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The Editor’s View: The Diversity Issue

By Katrice L. Mines, Editor

I can remember sitting in an airport the night the George Zimmerman verdict was being announced. I had a brief layover and had rushed off the plane to find that all of the televisions had been turned off as they’d generally loop CNN broadcasts, and I assumed they were trying to avoid a disruption by travelers who’d react to the news one way or the other. I couldn’t believe it. But I quickly logged into my Twitter account and was tethered to my feed, refreshing every few minutes to be on top of any developments. And then it happened … A tweet from someone I follow was my first hint that the verdict was not what I’d hoped it would be.

The anguish jumped out of those 140 characters and shook me like I was standing outside the courthouse in Sanford, Fla. I cried right there in my seat. I was furious. I was hurt … despondent, even. How was this reality? In that moment, I felt as if black lives were completely devalued in America. In 2013, a black life wasn’t worth a thing. I don’t recall now what I posted, but I fired off a tweet and posted a passionate response to the news on Facebook. It’s where all of my circle was congregating around the country, on social media. Somehow, doing so left me with a slight feeling of empowerment though it was probably one of the points in my life when I felt most powerless. Before that day, I had donated to innocence projects and signed more petitions seeking justice for various African-American causes than I can count. But it was the swell of collective outcry on Black Twitter that made me believe change could happen.

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