Columnist

Faith must carry us past painful verdict

 

bea.hines@gmail.com

As I write this, I have a sad and heavy heart – a feeling that something is not right and I know why. The man who killed Trayvon Martin is free today. And, in my opinion, that is not right.

When my sons – one of whom is now a grandfather – were young, I worried about them when they were out at night. Back then, the profiling of young black men was so common, that along with good manners, black parents had to teach another lesson to their young sons: how to survive as a black man in a racist society.

And just when we thought things had gotten better, it happened to Trayvon Martin. Only the man who profiled Trayvon was a “wanna be” police officer. And what he saw was an unarmed 17-year-old coming home from the store with candy and a drink. But in George Zimmerman’s distorted view, Trayvon was simply another black person wearing a hoodie (in the rain), and therefore it was enough for him to believe the boy was a criminal and up to no good. It just wasn’t right.

It was not right for Zimmerman to follow Trayvon after the 911 operator told him not to. Zimmerman followed the boy anyway.

As a mother, I saw Trayvon as a frightened young boy, but one who was not going to let the stranger following him take advantage of him. It seems to me that Trayvon was the one who was fighting for his life. He didn’t know who Zimmerman was, nor did he know what Zimmerman wanted from him.

It was not right the way the defense lawyer Don West humiliated 19-year-old Rachel Jeantel, Trayvon’s friend, on the witness stand. West actually asked her if she understood English. Rachel not only understands English, but also speaks Creole and Spanish. And when she responded to a question that she doesn’t know how to read cursive, the defense attorneys should also know that cursive writing is no longer taught in schools. I know of many high school graduates and college students who do not know how to write or understand cursive writing. That is not a stain on Rachel.

On Saturday, the jury declared Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon. And while we have to trust and believe in our justice system, it just doesn’t seem right that Zimmerman is free and Trayvon is just a loving memory. But Justice has spoken. And while some of us don’t agree with the verdict, we must respect the decision. We must not become bitter and hard of heart.

Still, the verdict leaves me, and thousands of others, with a sad and heavy feeling. And this, my friends, is where our faith will see us through.

‘Chocolate Lovers Shabbat’ is Aug. 9

On a sweeter note: It will soon be time for Congregation Bet Breira Samu-El Or Olom to celebrate its Chocolate Lovers Shabbat. The sweet event will be at 7 p.m. Aug. 9 at the temple.

The annual Bet Breira Samu-El Or Olom chocolate Lovers Shabbat service was started by congregation member Linda Hornik 21 years ago, and has grown every year since. Temple administrators are expecting more than 300 people to attend the special service. Members of the community are invited as well.

There will be a display of more than 100 different chocolate candies, including an abundance of homemade chocolate desserts such as chocolate cakes, pies, and chocolate covered fruits and nuts, all for sampling. The temple is at 9400 SW 87th Ave. in Kendall. Call 305-595-1500 for more information.

Church to provide school uniforms

The Rev. John White II and his wife, the Rev. Maria Mallory White, co-pastors of Immanuel Temple in Miami Gardens, will distribute more than 1,200 sets of free school uniforms to local students at its second annual Come Together Day. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 27 at Golden Glades Elementary School, 6520 NW 28th Ave.

At the free event, students who receive free or reduced-price lunch at public schools in Broward or Miami-Dade counties are eligible for the uniform giveaway of one free top and one free bottom per child, with three uniforms per family. Parents or guardians must present proper identification.

The Come Together Day is the brainchild of John White, who has been a pastor in Florida for more than a decade, and has hosted the annual event at each church he has served.

Immanuel Temple was founded by the Whites and the Christian congregation worships at 10 a.m. Sundays in the Miami Carol City Senior High School Auditorium.

White said that as a “foundational principal, the church has committed to tithing back into the community 10 percent of its income from tithes and offerings. With a budget totaling more than $25,000, Come Together Day is the largest single activity in that effort. Immanuel Temple is a church not only in the community but one that gives back to the community.”

The church will transport the children from the Homeless Assistance Care Center to receive the free uniforms and participate in the fun and festivities of the day, which will also feature a health fair, music, games, food, fellowship and fun. For more information, call White at 850-212-2573.

Story time at

Books & Books

Melissa Shub, the Early Childhood Center teacher at the Gordon Schools of Beth David, will lead a children’s story and activity about family at the PJ Library Story Time and Activity from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday at Books and Books, 265 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables.

The event is free and open to the community.

Send all items at least two weeks in advance to Religion Notes, c/o Neighbors, 2000 NW 150th Ave., Suite 1105, Pembroke Pines, FL 33028, fax it to 954-538-7018 or email bea.hines@gmail.com. Pictures are accepted but cannot be returned.

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