On the stand: unbought and unbossed

To Rachel Jeantel, With Love

If you’ve been following the George Zimmerman Trial, the name Rachel Jeantel probably rings a bell. Rachel is 19 years old and was one of the last people to speak with Trayvon Martin before his murder. Brought on as a witness for the prosecution, this brave young person has been ridiculed in the mainstream media  and social media for her size, her complexion, her speech, and her mannerisms in ways that betray how unsafe, and yet how necessary, it is for a Black woman to unapologetically speak truth to power. Rachel has been fierce and steadfast through it all. We at the CFC and some of our friends join others across the web (see this and this, e.g.) to show Rachel some love.

On the stand: unbought and unbossed

Dear Rachel,

I just wanted to send you some love, sis. You are my shero! I’m so proud of the way you are handling yourself and standing up for your friend, Trayvon. Being a witness in a trial is such a scary thing and your love, loyalty, and fierceness in the face of folks who are trying to tear you down and perpetuate injustice is so amazing. Speak your truth! So many of us are standing with you with unshakable love and support, especially this fellow Caribbean girl from South Florida.




Dear Rachel,

I’m inspired by your bravery! You are speaking truth to power and we’re all standing with you. I hope you know how much we support and appreciate your voice and your courage.


Eesha P


Dear Rachel,

You stood your ground today. In so doing you won for all of us. I am proud of you, thankful for you, and inspired by your courage. (And by the way you gave ‘em hell.) Never quit.

Much love from one fiery Black girl to another,




Dear Rachel,

I am moved by the way you care for your friend Trayvon, how you attempt to protect him – both in life and now after he was stolen from you, from his family, from the world. You are tenacious, beautiful, brilliant and tough. You are also vulnerable. For your standing up for justice, and for love, in the face of so much negativity, I thank you. I can only hope that the kind of courage you stood with goes out into the world, affects us all. I can only hope that the kind of courage you displayed acts as a radical force of change for the cause of liberation.

So much love to you,





Dear Rachel,

I really admire you! I don’t think I could handle those fool attorneys the way you are. I hope you know that even though these folks in the courtroom are acting up, we see you, we hear you, we feel you and we support you! I hate that you have to deal with people who are so openly hostile towards you as you work to get even just a little justice for your friend. I hope you are able to get some rest and relaxation after all of this. We are cheering you on! You are everything!!

Empowered by your fierce,

Moya Bailey




Dear Rachel,

I hope you know how badass beautiful you are.  I watched you on the stand and I am so proud of you.  You held your own, you spoke your truth, and you did it with grace and dignity.  I know you are under a lot of pressure and I can’t imagine what that must feel like.

Blackgirls face all manner of harm in this world and sometimes people forget that we hurt too.  I want to acknowledge your pain and send you the unconditional and utter love that will help heal it.

I’m sorry you lost your friend.

I’m sorry that people can be so hateful and mean.

I’m sorry that in only nineteen years you have already seen and experienced so much injustice, loss, and pain.

I’m sorry that as you stand up and speak up for Trayvon that you have to do so under a microscope.

I’m sorry that the noise of so many voices and judgments may be attempting to distract you, belittle you, or hurt you.

In the midst of it all I hope you know that you are enough.  I hope you know that your words and the truth of your experience are enough.  I hope you know that you don’t have to justify or make right what is not broken.  I hope you know that you are not broken!  I hope you know that you were heard, and understood, and believed!  I hope you know that you are being supported on all sides, and for every enemy there is an ally.

Be encouraged, beautiful one!  You are deeply loved, admired and appreciated!

All Love,

R. Boylorn

Dear Rachel (Jeantel),


I said I wouldn’t watch this trial because I knew it would trigger me. And, honestly, until I saw you and heard the condescending tone in the voice of the Prosecutor, who put you on the stand to tell Trayvon’s side of the story, I wasn’t. But I looked at you. Stared, even. I saw the combative bravada of a very scared young woman. A beautiful, dark-skinned, big woman-child. This trial comes in the same time that Oprah Winfrey’s Network is running a documentary called “Dark Girls.” And so your presence is a living example of the living examples in the documentary. I’ve been sick reading Twitter and Facebook, listening to people call you all manner of things that denigrate and diminish your very self. The mother in me wants to take you in my arms and rock you. The big sister in me wants to start a fight on your behalf and take out anyone that talks badly about you. I am ashamed of some black folk right now. I admit, I expect it from some white ones. And that’s a shame right there. I just really want you to know that you’re not alone out here. Several of us: Brittney, Emerson, Jaha, Leslie, Guy, James, Earle, me and so, so many others are fighting back the maliciousness.

