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PROMOTING “HOPE”.. OR “HOPELESSNESS”?

BY: MADDIE JOMOLCA

Following Saturdays verdict on the Martin (State) vs. Zimmerman case, along with the media frenzy and public show of distaste, I received an email form HopeMob’s Founder- Shaun King.

HOPEMOB, much like Kickstarter and Indiego, is a  website utilized to fund innovative projects, but with a more charitable angle.

Mr. Kings message suggested that I (and all subscribers) apply one of “3 ways to come together after the Zimmerman verdict”.  Upon opening the HOPEMOB project description, I was met with the imposition that I help fund the Martins’ legal fees and help set up a scholarship under Trayvon’s name… which, naturally prompted me to respond, in kind. (SEE BELOW)…

“JOIN THE MOB”… how very befitting!

I was, initially,  a big fan of , not only your overall goal of  interjecting “hope” in the lives of others, but also in your initiatives to raise and promote  awareness for doing “good” within communities nationwide.

I recall, before you launched HopeMob, reading your mission statement and goal description, in detail, over and over, and thinking to myself: “This is good”… Shaun King  is a seemingly Christ-led, young man with great conviction and HopeMob a vessel of God being used to bring about positive change… and in many instances, you have proven this to be the case.

After reading of your latest project both via this email and on Facebook, however, I fear that you have veered entirely OFF course.

As a Latina , single mother who’s  raised three girls, and Communications Specialist, I can assert with the greatest conviction, that in remotely promoting, (whether directly or indirectly, the funding for or scholarships therewith), the actions and ill- behavior of a young man, who was under the influence of an illegal substance (marijuana) at the time and who belligerently attacked another man ;  you are NOT promoting HOPE, but instead violence, disrespect to those in authority and delinquency.

When did it become right or acceptable for a young man of any race to strike or assault another person merely because he felt he was being followed? In fact, when is it EVER okay to strike another individual simply because you “were looked at hard”,  “being sized up” or any other mediocre excuse, without first attempting to concede to another’s concerns.

I am the second of five siblings born of Cuban parents whom fled the Castro regime in the early 1960’s and migrated to Miami, a city that was then occupied primarily by white-Americans who were not so welcoming at the time. Though no longer the case in Miami, we were then the minority and the “natives” made known their aversion, by calling us “spics” (short term for Hispanics) and drawing us into daily rock fights.

One day, while in the fourth grade, my younger brother and older sister and I were walking home from school with a few other friends, as we did routinely, when were ambushed by several of the American neighborhood kids. As the pieces of gravel flew through the air in our direction, we all instinctively sped up our pace in an effort to avoid the inevitable all-out brawl. To make a generally long story short, I remember going home that day with a painful, bloodied nose, and trying so desperately hide it from my grandmother and parents, knowing full well, that they would question whether or not I had truly made every effort on my part to avoid confrontation and friction.

Whilst it becomes more and more evident that we live in a nation and within a society wherein the lines between right and wrong have not only become blurred, but are altogether swiftly dissipating, I know that I was raised to obey and respect EVERYONE, young and old and to avoid altercations with others at all cost. Despite these unsavory experiences I knew better than to blame an entire ethnic group or race, and later most of best friends were, in fact, white Americans, and now, to date, nurture and maintain friendships with individuals of ALL backgrounds, from all walks of life.  I knew then, as I know now, to cling to my faith in God and draw upon the wisdom that both good and evil exist in every continent and every culture across the globe.

I believe it was Irish playwright and a co-founder of the London School of Economics, George Bernard Shaw that said:  “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.”

Our past should not determine our present or future. We should draw from it only to bring healing and comfort to others.

Trayvon Martin was an 6+-foot, young, adolescent man, who possessed little or no regard or respect for the laws, rules or policies presented to him, being frequently reprimanded for his ill-behavior in school, (and in all likelihood, other public arenas), and who was no stranger to drug use, and was in fact high on marijuana the night of the incident;  and though I could so see and feel the pain in their hearts, as they so desperately clung to what little reminiscence they still possessed throughout the trial;  his parents knew/know this, his peers knew/know this, and perhaps I’m giving the general public more credit than their worth, but I truly believe that in their heart-of-hearts EVERYONE across the board also had an inkling of this truth. Yet, they so frantically  continue in their attempts to convert a lie into truth.

