For the past seven years my women’s club has been sponsoring and playing host to free daylong camps for girls ages 11-18. We play host to them in Thomson, Aiken and Augusta. The camps are called Camp Be Your Best, because our hope and goal is to show and inspire girls to be the best they can be.
We do this by having a series of interactive workshops with women facilitators who share information that girls can apply to everyday life, such as money management, self-esteem and etiquette.
ON JULY 13 we played host to a camp in Aiken and, despite the rain, we had a packed house and a very successful day. Girls can register for the Augusta camp, planned for July 27, by calling Charlotte Hill at (706) 267-6712 or Karen Lewis at (706) 627-0697.
The camps generally are about nine hours long, so although I was happy about its success, I was tired. When I got home, I quickly took Denzel (my spoiled Maltese) out for a walk, showered, put on my PJs and went to bed.
I slept soundly and rather peacefully. I slept so soundly, in fact, when I woke up it was almost 10 a.m. I’d missed church and missed calling my mom, who by that time was on her way to church.
I jumped out of the bed and ran downstairs to fix myself a cup of coffee, and turned on the TV. I sat down on the couch and watched CNN reporting that George Zimmerman had been acquitted in the murder of Trayvon Martin.
In case you happened to have missed it, Zimmerman, 28, was the Florida man involved in the fatal shooting of the 17-year-old Martin. In Florida, they have a law called the Stand Your Ground Law that states, according to Wikipedia, “a person may justifiably use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat, without an obligation to retreat first.” Zimmerman’s attorneys used this law for his defense.
I’m sure I was not alone in being surprised and dismayed about the verdict, but I continued to watch. I started to flip through channels and it was everywhere – commentaries, rallies, a few riots and lots of people praying.
I THEN TURNED to my computer because I was curious to see the reactions of people on social media. Did this terrible tragedy at least have people talking and communicating about what they could do to help or make a difference?
As expected, there were very heated exchanges between people about who was right and whether justice was served. There were many exchanges between black and white people, Christians and atheists, and people of all socioeconomic backgrounds about whether this was injustice and or even racist. I saw people discussing the Stand Your Ground Law and whether it’s an unjust law.
Many people were angry. Many people were hurt. Some were lashing out and others were calling for peace and prayer. However, the majority of the people seemed outraged. I wondered, with all the pain and hurt and outrage, how many of the 54,000 tweeters and the hundreds of thousands of Facebook posters actually would do something to create a change.
It’s easy to be outraged. It’s much harder to commit yourself to making a difference.
How many of the outraged are registered to vote so that they can help affect any law they feel is unjust? How many volunteer and/or donate money for programs to help in the positive development of teenage boys such as Martin?
The trial of Zimmerman and its outcome probably will be debated for months and maybe years to come. But one can only hope that out of tragedy something positive can happen.
Perhaps the people who feel so passionately about this case will commit to doing something to make things better. I hope that out of all of this, there will emerge people who are moved enough to do something instead of merely being outraged.
IF YOU WANT to do something, there are a number of organizations that could use your help and support. Here are few that I know of that serve children, but there are many others. The Augusta Partnership for Children is a good resource to help you find one.
• Augusta Partnership for Children, 353 Telfair St, Augusta GA 30901; (706) 721-1040
• 100 Black Men of Augusta;
Herb O’Conner, president; 211 Pleasant Hill Road, Suite C/C-2, Augusta, GA 30907
• Positive Boys, Positive Men; Coach Neely Lovett; (706) 664-5455.
(The writer is an on-air personality with radio station WKSP-FM (96.3), and a columnist for The Augusta Chronicle’s Applause section. She can be reached at email@example.com.)