Tag Archive | "injustice"

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Not Guilty Verdict for George Zimmerman? Trayvon’s Murderer is Free to go…

Posted on 13 July 2013 by mdepeine

Many in America feel helpless and know in their hearts that a great injustice has been done. An innocent black young man was killed as he walked in what is considered the most “free nation” in the world. Trayvon’s life was cut short because someone (George Zimmerman) was convinced that he was a “criminal.” Trayvon was clearly profiled. Zimmerman did not follow the direction of the police when he was told to stop pursuing the teen. Trayvon’s parents have lost their son and now they have also lost the case to get justice in the American (via Florida) court system. As The Florida State Attorney (Angela Corey) spoke she had a smile on her face in many instances. It didn’t seem to register to her that the people she represented were experiencing another very painful moment in reference to their son’s death and murder? Angela answered the questions with a sense of detachment and she was almost glib. To me it seemed that this was “just another” procedure, nothing more. The prosecutor and especially, the assistant prosecutor clearly identified with the victims. That may be a big problem with our “justice” system; in some cases (like this one) the law is the law! In other cases those who represent the victims genuinely identify with the pain of the crime inflicted and they also transfer that sense of human emotion and value of life to the jury. Without that connection and transfer, the “law and the process” wins, but the victims are almost always the losers. The attorney General’s press conference was more about applauding the “Florida” system than it was about the anguish and lost the victims experienced. It bothers me when people glory in their system when that system favors only a portion of the population. We must do more and we must expect more.

 

Isaiah 58:6

 

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:

to loose the chains of injustice

and untie the cords of the yoke,

to set the oppressed free

and break every yoke?

 

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Who Should Step up and Take Care of the Oppressed, the Naked, those Unjustly Treated?

Posted on 02 September 2012 by mdepeine

The passage below is from the Old Testament, Isaiah 58:3-12.  God, Almighty is addressing his people.  The people had fasted and sacrificed in a way and they expected God to come through and answer their prayers.  They probably gave up certain foods or all food for a certain period of time.  They probably dressed in clothing that was not attractive or comfortable.  They probably did not do things they considered “luxuries” of those days.  In any case, they “sacrificed” and they expected some results from God.

‘Why have we fasted,’ they say,
‘and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?’

God pointed out to the people that even though you fasted, “You do as you please.”  He said that they exploited their workers – cheated them and took advantage of them.  He said that “Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.”  See below.  God is saying that fasting involves doing what he wants from us, not just what we please.  He also is saying that “true fasting” involves a heart of doing right by those you may have “charge” over and it also means that you are not quarreling but practicing love.

“Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.
Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.
Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed
and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the Lord?

Below we see what God’s preferred fasting really entails.  When you look at what God lists below, it takes a great deal of selflessness and sacrifice to actually accomplish these things.  It takes self-denial and a decision that “you” want to meet the needs of those who are less fortunate than you.  This kind of “fast” is a decision to put your comfort at risk, so that you could help others who may not have what you have.  Remember Moses:  “He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time” (see Hebrews 11:25).  Consider the great men and women of history who stood up for justice and fought oppression.  Many of them were threatened, attached and eventually killed for taking action in the areas that God calls “true fasting.”

God said that a true fast involves loosening the “chains of injustice.”  He said it involves untying the cords of the yoke, set the oppressed free and break every yoke (physical and spiritual)!  These are areas that I believe that many  Christians shy away from, yet they are so important to our God!  God is a just God and he wants people who follow him to stop injustice, oppression, and slavery of every kind.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

True fasting also involves sharing our food with the hungry.  Providing shelter for the wanderer.  Cloth the naked.  See below.

Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

God says that when we fast as he prescribes, then we will shine.  We will be transformed and we will be healed.  Somehow, taking care of people transforms us and heals us and draws us closer to God.  I’m  not talking about just the traditional (still very important), feed and cloth people, I’m also talking about those who are being unjustly treated by anyone or a government.  It applies to those being oppressed at home and abroad.  It applies to those being oppressed by a job, sitution or  a government regualtion.  God says take care of these issues; that is true fasting!

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

God’s people; anyone who professes to follow God should heed these passages and put them into practice and “own them.”  Christians should, more than anybody, be the first people to have compassion on those who are oppressed.  They should not just have compassion but also look for ways to remove the oppression.  Christians should also be looking for ways to remove injustice wherever it may exist.  It is a big task, but God expects his people to do it.

Isaiah 58 started out in verse one with this line:  “Declare to my people their rebellion…”  God was talking to his people.  Anyone who claims to follow God should seek ways to put these verses into practice.  It may be through prayer, awareness campaigns, changing laws, voting, being a leader or anything that God has designed the individual to do.  But know this, God does expect his people to “fast” this way.

What do you think?

