Endangered Species

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford

Trayvon Martin Protest - Sanford (Photo credit: werthmedia)

I didn’t know this kid, Trayvon Martin. I just began to see his name pop up in my Outlook inbox, on Facebook, hashtags on Twitter, and I began to hear his name pop up in conversations.

Then everywhere I looked, people were wearing hoodies and getting photographed with bags of Skittles.  Then the local news picked up on the story. The cry for justice was unmistakable.

Then i got an e-mail from The Color of Change. This is a social justice organization that I believe has a finger on the pulse of political change from a cultural perspective. So I got involved. After all, I’m the mother of a male child and I grieve every time I hear about another young person killed by senseless violence. He was only 17 years old.

Bullying, drug abuse, alcoholism, suicide, rape, torture, human trafficing, botched abortions, child abuse, domestic violence, innocent bystanders: teenagers are an endangered species. But I was naive about the whole thing until I heard about Trayvon Martin.

I thought we had moved past the point of wearing fear like a bathroom, putting it on every morning before we brush our teeth or use the restroom. As soon as our feet hit the floor, we mothers are especially assaulted  with violence of every kind. The societal response to Trayvon’s killing symbolizes that threat. A black child is “suspicious” and still not able to walk the streets safely. A black child is still an endangered species.

The so-called Don’t Back Down laws are on the books in the state of Indiana. Recently, a Kroger grocery store employee shot a robber who came in the store. The employee felt threatened and opened fire. There is hope, though. There is always hope.

What do we do? What can we do? Well, I’m a poet, a thinker, an observer. So I will write to cope with my grief for this young man gunned down because a neighborhood watch ‘guard’ felt threatened. Then the local police department botches the investigation. At least the chief of police had the decency to step aside while the DOJ does its investigation.

A letter writing campaign spearheaded by The Color of Change called for an investigation by the Department of Justice into the police investigation and this call has been answered. It’s a start, but it’s not the end of this. . .or it shouldn’t be.  Here’s the text from the COC website:

“Three weeks ago, 17-year old Trayvon Martin was gunned down by self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman. Despite Zimmerman admitting to following, confronting, and killing Trayvon, he has yet to be arrested or charged with any crime.1

Just minutes before Trayvon was killed, Zimmerman had called police stating that Trayvon looked “suspicious.” Trayvon was unarmed and walking back to his father’s home in Sanford, Florida when Zimmerman accosted him.

At the crime scene, Sanford police botched their questioning of Zimmerman, refused to take the full statements of witnesses, and pressured neighbors to side with the shooter’s claim of self-defense.2 As it turns out, Sanford’s police department has a history of failing to hold perpetrators accountable for violent acts against Black victims, and the police misconduct in Trayvon’s case exemplifies the department’s systemic mishandling of such investigations.3 And now, the State Attorney’s office has rubber-stamped the Sanford police’s non-investigation, claiming that there is not enough evidence to support even a manslaughter conviction.4

Trayvon’s family and hundreds of thousands of people around the country are demanding justice.5 Please join us in calling on the Department of Justice to take over the case, arrest Trayvon’s killer, and launch an independent investigation into the Sanford police department’s unwillingness to protect Trayvon’s civil rights. It takes just a moment:”

http://act.colorofchange.org/sign/Trayvon

Grace & Peace

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2 Responses to “Endangered Species”

  1. “Writin’ is fightin’.” (Ishmael Reed)
    Keep up the good fight for justice!

  2. […] Endangered Species (peace4diane.wordpress.com) […]

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