The Trayvon Martin case has taught Damon Young that it’s time to believe in something.
Something dawned on me last night while reflecting on all the reading, listening, writing, tweeting, and talking I’ve devoted to all things Trayvon Martin in the last couple of weeks. Something feels different about this.
Now, I realize that it could just be me. From Troy Davis and Kony to Tookie and Derrion Albert, there have been numerous recent instances of viral activism and virtual galvanization; causes we collectively championed and people we collectively cried for. I was not as taken by any of those as much as I’ve been taken by Trayvon Martin, and I accept the possibility that this “different feeling” could just be a bit of personal confirmation bias. Of course things are different now. Why? Because I’m finally involved and invested.
With that being said — and recognizing that this could all be in my head — I can not ignore the fact that something about this just feels different. The outrage seems a little hotter. The tears seem a little saltier. That sickness in our stomachs seems a little deeper. And, most importantly, that feeling of “I-don’t-know-what-do-to, but-we-fucking-need-to-do-something”-ness seems a little stronger. The perpetual “too-cool-for-school” cynicism synonymous with many of us seems to have subsided (temporarily, at least). While at a rally for Trayvon earlier this week, a friend asked if I was as “nonplussed” about this as I usually am about most things. My reply? “I’m pretty fucking plussed right now.” Definitely a personal anecdote, but I think I’m far from the only one feeling that way.
Hmm. A few days ago, I was talking to my mom about, I don’t know, work or bacon or some other typical bullshit daily minutiae, and right when I was about to get off the phone, she asked “Damon, what do you believe in?”
Even though I heard what she said, I asked her to repeat it because the question caught me so off guard. She did, and I asked if I could get back to her with an answer another time. She laughed, replied “Sure,” but added “You definitely need to think about that, though. You should be able to give me an answer.”
It’s been a week since she asked me that question. I still haven’t thought of a good answer. But, if the Trayvon Martin case has taught me anything, it’s that it’s time for me to believe in something, and it feels like I’m finally ready and willing to do that.
Photo: Roberto Gonzalez/AP