The Black man is undeniably the most imitated, mocked and feared person in America. Far too often, this fear leads him to become a victim of irrational acts of violent injustice. Take the murder of Sean Bell, for instance. Or Danroy Henry, a Pace University student athlete who was also shot and killed by a police officer. Now, seventeen year-old Trayvon Martin has joined this list.
Trayvon was pursued by his neighbor George Zimmerman as he walked to the store; something about the teenager had apparently aroused suspicion in the captain of the neighborhood watch in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman called the authorities to report that Trayvon looked “real suspicious” and disregarded the operator’s instructions not to follow the teenager. A brawl ensued between an unarmed Trayvon and Zimmerman, who was carrying a 9mm handgun. During this struggle, Trayvon Martin was shot and killed. To add insult to injury, George Zimmerman has not been charged with a crime or even taken into custody.
At the risk of sounding like an angry Black woman, I want to go ahead and say that I am infuriated by this whole story. What gives anybody the right to hunt down an innocent person? And what gives them the right to then draw their weapon and fire? What message does that send to our young Black men? Your life is so worthless that we will allow you to be shot down in the street like a dog, and your murderer will walk away from his crime unpunished. Actually, let me correct myself, because people go to jail for killing dogs.
There is a great population of Black men who are extremely successful, and I’m not discounting them. But scenes like the one that took place in Sanford on February 27 occur far too often. Once is one time too many, and these modern-day lynchings are crushing and humiliating not only for the families of these victims, but for people of color all over our country and even our world. We simply cannot afford to continue to shake our heads and go on with our lives as if we are not affected. Trayvon Martin could very well be any one of us.
Click this link to sign the petition for George Zimmerman’s arrest!