Speech at Justice For Trayvon Hoodie March
Martin Luther King once said “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Hello my name is Terry. Most people don’t know my story. It isn’t one that I feel safe sharing. It isn’t a pretty story. I had hoped that I would not feel compelled to share it ever again. But today as I stand here with a heavy heart for Trayvon Martin and his loved ones, I will share a story about racism in Utah.
The last shreds of childhood innocence were stolen from me when I was 15 years old. In 1980 a racist serial killer came to Salt Lake City, Utah with the hopes of starting a race war. We were unaware as he stalked us that night. He shot and murdered my African American friends, Ted Fields and David Martin and shot me for race mixing.
Life was never the same after that day. The emotional and physical toll it took on the families of these incredible young men is immeasurable. That night, every ounce of innocence was drained from our lives. It’s been almost 32 years since that horrible crime. I still remember every single detail. It’s part of my history. It is part of Utah’s history. I think of Ted, Dave and their loved ones every single day, as I will for Trayvon and his loved ones.
I’ve come to understand that racism is like cancer. You can’t put a band aid on cancer and expect it to disappear. If you ignore it and don’t address it immediately it will spread and grow until it kills.
We are in need of rational truthful dialogue to eradicate and heal it once and for all.
I believe the cure for racism’s curse are the conversations we are uncomfortable having.
American’s must FACE the past of our ancestors and the present norm in society regarding race relations. There is no other way. It won’t be a pretty picture, oppression never was. We must seek the truth and avoid the tendency to fight to be right. It is time to listen and truly hear the truth.
If we are to heal the cancer of racism, we must KNOW the stories of the oppressed to understand the effect it has on its victims and our society.
Evil flourishes when good men do nothing.
Education can cure the fear or hate passed on to our children. Knowledge is powerful. It transforms us into who we are meant to be. It makes us whole.
As Brian Jones, a brilliant teacher and activist said, “Racism is product of believing that some people are not worthy of justice and those people are overwhelmingly young and black and male. That the best place for them is prison or an invisible cage of post felony life. George Zimmerman saw what society has taught him to see. He saw someone who was already a criminal. The criminal justice system seems to be afraid of these cases, of creating real justice for these men. Because to deal with them we would have to reveal the depths of racism in our system.”
Trayvon’s murder has become an invitation to join the discussion of equality, racism and justice in America.
We owe it to ourselves, our children, and our world to learn our true history. We must hear the stories of the oppressed and honor their journey and love them.
There should not be an “us and them” any more. Humanity is the color of water, not skin.
Isn’t it time for us to help humanity join the human race?
How can one person change this huge problem in our country? I can tell you what works for me.
When I lose hope and become overwhelmed with the complexities of healing from the racism in our world, I reflect on the NAACP Value statement. It is my compass.
* I believe all Americans have equal rights and equal value.
* I cherish the diverse cultures, beliefs, and values of America.
* I believe we can disagree without being disagreeable.
* I repudiate all acts of racism and hate, both in words and action.
* I have faith in the promise of America – a promise built on mutual respect,
common civility, and hope for a better tomorrow.
* I commit to building that better America by participating actively and
peacefully in the democratic process.
I think Dr King said it best in 1963
“Let us all hope the dark clouds of racial prejudice will soon pass away & the deep fog of misunderstanding will be lifted from our fear drenched communities. In some not too distant tomorrow, the radiant stars of love & brotherhood will shine over our great nation with all their scintillating beauty.”
For me, these are the timeless truths that fosters hope in humanity and continue to heal my broken heart. I am directed to pay attention to the Light, that Light that brought us here and will escort us on the way home.
Thank you for being a light. Thank you for standing up for Justice for Trayvon Martin and all the Trayvon Martins in our world.
My Podcast Interview With Rod Arquette at 60:50
My Podcast Interview With Rod Arquette at 60:50
I spoke with a talk show host named Rod Arquette the other day, regarding healing my PTSD through my art exhibit and the story of my friends murders in Liberty Park.
Its ironic that the murders were so contrary to the name of the park. “Liberty” was literally murdered on the street right in front of my eyes that night in 1980.
I never thought about it til today, but I had such a beautiful history with Liberty Park before the murders. It was a stable place where I felt safe.
I loved Liberty Park as a child. It was a place I visited often. My grandparents lived down the street.
When I was 5 I looked for the tooth fairy in the tree knot holes and performed on the Victorian stage that was torn down years later. In the summers I took swimming, tennis and art lessons there while my single mother worked. I was a member of the Liberty Belles, girls tennis team. My friends and family picnicked, played, roller-skated, sang and danced there before the murders.
As a child we moved alot. I went to 22 schools by the time I was in 10th grade. But Liberty Park was a safe zone for me until I was shot there at 15 years old.
When Ted and Dave were killed there, so was my affection for Liberty Park. It was such an ugly irony that the name is based on American values and the truth about American made terrorism was being displayed on the grounds that were so sacred to me.
I often get asked if things are better since the murders. It has been 33 years. In some ways its better.
But all you have to do is look at the trial of George Zimmerman and the comments from trolls on the internet that send hate behind the anonymity of a keyboard and screen.
The “Angry Trayvon” game that depicts the murder VICTIM as a thug and aggressor is VICTIM BLAMING plain and simple. Victim blaming has always been an effective and accepted tool to control the masses of the oppressed.
I think of Trayvon’s mother and all the mothers who know this trauma and I want to protect them from the hate.
I want to heal this cancer of us and them.
I think about whether JPF would still be in prison 33 years later, after convictions of 22 murders. They stopped bringing charges against him since he has 5 life terms and 2 death sentences. They thought it would be a waste of taxpayers money. I agree. But I question if he would still be tax burden to the citizens, with a death sentence hanging over his head, if he were a black Muslim killing white people because of their race.
Lee Malvo, a black serial killer that implicated a young black boy, killed 15 people was convicted in 2005 and executed in 2009. That’s 4 years of waiting. The impressionable young boy got life. Their killings were considered “terrorist” attacks.
In my opinion JPF was an American, white, Christian terrorist.
Racism is still an issue.