Rachel, I Understand


Dear Rachel,

Today I tuned in to the live coverage of the trial that is seeking justice in your dear friend, Trayvon Martin. As the cross-examination occurred, a continuation from earlier days, I increasingly became frustrated with the way the defense approached you. Any good defense will attempt to fluster a witness such as yourself, as your testimony does not support their client. But to insult your intelligence and criticize your speech is frankly unnecessary, especially after you continually expressed the facts regarding your phone call with Trayvon on that fateful night in February 2012. What is worse is the terrible backlash of the news media and Internet outlets.

You got this, Rachel! [Pic from For Harriet: http://on.fb.me/11QwSKh]

You got this, Rachel! [Pic from For Harriet: http://on.fb.me/11QwSKh%5D

Rachel, I understood you completely, and there are many people out there that are asserting that very same truth.

What is being asserted as “lack of intelligence” is actually a lack of understanding from those who do not understand our dialect and codes as African-Americans. It is not a dialect that is distinct only to people who “society” believes at the bottom; on the contrary–the most profound and intellectual of African-Americans have a deep understanding of our collective vernacular. It is a beautiful thing indeed.

It is how we communicated to each other on plantations. How we built solidarity within our churches. It is how we sent messages through the Underground Railroad. It is infused in our music, from spirituals to gospel to blues to jazz to hip-hop. It is how we connect and thrive. And what the world must understand is that we do not care if they do not understand us. 

But Rachel, you must be mindful of the fact that the defense will do anything in their power to disable you. I was engulfed in anger just watching the cross-examination, so I can imagine how upset you were on the stand. The pursed lips, the forced “yes sir’s”, the tone of your voice–everyone notices these things, from the defense, to the jury, to the judge, to viewers across the globe. Do not let the defense take control. Disable their examination with the facts, as you have been, and stand firmly on them with a piercing respect that will fluster them. Know their tactics. And most of all, let your beauty shine.

It has already shined into the hearts of countless individuals who are supporting you as you seek justice for Trayvon and his family. Most adults could not endure what you have endured in the name of Trayvon, and you are still standing. Hold on just a little while longer. Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.

With love,

Amber <3

If you have a love note for Rachel, please post it on The Feminist Wire’s Facebook page with the hashtag #lovenotesforrachel and send your love on Twitter with the hashtag #LoveForRachel.


One thought on “Rachel, I Understand

  1. persephone

    You’re John Brown RIGHT that we don’t care if they don’t understand us, and I’d also like to add that we actually enjoy that particular insularity.

    She did wayyyy better than me, because I’m a MAJOR smart ass, but have gone to white schools my entire life (and a sister school for undergrad and JHU for my master’s) and know how to play the game. She did it in her own way and I loved it and her for it. Word life.

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