The message that was sent last night is that a young Black boy coming home from the store with tea and candy can be watched, followed, stalked, and murdered and he doesn’t deserve justice, that his body is expendable. What do we do now? Where do we go from here? I don’t ask that question in a defeatist tone, I really want to know where we go now. How do we take this event, our history, and the things that continue to happen to us in this country and make a statement loud enough so the world hears us and joins in too? I’m not interested in what Julia Hare has described as leading Blacks who say what they think we want to hear because the money is right. I want to scare the politicians so badly that they get off their asses and actually make the change that we hired them to do. I want to scare the lawmakers so badly that they actually create laws that protect every citizen in this country regardless of race and they uphold the laws equally and justly. I want those in power who claim to be Christians to actually start acting like it. You know what scares them more than anything? What scares them is losing money, their businesses crumbling because the very people they want to oppress aren’t there to keep them functioning with their dollars. What scares them is losing their positions of political power.
From where I sit, the scales of justice are unbalanced; the blinders are put on when it suits the system and our young men and women suffer the most. Trayvon Martin was a child, he could have been anyone’s child, brother, or friend. His life is gone because someone decided that they were judge, jury, and executioner. Like Emmett Till, Oscar Grant, Jordan Davis and countless other young black boys/men in this country the color of his skin made him a target to someone who saw him as something other than a fellow human being. The sorrow that we feel is nothing compared to the pain and sorrow that his mother, father, brother, and countless other family members feel, but we share in their grief and we share in their disappointment. There is a sense of anger and despair among us, but as we always have in our community, we use those emotions to galvanize movements, to scream at the top of our lungs to be heard, to fight for the right to exist peacefully in a country that our ancestors and we continue to help build. People have taken to the streets in peaceful protest, people are signing petitions for the DOJ to file civil rights violation charges against the callous and poor excuse for a man and the even poorer excuse for a human being who took it upon himself with no legal authority to police a young man’s existence because he felt like he didn’t belong in the same space as him. However you choose to do it, speak up and make your voice heard in the name of Trayvon and the Black boys/men who came before him and will probably unfortunately suffer the same kinds of fates after him. Speak up for Jordan Davis who was killed in November of the same year as Trayvon while sitting in a car at a gas station. Speak out against a justice system that doesn’t treat Black people equally whether they are the perpetrator or the victims. Use your words, your voice to get the message out that we are not expendable, that our Black men and boys are good for more than just incarceration and target practice.
“We live in a world which respects power above all things. Power, intelligently directed, can lead to more freedom. Unwisely directed, it can be a dreadful, destructive force.” -Mary McLeod Bethune