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As the  media  coverage  of  the  George  Zimmerman  trial  verdict  finally  begins  to  wane,  Americans  all   across  the  country  are  struggling  to  make  sense  of  the  tragedy  and  of  the  judicial  outcome  –  how  to   make  meaning  of  it,  and  what  –  if  anything  –  they  can  do.    The  coverage  –  so  polarized,  so  sensational  –   frankly  leaves  many  of  us  feeling  weary  and  disconnected,  left  with  questions  and  emotions  which  don’t   get  truly  addressed  by  posting  on  Facebook  or  tweeting  –  or  by  water  cooler  conversations.    Whether   we’ve  been  to  a  protest  of  started  to  turn  off  the  news,  many  of  us  have  a  feeling  deep  down  that  we   want  something  –  some  kind  of  meaning  –to  come  out  of  this  tragedy.  We  want  Trayvon’s  life,  and  not   just  his  death,  to  mean  something.   For  those  of  us  who  work  with  America’s  children  and  youth,  Trayvon  meant  something  long  before  he   went  to  buy  some  skittles  and  an  iced  tea  and  met  a  terrible  end.    He  had  tremendous  value  as  a  human   being  –  he  was  growing  and  developing  as  a  person,  learning  who  he  was,  developing  skills,  making   friends  –  getting  ready  for  adulthood  and  the  rights  and  responsibilities  of  citizenship.    He  was,  in  truth,   navigating  America  in  2013  –  where  being  a  young  African  American  man  –  just  being  who  you  are  –  can   put  you  at  risk  for  your  own  safety.   Although  I  didn’t  know  Trayvon,  I’m  going  to  guess  that  he  had  mentors  –  relatives,  teachers,  coaches  –   who  believed  in  him  and  helped  him  as  he  matured.    I  know  without  ever  having  met  him  that  Trayvon   had  hopes,  gifts  and  dreams.    All  lost  to  us  now.   In  his  personal  and  compelling  remarks  last  week,  President  Obama  talked  about  convening  key  leaders   to  “talk  about  how  we  can  do  a  better  job  of  helping  young  African  American  men  feel  that  they’re  a  full   part  of  society  and  that  they’ve  got  pathways  and  avenues  to  success.”    Mr.  President,  please  do  host   such  a  convening  –  and  please  invite  leading  organizations  who  serve  all  of  our  young  people  –  like  the   Boys  and  Girls  Clubs,  Girl  Scouts  and  Boy  Scouts,  YMCA,  Campfire  USA,  and  other  dedicated  and   outstanding  organizations.    These  organizations  not  only  treasure  young  people  –  they  know  how  to   help  them  navigate  through  their  early  years  and  become  who  they  are  capable  of  becoming.    And   please,  Mr.  President,  I  hope  you  will  also  convene  leaders  who  can  focus  on  what  it  takes  to  transform   communities  and  institutions  that  perpetuate  ideas  of  ‘otherness’  –  ideas  that  predispose  some   Americans  to  perceive  threats  where  there  is  only  a  young  person  occupying  the  same  public  space   we’re  all  entitled  to  occupy  as  we  move  through  our  daily  lives.   To  ordinary  Americans  who  are  stuck  trying  to  figure  out  what  to  do  with  their  feelings,  I  ask,  on  behalf   of  the  frontline  youth  workers  across  the  nation  who  work  every  day  to  unleash  the  amazing  positive   potential  of  our  youth,  that  you  honor  Trayvon  by  lending  a  hand  –  support  the  organizations  in  your   community  who  skillfully,  and  with  love  and  respect,  help  guide  and  develop  young  people  every  day.     Give  a  donation,  volunteer,  show  up  –  in  memory  of  Trayvon.       There’s  an  expression  in  Judaism,  that  is  said  when  someone  dies.  You  say,  “May  his  memory  be  for  a   blessing.”    Whatever  you  believe  happened  on  that  tragic  day,  let  us  agree  that  Trayvon  Martin  was  a   young  man  who  mattered,  and  he  deserves  for  his  name  –  and  his  memory  –  to  be  for  a  blessing  -­‐  to   mean  something  good  in  this  world  he  left  too  soon.  

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