I have resisted making up a story about you, storyteller that I am. I heard your broken English and thought I heard a hint of something else. Later I learned it was Patois and Spanish accents underneath your attempt to represent yourself so well in a foreign arena. I am proud to know that you are tri-lingual, even if you were apparently socially promoted in an educational system that does not value teaching you, or that you suffer from a learning ability–I don’t know which. But hours of being on the stand, you managed to withstand the badgering. I admire you for it. You displayed a strength that some of those criticizing you for not being “their kind of black” have not displayed. I don’t know that I would be able to be as brave, as strong as you’ve been these two days. I find I admire you as I do think of all the obstacles you’ve faced to be in this world.

And now, you’re the “star” witness in a drama you never wanted a part. I imagine you are still grieving, traumatized by Trayvon’s last screams and last words, that they intrude your dreams, making their way into nightmares. I don’t know, but I imagine. I wonder if your mind races, if you think “if only” and “If I could have” thoughts. I wasn’t there, talking with my friend off and on, and I think these things.

Rachel, I hope the attempts to discredit you won’t seep into your soul. I pray for you these days. I hope you will grieve and be able to move on. This time is hard. I don’t ever mean to minimize that. It’s hard. And you’re being put under more and more pressure. But you are beautiful under this pressure. I pray you will not break under it. See how I’m praying? I’m praying that no matter what anyone says about, you will come out with your humanity in tact, your dignity in hand, and your soul at peace.

I continue to pray and beat back the maliciousness.

I am in it with you. All the way,

Valerie **

And here is another note: a love poem for you


**poem Dear Rachel Jeantel, copyright Valerie Hugsy Bridgeman, June 27, 2013


You are brave and beautiful! We love you!
You are so brave and beautiful! We love you!

Share a love note for Rachel in the comments.

71 thoughts on “To Rachel Jeantel, With Love

  1. Thank you for this. Rachel is my Shero too. She is fierce and is standing tall in front of their bigotry.

    We love you Rachel!

    From a Senegalese Sister.

    1. Honored to Join you here for Nashua New Hampshire! I absolutely Love Rachel Jeantel; find her so sincere, so believable, so precious, a beautiful young lady! I was amazed at how she stood firm and consistent with the tough cross examination, never waivering from the truth of what she heard! I believed her every word as she spoke and she touched my heart deeply so! Supurb Job! Way to Go Rachel!

  2. Thank you. Everything else is too big to fit into words. A million thank yous and the most ferocious, loving energy that comes out of Detroit.

  3. Thank You Ms.Jeantel for your Courage, bravery and love of self and your friend Mr. Martin. I have watch you show grace under pressure many of us can imagine especially those of us that are white. You are a beautiful Black Women leading the way…… Stay strong

  4. Dear Rachel,

    You are awesome. Your strength and courage are inspiring the country right now. They go after the truth, try to shut it down but you are not letting that happen. Sending love and admiration your way-

    Mara Collins

  5. Rachel, I so hope you get to see this. Yesterday I wished we could all send you a love letter that would somehow get to you. I want you to know that I can see what he and they were trying to do to you and I DO NOT BUY IT. My greatest hope for all of this is that whatever justice can be had on this earth, will come to Trayvon’s family and his other loved ones like yourself. My next hope is that you will not be damaged by the way you have been treated. I hope the people around you are building you up and showing you how much they appreciate you. I appreciate you. Standing up for your friend while that man did his best to tear you down is so honorable and it’s that type of character that I try to teach to my children. I will show them videos of your testimony as an example of the courage I want them to have.

  6. I love this. You go Rachel!!! I’m ten years older than you and I’m inspired by your courage.

  7. Thank you Rachel for being so brave. Thank you for pushing yourself through this tough time. I am so proud of you for pushing through you pain for Trayvon. I know he is grateful to you for what you have done for him. You are loved. Ignore the negativity and the ignorance. Keep your head up and I am praying for your healing. God Blessed you My Sister…

  8. Dear Rachel,
    You are the face of courage in a ridiculously broken system. Thank you for speaking your truth and letting the world know that we won’t be silent. Be strong, be proud and most of all, be you. There is no greater gift you can give to the world or to Trayvon.

