I heard about a young man whose life was cut short
By an individual who categorized him into an unlawful sort
His judgment was merely predicated on appearance,
And his position in the neighborhood watch apparently gave him clearance
To override the order of local authorities and pursue
A teenager who was no more harmful than me or you.
I heard about this young man who, one fateful night
Headed home with his beverage and snack, unaware of the fright
That he was in for at the sudden and mysterious sight
Of a man all too convinced that he was in the right.
I also heard about this man, one who objectified
An innocent young man as a threat to be pacified,
And proceeded to pursue his “target” until
His deluded vision of justice was fulfilled.
I can’t help but wonder if this man had ever considered
The fear within this teenage boy that his sudden presence may have triggered,
Or the possibility that a man of his imposing stature and size
Could have registered him as a criminal in the teen’s eyes.
Maybe the supposed defender was too caught up in what the boy was clothed in,
The approximate time, or even the color of his skin.
Maybe he was too quick to judge, misled to a conclusion
That rendered him deaf to an alternative and less violent solution.
I heard about this young man who, at a young age
Seemingly met the end of his story long before it reached its final page.
His life was taken by one who allowed their hatred to run its course.
One can only wonder if that man truly feels any remorse.
I listened to friends, family, and peers speak about the occurrence.
I heard posters, famous figures, and many leaders speak with assurance
That justice would certainly be served
To the perpetrator for whom it was solely reserved.
More than a year later, I watch the breaking news for a resolution
That soon propels people far and wide into absolute confusion.
The headline is like a stain that is all too filthy,
Reporting that the perpetrator has been deemed “NOT GUILTY.”
This man, who judged an unarmed teen on the spot,
Pursued him, and put an end to his life with a single shot,
Was released scott free by people who we trust
To ensure that justice remains just.
It still appalls me that not even a minor sentence was given
To this man, whose actions are the cause of a family stricken
At the fact that their son was horribly wronged,
His life and future forever gone.
Events such as these truly make you question
If America has really learned its lesson
From the racially-charged injustices of long ago
That prevented our nation from forward flow.
Such tragic occurrences paint out the need
For changes that must be made so that we can truly succeed.
Despite our systems of rights and laws, true constitution
Can only be obtained by joining our thoughts and perspectives in union.
Though this young man is no more, and thus unable to speak,
His voice calls clearly for the unity that we seek.
It awakens all Americans as it travels from sea to shining sea,
And there is no doubt that it is heard audibly.