by: Jonathan Hood
My heart is heavy today with sadness. Rev. Lacy J. Banks, a longtime sportswriter for the Sun-Times has passed away after a long illness.
I didn’t know him well, but I did speak to him in the Bears locker room or Bulls locker room.
“Bless you Rev. Banks”, I would say and he would acknowledge me. “Bless you, son.”
Banks was one of two African-American’s that I would see covering the Bulls when I went to the United Center. The other was the late Larry Gross of the Chicago Defender. There are so few African-American’s covering sports in Chicago and I had a sense of pride seeing them work. I saw them during games in the media section, under the basket at the United Center on television made me think that one day I would love to meet them and ask how they started in the business. Banks is someone I read regularly during the first Championship run for the Bulls and was in awe the first time I met him.
Rev. Banks was a pioneer in the business and will be missed.
More on Banks’ legacy at this link: http://espn.go.com/chicago/nba/story/_/id/7723614/michael-wilbon-remembers-impact-lacy-j-banks-had-career
My heart is also filled with anger regarding the story of Trayvon Martin.
Martin was shot by George Zimmerman, a person patrolling the neighborhood in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman, thus far has not been charged by the authorites and told police that he acted in self-defense. Based on the evidence that has been presented by the press, it the info on Zimmerman’s past, he is on neighborhood watch quite a bit following people.
The only items that was on Martin at the time of the crime scene was a pack of Skittles and an Ice Tea that he bought at the store.
I continue to read about senseless killings on a daily basis and it angers me. Zimmerman and others that take lives for sport, need to be put to justice.
This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something,” Zimmerman told the dispatcher. “It’s raining, and he’s just walking around looking about.” The man tried to explain where he was. “Now he’s coming towards me. He’s got his hand in his waistband. And he’s a black male…Something’s wrong with him. Yup, he’s coming to check me out. He’s got something in his hands. I don’t know what his deal is…These assholes, they always get away.”
After discussing his location with the dispatcher, Zimmerman exclaimed, “Shit he’s running,” and the following sounds suggest he left his vehicle to run after Martin.
“Are you following him?” the dispatcher asked. Zimmerman replied: “Yep.”
“Okay, we don’t need you to do that,” the dispatcher warned.
Several minutes later, according to other callers to 911 in the neighborhood, Zimmerman and Martin got into a wrestling match on the ground. One of the pair could be heard screaming for help. Then a single shot rang out, and Martin lay dead.
Zimmerman was told not to follow the young man that he was profiling and he ignored the request by the dispatcher.
The Martin death is bigger than a race issue. The senseless deaths of our children gunned down in the streets, on a daily basis, is the bigger story and should be viewed in a bigger lens.
As someone that has been profiled numerous times, it isn’t a good feeling. But the feeling that I had, is nothing like what Martin probably went through before the ending of his life.