One year ago today 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed by a wannabe cop who was serving as a neighborhood watch captain named George Zimmerman..
Trayvon was unarmed when he was profiled and confronted for looking suspicious even after police told Zimmerman not to pursue him… One year later after all of us wore hoodies and held up skittles, what has changed and where are we both with the case and the way we deal w/ violence, racism and our collective pursuit for justice?
What was bothersome was far too many caked off the Trayvon tragedy..It was a way to get camera time by expressing outrage, but the important follow-up was all but abandoned.. For example, there was a call to push back on ALEC.. The American Legislative Exchange Council which was primary engine responsible for putting Stand Your Ground Laws in effect all over the country. We made promises to dismantle it and stop the millionairs and billionaires like the Koch brothers from using it to their advantage and our detriment
Even if Zimmerman himself will not be using Stand Your Ground, it was the existence of this law that emboldened him to chase down Trayvon and shoot him..Have been people been keeping up w/ ALEC? Have they been following the work of Color of Change which is still in the mix fighting this?
Many have all but forgotten the case of Marissa Alexander, the young mother who was abused by her husband who in defending herself from another brutal attack shot a gun in the ceiling to prevent herself from being beat.. Her actions would’ve been in line w/ Stand Your Ground.. She is now serving 20 years for her actions..
The same DA/State Attorney, Angela Corey who is overseeing the prosecution of Zimmerman is the same DA who prosecuted Alexander.. She is also the same Angela Corey who made history by trying a 12-year-old in adult court..Her term is up this year..What’s the plan of action regarding her? Will she pursue the Trayvon case vigorously? Are we concerned about her mistreatment of Marrissa Alexander?
Since Trayvon we saw a repeat incident in Jacksonville Florida, when 17-year-old Jordan Davis was shot and killed by a man named Michael Dunn who felt the unarmed teen was playing his music too loud. Dunn was finally charged w/ First degree murder..Davis’ parents are fighting ALEC and Stand Your Ground..They said they will crusade against these laws in honor of their slain son..Have we joined them? Do we care?
Since Trayvon there have been a rash of raced based vigilante attacks and killings from Oklahoma City on down to the some of the border states. For whatever reason many have not connected the killings of Brown folks by anti-immigrant Minute men types in places like Tuscon to what was happened to folks like Trayvon and Jordan..and before that, to folks in New Orleans who were shot and killed fleeing flooded areas after Katrina for higher ground..
Since Trayvon the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement issued a stunning report documenting extrajudicial killings by law enforcement and law enforcement types.. The report revealed that every 36 Hours a Black person was killed. What have we done to follow that up? Most recently a number of organizations met in Oakland to a packed house to update the findings and lay out a number of next steps to hold folks accountable and get justice.. Have we joined those efforts?
Stop the Violence March in Chicago
Right after Trayvon was shot there were some who were upset that folks had rallied his killing. Their rationale was Black folks kill each other all the time. They pointed to cities like Chicago as a glaring example of inner city violence..For those folks since Trayvon, what’s been the progress you initiated? Whats the orgs you linked up to that others can join? Whats the legislative path being pursued that others can help out on?
One year ago Trayvon Martin was killed. It angered us. It shocked us..It had us wearing hoodies..But if all we did was wear a hoodie after one year with all that has happened, I dare say we failed Trayvon and failed ourselves..What more needs to happen before the current climate is shifted?