The death of a 17-year-old young man in Florida -Trayvon Martin- has ignited a national debate.
Killed by a Neighborhood Watch volunteer while walking through a gated community near Orlando, Martin's death has stirred outrage.
It has also brought forward a painful debate on race relations.
Trayvon, you see, was black. The man who shot the unarmed teen is white.
The tragedy, and it's implications, makes me unbearably sad.
We are nearly 50 years past Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, when he unveiled his vision for a future America.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
-August 28, 1963
The idea that today, in 2012, we have a question about whether some Americans still judge others not "by the content of their character" but because of the color of their skin, is a shocking thought.
Marches, protests, even bounties on the shooter by radical groups- is this truly America in 2012?
Justice for Trayvon is what people are asking for. A complete account of what happened on that dark street is what is needed. Justice can't be done until all the facts are known
Most disturbing to me is the fact that race is still a dividing line. I'm not Pollyanna, and I know it's idealistic to think no one profiles based on skin color. But, wouldn't the world be a much, much better place if that were the case?
It also worries me that, rather than move race relations forward, this case will further divide us. Suspicion could replace trust and harmony.
It does, however, indicate that we were fooling ourselves by thinking we had gone beyond race, that we still have work to do to push past our history.
In order to move the conversation forward, compassion must replace hate, understanding must trump suspicion, and good men and women of all shapes and sizes, races and religions, must come together.
Realistic? Probably not.
But it's a nice dream.