from realizing and putting into action the tremendous intelligence and power which in reality we possess.
Sincerely your sister at heart,
Nicole Paultre Bell