“If a lie is repeated often enough, it becomes the truth. Wherever, though, truth is stranger than fiction, no amount of repetition will render it believable. We see what we want to see… and accept what we want to accept. This is why, though people are often easily deceived, they are very difficult to enlighten.” ~Anonymous

Moreover,  while neither you or I, or the media or ANY of the “petweeters” on facebook and other social media forums, have the right to profess or proclaim whether or not Trayvon “deserved to die”, as God alone can determine and verify that.

However, as consistent evidence continued to make its way to the light, I can assertively say and know, that it was his own willful actions that led to his death on that evening in April of 2012.

… And so I ask you again: When did it become “okay” to assault another individual  merely because they looked at you ”hard” or were perhaps trailing you at a distance for several seconds—- or for ANY other reason, for that matter, without first attempting to AVOID any confrontation??? What kind of message do you truly believe that you are sending and conveying to our youth??

I am but a a 5’3” woman in my late 40’s and know that if I were walking through a neighborhood wherein one of the residents found me to be “unfamiliar”, I would make every effort to “diffuse” any suspicion and/or altercation, (especially) by extending whatever friendly gesture I could muster. In fact, I can recollect at least one occasion where this actually came to be.

Why?… Because this is what we are called to do.  This is how we truly not only promote and encourage “PEACE”, but more importantly how we co-exist in peace with our fellowman.

The words Peace and Love are universally recognized and defined equally. Despite your religious, or spiritual affiliations, terms like ‘love your fellow man”, is equally recognized and applied universally.

In the gospel of Mark, Christ commands us to “Love our neighbor as ourselves”.  In Buddhism, “loving kindness” means showing the same to others, not just the ones we like, but also those we dislike, so that they can be well and happy. The word used to describe this (loving kindness) is “Metta”.

Within the Unitarian Universalist fellowship, a religion (if you will) that also draws upon the teachings of the North American Buddhist nun –Pema Chodron, we learn that “the spirit of loving kindness (bodhichitta) is a required, awakened mind which expresses itself to bring joy and happiness to others for the purpose of co-existing.

Similarly, the same body of Jewish law that commands us to eat only kosher food and not to turn on lights on Shabbat, also commands us to love both Jews and strangers, to give tzedakah (charity) to the poor and needy, and not to wrong anyone in speech or in business. In fact, acts of kindness are so much a part of Jewish law that the word “mitzvah” (literally, “commandment”) is informally used to mean any good deed.

… While the theology and doctrinal foundations differ, the message remains unwaveringly consistent… LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!

So again, why it is that you’ve taken the initiative in providing funding and scholarships set up in the name of an individual that acted out in so much hatred and disregard and who violently beat a man to near loss of consciousness (and possibly life) is not only bewildering but also insolent!

Matthew 15:18-20 (KJV) 18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

In conclusion, Shaun,  your latest campaign in support of Trayvon reeks of racial bias, displaced martyrdom… and of vengeance!  If we want, truly want this, and all future similar incidences “not to become a race thing” then we need to put our feet {actions} to our words and NOT make it so!!!

If you want to “promote Hope”, and send a piercing message to our youth… try this on for size:

… Let them know that it is NOT okay to do drugs…

… Let them know that it is NOT okay to disobey your authority figures, on and off of

school grounds…

… AND especially, make it clear that striking another individual without first

attempting to diffuse and avoid friction, is not solely legally termed as “assault

and battery”, but is NOT acceptable and can, as in this unfortunate

circumstance, bring your life to a complete halt.

Anything less or falling short of this would render a futile effort…  HOPE-LESS.

Trayvon Martin and his family do not require funding or the type of support (rioting, ranting, angry, law-breaking mobs) the public is extending. They, as do the Zimmerman’s need to be lifted by way of prayer and awareness … Now there’s a Mob I would blindly contribute to!

May the Lord richly bless you with His wisdom in this and all future endeavors”

 

~MADELEINE “ Maddie” JOMOLCA~

         Editor-in-Chief- INSPIRED

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