News that George Zimmerman’s killing of Trayvon Martin would not be reviewed by a grand jury rattled me yesterday. I get it. In a case with almost no physical evidence and no witnesses, it’s impossible for a district attorney to prove anything beyond a reasonable doubt. If Zimmerman sticks to his story we will never know what really happened.
The Trayvon Martin case made me think about my own neighborhood. My home office window looks out onto my block. Each day I look out my window and see Trayvon Martin walk by on his way to the store. Sure, the Trayvon’s in my neighborhood might be on bikes sometimes, or of a different race than the real Trayvon. Some Trayvon’s are even girls. Most of them are just going from their house to a friends house. A few smoke weed in the easement behind my house. And maybe some of them are up to worse things than that? But I’m guessing the teenagers in my neighborhood are probably a lot like the teenagers in your neighborhood, who are also just like the teenagers in Trayvon Martin’s neighborhood.
I wonder who advocates for the teenagers in my neighborhood? I wonder who looks out for them? Who do they go to when they get into a fight with their mom and storm out of the house? Who do they talk to about stuff they can’t talk to their parents about? Who do they ask the really hard, life-altering questions? I wonder who stands up to George Zimmerman, telling him to go home and find another hobby like a softball team? I wonder if I’d go outside and get between Zimmerman and Martin? I wonder if I’d be there to tell George to put his gun down and go home? Or would I just be looking through my blinds while it all went bad?
Pushing aside the distraction of the Trayvon Martin case, which happened thousands of miles from me, I wonder if I’m prepared to fight for the teenagers in my neighborhood?
More importantly I wonder what’s wrong with me if I’m not? Youth minister? Pfft. Who am I to bypass ministry to the teenagers on my block for the sake of ministering to the teenagers who show up at my church?
Question for my youth ministry friends: Do you see yourself as an advocate for teenagers in your community?