Trayvon Martin Is Everywhere
By now you should have read, seen or heard the sad story of the case of Trayvon Martin. The African American teenager who looked much younger than he was, who was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch man (who should NOT have been armed) that claimed Trayvon was armed when the only thing he had on him were some skittles and iced tea. No doubt if you have somewhat of a heart and heard the 911 tape with this young man screaming in the background, you felt the jolt just like I did when the gunshot rang out.
I have deliberately tried to stay away from this case and this situation because as a proud Black man, I take EVERY instance of injustice against our people to heart and quite frankly, it can be very exhausting. Moreover, as a criminal justice professional for more than 20 years, I have become all too familiar with this type of case. But the truth of the matter is, I am pissed off about this situation. Not just because of the senseless, racist and violent act that happened. Not just because a man who claims he is half Hispanic, but has a White surname and who has been documented as calling the police numerous times over the past year for widespread reports of what can best be called racial profiling killed this young man and is still free. NO, what I am pissed off the most about, is that it took this case going mainstream in order for us to be upset.
Let me be clear, what happened in this case was WRONG. There is no simpler sentence to make. The problem is that cases like Trayvon Martin happen all over this country and likely on a daily basis. We should not be pissed about JUST this case. We should be pissed about ALL of these type cases. If you did not know Trayvon, but yet you are enraged, then you should be enraged everytime someone that you may or may not know is killed due to the hands of racism and hatred. I can sympathize with the Martin family because they have suffered a tragic loss, but I can also sympathize with all the other families that I am aware of who have suffered the same type of loss.
Take a moment to recognize what is happening in your area and in our Black community. We as a people have gotten comfortable. We have backed away from some of the same principles that made us so great in the first place. But mainstream society has pretty much remained the same. It took a teenager getting killed and the 911 tapes being released of his last moments in order for people to start getting involved. What about all of our loved ones that have suffered racism, hatred and injustice, but never had the tapes released or never received any attention, but are nonetheless just as dead? Trust me when I tell you that Spike Lee’s scene in “Do the Right Thing” where Radio Raheem gets choked to death by a police officer is not as much fiction as some may think.
My challenge to you as a reader of this blog is to not only be upset about Trayvon Martin, but to be aware that Trayvon Martin type cases happen often in this country. Teach your children how to be aware of their surroundings. Hold your police accountable. Hold your elected officials accountable. Educate the ignorant. Be upset whenever this type of case surfaces; even if it is not national headlines. It may not have been someone you know THIS time, but who is to say that it will not be you or someone you know the very next time?