The impact of the racially divisive Trayvon Martin case is being felt in Kansas City, and its worrying both Mayor Sly James and Police Chief Darryl Forté.
By Yael T. Abouhalkah
The Kansas City Star
In separate blogs, the mayor and chief are urging Kansas Citians to remain calm after the Martin verdict is reached sometime in the near future.
While they dont say it directly, both public officials men seem to be aiming much of their message at black residents who might be extremely upset if George Zimmerman is found not guilty of any crime in the case.
Both Sly James and Darryl Forté are black, as is Martin.
James key comment in his blog is this:
I believe that the common vision we have for the future of our city, regardless of age, gender, race, religion or geography, should do more to bring us together than to drive us apart. We always have room for rational debate and I do expect everyone, regardless of their opinions related to this case, to remain calm.
Fortés key point in his blog is this:
I ask all members of the community to respect each other. Respect ones right to voice an opinion, but also respect anothers right to be safe. I also ask everyone to work together to quell any disturbances that may arise. I know the Zimmerman case is an emotional topic, but we cant let emotions bring discredit to Kansas City.
The mayor and police chief understandably dont want civil unrest in the black community to happen on their watch in case Zimmerman is found not guilty.
In part, I commend both James and Forté for their comments. They are civilly stated and obviously dont take a stand on whos guilty or not.
However, the blogs also have a jumping the gun feel about them, essentially saying we expect something bad to happen in Kansas City so people better be prepared to fight back against it.
While racially charged civil unrest has occurred after major incidents in this country, such as the murder of Martin Luther King in 1968, lets hope nothing close to that occurs here or elsewhere no matter how the Martin case turns out.