    Support from NY

  9. Rachel Jeantel, you are a brave young woman and can be proud of yourself. You are my Shero for doing what you had to do and staying true to who you are. Whatever you do in life, I wish you happiness and success.

  10. I see you and I hear you lil sis! You are beautiful, brave, and a force to be reckoned with. Know that thousands of us have your back as you fight through your own fears and vulnerability to stand up for what is right.

  11. You keep doing exactly what you’re doing in the way that you’ve been doing it. Speaking the truth is never foolish. The comments that hateful people are making reflect only on their lack of understanding, imagination, and compassion. Truth is always beautiful, and so are you! Please know that you have many people’s support. Never stop.


  12. You are so strong in the face of tragedy, scrutiny, loss, and ignorance. Your courage is breathtaking. I’m thinking of you, sending you my love, ready to fight at your side if you need me. Keep swinging, beautiful woman. All my respect.

  13. Dear Rachel,

    I love you! I love you because you are a strong, beautiful, honest, and loyal individual. You have a tremendous amount of strength and bravery. I know it has been hard since the death of your friend Trayvon. I admire how you are defending his honor in his absence and holding everything together. Please know that you are beyond beautiful and that you have support from other African Americans. I wish you lotz of love, happiness, and joy! Keep doing your best and most importantly keep smiling!

  14. Dear Rachel,

    However this plays out, never forget that you were strong and powerful and honest. You have so much to be proud of. I’m glad to be in the same world as you.

  15. Thank you Crunk Feminist Collective & Thank you Rachel for being the brave young woman that you are!

  16. Dear Rachel,

    Few of us will ever experience what you have for the past two days, even if we know what it’s like to have someone stolen from us. Whatever they try to do to your character in the courtroom, in those ridiculous video loops in the media, and in private and public conversations for the next while, please know that 1) you did the right thing, 2) you were credible, 3) you focused on what matters. Thank you for standing your ground, being yourself, and refusing to participate in putting yourself, Trayvon, or black people on trial, even when some of us will insist on putting you on trial.


    Danielle P.

  17. Dear Rachel,
    First of all, I am so sorry for your loss. The fact that you are still grieving your friend makes it all the more difficult (and important) to speak your truth.

    I just want you to know how very much I appreciate you for doing this: speaking for your friend whose voice was so violently taken away.

    I am awed by your strength and courage. I have only caught a few moments of both the prosecution and defense badgering you — I was yelling at the tv and wanting to throw some punches — so I do not know how you are doing it… but I know that it must be because of your loyalty to your friend.

    As a country, we need your kind of strength and bravery and loyalty. So, thank you, and know that you have some people who have never met you in your corner, too.

  18. Rachel, You have a dignity that no one can touch. You are an awesome young lady. I am sorry you’ve had such much pain and trauma in your young life, and I hope for the very best for you in the future. Hugs, Judy

  19. Thank you CPC for doing this! Thank you all for writing so eloquently what’s in my own heart but couldn’t piece together the words to say. And most importantly, THANK YOU RACHEL for your strength and courage in the face of an unimaginable situation. We got your back! We are proud of you. We love you.


  20. Dear Rachel, no one should speak to you like that attorney did. It was hard to watch his condescension and rudeness. You did far better than I would have at maintaining your decorum, and I was moved by your courage and determination. Those people trying to shout you down and shame you are just small-spirited and fearful. Keep your head up.

  21. Rachel,

    Stay in the light, my dear! You are a source of inspiration. As much as we can be, we are with you. Sending you peace and many positive vibes, Sis. Love. Light.

  22. Thank you for being so strong. I can’t believe how you’ve maintained your composure. Little girls everywhere can, and will, look up to your strength. I’m a full grown woman and I know I already am. I’m sorry you had to be caught up in all of this, but you’re doing the best with what you’ve got, and girl, you’re doing great! All my strength and love sent your way!

  23. PS,
    Webmasters, and those who know how, these, and other comments of support MUST reach the ignorant, hypercritical journalists who fill the air with their ignorance–and those mean-spirited, hateful-persons who are defending George Zimmerman–PLEASE!

