By now the news of the unfortunate injustice associated with Trayvon Martin has infiltrated the globe thanks in large part to social media. There has been an outpouring of outrage demanding justice for the 17-year-old's family. We have all seen videos, posts, statuses, recordings, photos, and even people sporting hoodies all to try to send a message.
When I first heard the story I was appalled...I figured there must be some mistake. How could this man's actions be justified? How could following this young man and holding a gun to his head while he was completely defenseless be construed as self defense?
After I listened to the 911 recordings, the girlfriend's cell phone account, and read through some of the other details of the story, I was even more shocked. I learned Trayvon was an A/B student, played football for his high school and was generally loved by all. As I read on, I couldn't help shake the feeling that something like this could really happen anywhere, even here in Summit, NJ.
The story was eating at me so I started to post links, information, sign petitions and whatever else I could do from my computer. I also was making a point to comment on other people's posts and statuses on the topic and I started noticing that most of the people who were so outraged by this story, were black.
I remember in watching videos from various Civil Rights marches and demonstrations back in the 60's and wondering to myself why were there so few people of other races marching too?
And I wonder today, why are there so few people of other races outraged about Trayvon Martin? I've actually seen numerous comments about the incident listing every excuse from what he was wearing, to the corrupt police department, to the "stand your ground" version of the legislation in question.
But in reality...the only thing George Zimmerman knew about Trayvon, was that he was black...and with that information, he made the decision to ignore his pleas for mercy and pull the trigger.
I am outraged as a mother, an American and a Human...the fact that I'm also white never even seemed relevant when I started posting and researching other similar cases, and yes, there are other similar cases. In fact, did you know there are modern day lynchings taking place and being passed off as suicides?
We know fear plus ignorance equals hate...and we seem to be completely surrounded by uncertainties that cause fear these days, so the only way to avoid the perpetuation of more hate is through education. People, ALL PEOPLE, need to wake up and realize that these hate crimes are taking place and rarely make the mainstream media. This means there is a clear social responsibility to speak up and speak out.
But who's responsibility is it? As parents, brothers, sisters, students, teachers, and Americans, isn't it every one's? So here's the call to action. I inserted the link to the petition below...but the real call to action is awareness and it's really not just about Trayvon.
Put down the Groupon and Google some articles. Turn off American Idol and talk to people...doing something is better than nothing...doing nothing says so much.
As the world around us changes, and I think it's clear to see that it is, we need to look at some serious issues. The unknowns politically, economically, the angst surrounding sexism, racism and other isms, and of course the global unrest. How are we as individuals dealing and coping with the fear and stress that comes with turmoil? I will dig in next post to how Summit as a community can hedge against whatever is to come. Comments and thoughts are always welcomed.
Girlfriend's account of events leading up to the shooting - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/20/trayvon-martin-final-moments_n_1366697.html
Modern Day Lynchings documentary - http://www.tvfirstlook.com/2012/02/review-injustice-files-at-end-of-rope.html