 

See also Psalm 82

 

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Tribute Song: Shot Into History (Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell…)

Posted on 05 August 2012 by mdepeine

Mario Depeine, Sr. | Shot Into History (Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell…) | CD Baby Music Store

Tribute Song: Shot Into History (Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell…) – YouTube

This picture of the lynching of Tom Shipp (19) and Abe Smith (18) in Marion, Indiana (1930) was used because it speaks to an epidemic that is still current in our Modern American Society and “A picture is worth a thousand words.”  More than 70 years ago young and older blacks were being killed because they were seen as “suspicious” or they were accused of various crimes and all you needed was a frenzied white crowd and black lives were taken away in an instant.  Families were left devastated and horrified as they replayed the events in their minds.  These families had to try to move forward knowing that someone precious to them was taken away and these families were left only with deep sorrow, agonizing pain and only the memories of their loved ones.  Black families which were still intact had to live with the fear that at any given point they could be the next victim, all it would take is a look, a glance, a “bad day” or just someone “looking for some excitement” and a black life could be lost.  That was all.  This was clearly a form of state sanctioned terrorism.  It was legal and accepted in America for over a 100 years to systematically kill blacks.  It was a way to exert “white supremacy.”

We have advanced in many ways as a society, however when you look at public education, we still have “separate but unequal.” Studies have shown that American schools are just as segregated if not more segregated than they were before the landmark “Brown vs. Board of Education” ruling in 1954. Racism in America is still a “stain” that continues to work its poison and relegates “black or non-white blood” as inferior to “white blood” although the reality is, there is only red blood in all of us. This is a very very serious issue because precious lives are being lost as a result of it (unchecked racism) and nothing concrete has been done to stop it.

Now, in the 21st century, the lives of blacks are still being “taken” as if these lives are worth less than the lives of white American Citizens. This is still a “lynching” but a very well organized “lynching.” Blacks are still being shot or run-over (Victor Steen-FL-10/3/2009, Tamon Robinson-NY-4/12/12, to name a couple) for “any and every reason” by mostly white “officials” and “police” personnel who don’t seem to care much about the lives that they “take.” There is not any justice, just the “execution” of black men with very little repercussions. “Judges” in the judicial system casually uphold the unjustified forces used against these black men and put “the blame” squarely on the “silenced” victim who could never say “his side of the story.” So the deaths, the bloodshed continues.

Those who are in the middle of this injustice understand how wrong it is. Those who prefer to look at this from “afar” have a hard time understanding the “outrage.” It will take a lot of empathy and “putting oneself in the other’s shoes” to understand how bad and terrible this is in America; the land of “liberty and justice for all.”

Too many young black men have been gunned down needlessly and there has not been any “real justice” or real change. “Shot Into History” is a song that I wrote and produced to bring a sense of humanity to the lives lost. I want people to hear this song and say “Wow, a young life was lost.” I want people to say “These young men had families just like white young men have families that care about them.” I want people to not look for ways to justify “another shooting of a young black man” but rather look for a way to STOP the shootings and the inherent bias associated with these killings.

You do not hear about cases of young white men being shot by police or so-called “neighborhood watch” security individuals. The Us community would be outraged if there were so many white young men being shot in the way that young black men are being shot. Then, it would be an “American problem,” it would become a “suburban problem / epidemic.” This is happening in America and it does not appear to be much of a problem. A lot of people want to look at this as an “individual” problem or look at it in isolation. Meanwhile, all the families who no longer have their sons with them are having to grapple with the lost of someone who was precious to them, but not to America. They are grappling with the memories that are left to hold on to. These mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, etc. are trying to “make sense” of the sudden lost of a family member who was so dear to them but who was only seen by his color to the rest of America, the law, and the systems of racism and prejudice put in place to justify such bias treatment. These families are left to wonder what else could they have told their sons to assure that they are not “targeted, profiled and shot.” They taught them to “not run when the police calls for you.” They taught them “Do not put your hand in your pocket when the police stops you.” They taught them to “Say ‘yes sir, no sir’ when the police addresses you.” They tried to teach them everything to keep their sons alive and yet, their son is still dead, “Shot into history” nowhere to be heard again, nowhere to be found, unreachable. How does a parent reconcile that lost? How does a parent accept the phrase “Justice for all” when they could not even get justice for one?

This is not a “black community” problem. This is an American problem. There needs to be a greater sense of compassion in America for all of America’s children, not just the white children. Don’t fault people for stating the “race” in this issue because that is the reality. When black parents have to prep their kids about the police and the likelihood that the police could “kill” them, then race is definitely a central issue here. How many white parent prep their boys on the issues (don’t run, keep hands away from pocket, etc.) that black parents prep their boys about? You don’t hear that talk happening in the “white community.” That “talk” is not being done in the “white community” why should it be done in the black? This is a true disparity and it “screams” inequality and “inferiority” yet as Americans we treat it as if it “should be” that way. No sense in Americans being outraged about inequalities abroad while remaining silent about inequalities in our “own backyard.” Let’s lead in this area America, let’s lead!

So for all the Trayvon Martins, Amadou Diallos, and Sean Bells who have lost their lives senselessly, I say SPEAK UP AMERICA! Speak up for all of America’s children. Address the racial issues that are built-into the systems that we are upholding. When we really address and admit the racism, we will start moving toward solutions that will save “precious lives.” Yes! Those lost lives were precious. The Trayvon Martins, Amadou Diallos and Sean Bells that are still alive today, their lives are precious as well. Let’s see to it that their lives are not “snuffed out” because of bias that is left unaddressed, by racism that is disguised as “justified force.”

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