    We saw the consternation on the face of the lawyer, West, when his white-folks tactics could not faze Rachel Jeantel. May his consternation bring him a stroke–of enlightenment OR incapacity.

  24. Continue to be you and ask, “are you listening?” Continue to weather the storm in the name of your slain friend, that’s what friends are for. Continue to repeat yourself assertively and let them know just how certain you are. Continue to live boldly and unabashedly in your skin and do not let them undermine you. Continue to be you! You’re not alone sis.

  25. Rachel,
    I admire your strength and your courage. You were steadfast in the face of of bigotry, hate and injustice and for that you deserve all of our love and respect. Justice will be done in part thanks to you sis.

    With Love,

  26. Dear Rachel, what you’re doing for your friend is amazing. You kept your composure so beautifully in the face of unfair tactics that I couldn’t believe it. You don’t deserve the cruel things people are saying about you, but you know that. When this whole media storm blows over, you will find that no matter what is being said, you are still YOU, a shining star who made the choice to stand in a hurricane of publicity and speak your truth.

  27. Rachel,

    Thank you so much for what you are doing. I am feeling so inspired by your strength and integrity. You are telling the truth, no matter what games they try to pull on you. The people who run our court system are used to being able to manipulate and intimidate and you are standing strong.

    It is hard to find things to be hopeful about in this world, and you are making me have hope because you are standing up for whats right, even though it might hurt and is very hard to do. This world needs more people like you who stand up and tell the truth no matter what. Thank you.


  28. Rachel, you are a FIERCE WARRIOR coming up against some major goons! You are a very brave role model and millions are rooting for you! Thank you!

  29. Well, you know my grandmother would say that you catch more flies with honey, so there’s that. Still, sometimes life is so raw, so it’s all good 😉 Don’t bother with the filth out on the internet; they say much more about themselves than they do you. Heart is the most important thing. You take care!

  30. Brave Rachel,

    Please know that your truth has been heard and believed! I am in awe of your courage, and your grace under such pressure. Thank you for speaking up against injustice and cruelty, for taking this burden. You are inspiring!

    Much love,

  31. Rachel, thank you for being unapologetically you. Keep speaking your truth and letting your light shine–the world could use more of that. All my love and support go out to you.

  32. Rachel, your are a wonderful person and I feel so bad you had to go through such a devastating situation. You did the right thing and did a good job. Be proud.

  33. To Rachel,
    Thank you for your love–of Trayvon and yourself; your courage; your YOU. To be able to stand in the face of opposition and brutality in the way you have done is more than we should have to ask of anyone. And yet there you are. We see you. We hear you. We love you. We thank you.

  34. Rachel,

    You braveness has been a beacon for me as I continue/d to watch the trial. Your voice, which is often rendered silent in our public sphere, was paramount in pushing back against structures that sought to silence you, and other Black women. Your courageousness, I would argue, undoubtedly gave hope to Black women who were once (and are) hopeless. As a Black male, I sat in near tears (of joy) as you stood your ground–to speak truth to power and to subversively critique a long system of injustice. So, because of this, I say thank you–thank you for who you are and choosing not to alter *you* for no one. Its so important. Know that I stand with you.


  35. Dear Rachel,

    I’m so sorry for the lost of your friend.
    I haven’t been able to bring myself to watch the trial and can’t imagine what wells of strength you have had to pull on.
    I know that black girls and women hurt and I am angry that so many people have made fun of you and tried to deny you your humanity .
    I see you . I got your back.
    So much love from Philly!


  36. Although I haven’t watched the Trial but I’ve heard many things about it. Rachel is a beautiful, smart and strong young lady. I wish you all the best Rachel. You did a great job and I’m sure that Trayvon would be proud of you. Hugs

  37. Dear Rachel,

    May you continue to speak your truth and honor the life and legacy of your Beloved Friend! Know that HE IS proud of you and know that truth and justice to prevail.
    God foreknew about this time in our history and God selected you to be the Voice of Trayon!!!

    Go Well!
    Be Strong, Be Strong and May You Be Strengthened!

  38. This is so beautiful it is making me cry. I wish that we did not have to come together in this type of situation like this, why not it be a potluck of love…wait that is what it has come to be. I am sorry that Trayvon’s losing had to be the reason we now have to send, ship, email, post, tag, tweet, fb, WP love to Miss Rachel YET I am glad it is being done. I am glad to see that there is still a GREAT AMOUNT of US who remember and know what REAL LOVE is. I am glad to be amongst you all.

