Wednesday, February 27, 2013

One Year Anniversary of Trayvon Martin's Death

Trayvon Martin (Source: Ebony)
Yesterday, was the first anniversary of Trayvon Martin's murder. Our modern day Emmit Till, was shot by George Zimmerman on his way back home from a trip to a local convenient store because he was black (in a not so black neighborhood), outfitted in a hoodie, and, therefore, was deemed "suspicious" by the assailant.  Zimmerman's defense is based on the Stand Your Ground law, which basically says individuals have the right to self defense (even murder) when they are in a threatening situation. In reality Trayvon was only armed only with a bag of Skittles and an Arizona Iced Tea. One year later Trayvon's death brings few changes to self-defense laws. (Also, check out 5 things to know about the George Zimmerman-Trayvon Martin saga.)

Last year I was at the rally in Union Square, thinking that closure would soon follow. Throngs of people attended, arriving early to engage in dialogue about the senseless murders of black and Latino youth by racists. Tears were flowing hugs were shared, candles were lit, and signs for justice held high. Everyone was outraged, not only at the rally, but around the world. This senseless tragedy sparked the creativity of many artists who used their respective mediums (canvas, canvas, and more canvas, spoken word, and music) to make sure this story would never be forgotten. (Check out my friend's tribute on YouTube.)

While Trayvon, and many others like him had gone to heaven, the living found solace knowing that we all were aware of these injustices and we weren't going to accept this behavior as normal.
Me and friends at the Trayvon Martin Rally in Union Square in 2012
However, a year later Trayvon Martin's parents held a hoodie vigil on the anniversary of his death and the energy was different. Not many people attended. And those that were there weren't 100% focused. People were talking during the prayer and moment of silence, being disrespectful. I was particularly angry at a group of people behind me who complained about the fact that it might rain and how they wanted people to lower their signs to see Jaime Foxx's face. I had to check them about why we were out there in the first place. So there I was in Union Square, one year later, more outraged and angrier than even ever not only about the rate justice was being served, but also about the attitudes of "brothers and sister" who were supposedly down for the cause. This did not sour my evening completely since I did have the opportunity to meet and speak with some great people. (Side note: I sure was glad Occupy didn't take over this year!)   
Me and friends at the Trayvon Martin Rally in Union Square in 2013
I can only hope justice prevails in this case. Hopefully Trayvon's parents and loved ones will get closure by this time next year and we will get better legislation to prevent tragedies like this from happening again. Until then...
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Hoodies up!

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