It has been more than two weeks since George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the death of Trayvon Martin was announced, and many people nationwide have expressed their opinions about the case.
Of all of the comments made about the verdict, one young man’s Facebook post became a viral sensation by using irony to address the “freedom” Zimmerman has to look forward to.
The open letter, written by Alex Fraser, a young African-American man in Los Angeles, has been shared over 95,000 times via Facebook.
As of Thursday, the Facebook post has collected over 150,000 likes, been featured in multiple media reports, and has been re-posted by celebrities like actor Lance Gross.
Part of the letter read:
“You will feel people stare at you. Judging you for what you think are unfair reasons. You will lose out on getting jobs for something you feel is outside of your control. You will believe yourself to be an upstanding citizen and wonder why people choose to not see that.”
Fraser warns Zimmerman that he will “feel what it is like to be a black man in America.”
The post has been ranked by The Guardian as one of the top 10 commentaries on the verdict.
Fraser said that his motivation for writing the post was simply to express himself, and he did not expect the level of attention that his writing has received.
“I’ve just found that writing things out — writing what I’m feeling out—helps me get through difficult times,” said Fraser. “I made it public because I wanted to send out to people that might be feeling the same way that I was feeling, because what I wrote helped calm me a little bit.”
He has written posts like this one before, but admits that he anticipated maybe 10 or 12 people would read his work, and was shocked at the 1,000 Facebook likes it collected overnight.
“I like that it is sparking discussion,” said Fraser. “I like that we are taking time to talk about the types of profiling that African-Americans are going through.”
Despite all of the positive attention, some negative responses have come his way as well. He says that some individuals think that racial issues will “disappear” if people like him stop speaking out about them.
He has received private messages on Facebook from people who think he is “sensationalizing” the case and making it worse. The Zimmerman verdict is not the first hot-button issue Fraser has commented on. As a college student during the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech University, he penned a poem about his friend (who attended the university) and his experiences with the tragedy.
After a long history with writing, Fraser plans to combine is passion for race issues with his professional interests in theater arts.
Fraser moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting, and is now trying to team up with a friend to write a screenplay which will include racial themes.
He hopes to reach out to the Trayvon Martin Foundation to collaborate with them on the project.
America’s reaction to the verdict
According to Fraser, America still has work to do to achieve racial harmony.
As news outlets have moved onto other stories and Americans have been distracted by things like the royal baby, Fraser is pushing to keep the conversation on prejudice and racism going.
“They keep treating the race issue like it is something that has an expiration date,” said Fraser.
To read Alex Fraser’s entire post click here.