    So, my LOVE and THANK YOUs are not only for your beautiful-amazingly-strong soul Miss Rachel Jeantel but also to ALL YOU CRUNKASSES finding and creating bond so to send this kind of love out and into the universe in grand manifestation so to reach and seep into Rachel. Thank you for Your existence, all of You.

  39. Go and BE FIERCE. I am so proud of you. You had the courage to stand tall and be who you are! You refused to fit into some mole and to wear some ridiculous face of submissiveness. You spoke truth through your words and your attitude. I LOVED YOUR ATTITUDE! Why should you be humble before them? Your mannerisms told them that you understood and their trickery and that you would not be fooled! Thank you so much for being the brave, beautiful and bold sister that you are! Sending you much love!

  40. Dear Rachel,
    I have not been watching the trial, but I have been hearing about your testimony, how you were clear and serious, and not intimidated to speak up. It is a horrible thing that you’ve lived through, bravely standing by your friend as he was being brutally attacked. I think about that a lot, as sometimes my friends call me to keep them company on the phone while they walk on scary streets. And it is twice as horrible to have to re-live it in testimony and maintain your calm throughout the stupid questions. I hope these messages reach you and that they bring you comfort in knowing we are with you. Much love from Europe, Analia.

  41. Dear Rachel:
    You represent the today the “Strength” of the Black Youth that is not often put on the National spotlight. Don’t be fooled by the negative talk, they are just trying to intimidate you which you have shown them time and time again that they do not have the power to do. Your sacrifice will set a standard for many youth who will be encouraged to “Stand” against injustice.

  42. Dear Rachel,
    I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be in your skin, in your mind, in your heart, at this moment in your life. I do know that as I’ve watched you being questioned and as you’ve answered with dignity that I have felt such amazement at your poise, your willingness to be truthful, your committment to your friend who can’t speak for himself.
    I am so sorry that he was so brutally taken from you and his family and from his life. I’m so sorry that you are in this place, now, being faced by these people who don’t know you and refuse to understand you.
    I sincerely hope that when you look in the mirror, that you see yourself with compassion and self love and fully embrace every part of you that makes you human and special.
    Be well.

  43. I’m sorry for your loss, and I’m sorry if the trial is making you relive it. Thank you for testifying– I hope it brings justice and peace for Trayvon.

  44. Dear Rachel,

    Thank you for being as you are in the world: beautiful, loyal, and committed to truth.

    With love,

  45. Dear Rachel,
    You don’t know me, of course. I’m just a girl living in the countryside to you. But I know how you are suffering. The biggest thing you can do is to say to yourself, “Breathe. I am alive. Breathe. I am home.”
    Love, Mallory

  46. I must admit that I too criticized Rachel for what I perceived as a bad attitude. However, this site brought up a good point. That it is hard to speak and tell the truth before the law, especially for black people. We are so afraid of the police, that sometimes we turn a blind eye to injustice for the sake of not getting involved. So she does get my respect for at least telling the truth for her friend’s sake. A lot of people are not brave enough to do this.

  47. Dear Rachel,

    Sorry for your loss. I think you are beautiful, strong, truthful, and Human. People will say all types of things in an effort to cloud the debate of justice and support Zimmerman. Loved watching your testimony . . you definitely stood your ground and were very patient with the defense attorney.

  48. i’m sorry for your loss but i think your brave, strong, beautiful, truthful and human. i’m glad that you stood your ground and for your patience when dealing with the defense attorney. i hope that you continue to stand up for yourself and not let others dismiss you. thank you for being yourself and for testifying.

  49. Hi Rachel, you are beautiful, love. I’m so impressed with your courage and truth. Never ever let anyone bring you down. And above all, always be who you are, you shine with a uniqueness that no other person on earth has. You are special and beautiful and valued. I wish you the best life filled with love, happiness, honor, truth and justice. Bless you dear!

  50. Oh Rachel, you are Grace under fire!!! You are an inspiration to this 50 something woman

  51. Dear Rachel,
    I think it would be a privilege to know you and an honor to call you my friend. You are a valuable, beautiful person in every way that counts, for real. Thank you for standing up.
    A California admirer

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