Over the last couple of weeks as the details of this tragedy have come to light, I have made a concerted effort every morning when I rise, to constantly check my phone, computer and desk calendar for the date. The feeling that the family of Trayvon Martin is dealing with this type of insanity in 2012 is beyond the pale. But when we consider that lies, like a virus must be treated and that this country has never sought out treatment for its socio-cultural psychosis when it comes to race, we collectively wince at the notion that there may be no expiration date in the foreseeable future of crimes committed against persons because they don’t look like, weren’t supposed to, you don’t belong, I thought they were trying to…

I am not a legal scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but here we have a clear case of a crime being committed. You can debate self-defense all day long if you like, but by what authority does a Neighborhood Watch Volunteer have to follow someone, a citizen, a child, after the 911 has effectively to you to stand down… how long? Oh and those of you who might want to challenge my assertion about a 17 year old being a child… I live with one and they are still children.

How long will the ire(and in this case the viciousness of a fatal shooting) of one citizen be raised against another because another citizen looks like they don’t belong? Who determines the right look?

How long will it be before many in this country realize that when someone of another race commits a crime against you or the community that it’s not the entire race that committed the crime against you or your community it’s that person or persons? The courtesy of being judged as an individual is something that is often only extended to our white citizens in this country. When Timothy McVeigh or Dylan Klebold or Ted Bundy et al committed their heinous acts that wasn’t broad-stroked as all white males are terrorists or serial killers. But the plight that exists for many of our darker hued citizens is that you are all guilty because of the actions of others who look like you that you don’t know nor agree with their actions. It makes absolutely no difference to me that Zimmerman may be of Hispanic decent. The pathology of racism is so deeply rooted in this country that it’s not a stretch to say that many could be considered to be racist against their own race let alone another minority group.

How long will it be before we are all afforded the opportunity to just be? Free to walk where we have every right to walk. Free to shop wherever we have the right to shop. Free from the faux-machismo of cowards emboldened by fire sticks. Free from suspicion. Free from being referred to as less than. Free from being blamed for all the ills of society (10% of the population are responsible for 85% of the problems as sometimes you would think based on the nightly news coverage. Somethings wrong with the numbers, the perception). But most importantly how long before justice will be served for Trayvon Martin and his family. I hope and pray not too long…

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.