by Gregg Chadwick
As a father I can only imagine the pain of Trayvon Martin's parents. My son is 17, the same age as the teenager Trayvon Martin who was pursued and shot over one month ago in Sanford, Florida by "neighborhood watch" member George Zimmerman, reportedly because Trayvon's hoodie made him look suspicious. My son was accepted into college by my undergrad and graduate alma maters this week and we celebrated over dinner, but we couldn't help but think of Trayvon and his family. In the weeks before his death, Trayvon was planning for college - just a typical junior in high school worrying about his future. A screenshot of Trayvon’s Gmail inbox provided to news sources is heartbreaking. Martin apparently used his Gmail account for his college search, and it’s filled with emails about upcoming SAT tests and scholarship applications. One of the emails reads: “Trayvon, now is the best time to take the SATs!”
|Holiday Photo of Trayvon Martin Provided By His Parents|
Trayvon was a young man, a minor, who was stalked and followed in a vehicle, by an adult who it must have seemed to Trayvon, was intent on abducting him or worse. Trayvon ran from this fit, athletic man in his late 20's, but couldn't outrun a vehicle and a gun. If the minor in question was a 17 year old girl from Utah who was killed while attempting to fight off a pursuer, there would not be a nationwide attempt by extremist sites to label the victim culpable for her own death. Have we as a nation not learned to mourn for our children?
George Zimmerman killed an unarmed minor in cold blood after stalking him and chasing him down. I spoke this week with my 17 year old son about how John F. Timoney , former Miami police chief, Philadelphia police commissioner and deputy police commissioner in New York City wrote how unjust it is under Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, that George Zimmerman has not been charged with a crime in the shooting death of an unarmed minor, even though Trayvon Martin made a 911 call moments before his death seeking the Sanford police's help to stop the gun toting Zimmerman.*
|Vigilante Fighter/Bomber On Display at Sanford/Orlando International Airport|
photo by Brendan Gallagher
One of Trayvon Martin's emails included the results of a career aptitude test which indicated Trayvon's interest in aeronautics. There is a plane displayed at the Sanford/Orlando airport, not far from Trayvon's home, which in a cruel twist of fate is called the Vigilante. Maybe as a society we honor the dusty trope of the gunslinging cowboy too often? Maybe the son of a retired judge is allowed to commit a crime in Sanford, Florida without fear of punishment? Since when is it OK for a 28 year old man to shoot and kill an unarmed minor because he looked threatening?
|Sybrina Fulton, mother of slain teenager Trayvon Martin, spoke |
at the Million Hoodies March on March 21, 2012 in New York City
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
I am heartened, though, that Trayvon's family members have been joined by hundreds of protesters nationwide calling for justice in the murder of Trayvon Martin. The tragic death of Trayvon and the subsequent unwillingness of the Sanford police to protect Trayvon's civil rights is yet another reminder that to some, simply being Black in America is a punishable offense.
Living Colour's version of Springsteen's American Skin (41 Shots) is a heartbreaking song that honors the senseless death of Amadou Diallo at the hands of the NYPD as he reached for his wallet in an attempt to placate a group of undercover cop's demands. More than once, because of this event, I have told my son, "If an officer stops you - Promise me, you always be polite. And that you'll never. never run away. Promise that you'll always keep your hands in sight."
The death of Trayvon Martin has obviously weighed on Bruce Springsteen and his audiences this past week in Tampa, Boston, and Philadelphia. During three consecutive shows, the band played American Skin (41 Shots) and Springsteen released the professionally shot video on his website along with the lyrics to the song. On Wednesday night in Philadelphia, Springsteen dedicated the song with the words, "This is for Trayvon."
The death of any child is an affront to god and humanity.
It will take all of our combined efforts to truly honor the life and memory of Trayvon Martin. Please join us in demanding and working toward justice. When you do, ask your friends and family to do the same, and we'll show the world that we will not be silent in the face of this injustice.
Jasiri X drops new video demanding justice for Trayvon Martin
ColorOfChange joined forces with Kevin Powell (activist, award-winning writer, and The Guardian blogger), Akila Worksongs and MoveOn.org to host an event demanding justice for Trayvon Martin. Here's why House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn was packed: Hip-hop artist & activist Jasiri X performed his powerful track, "A Song for Trayvon," live.
Here are 5 ways you can support justice for Trayvon Martin:
- Download and print a 'Justice for Trayvon' poster for your window or when you attend a local event: http://wearetrayvon.colorofchange.org/resources
- Share the petition on Facebook and on Twitter
- Add your story and photo to the new 'We are Trayvon Martin' site (scroll down the page to tell your story): http://wearetrayvon.colorofchange.org
- Watch hip-hop artist & activist Jasiri X perform his powerful track, 'A Song for Trayvon,' live: http://colorofchange.org/blog/2012/mar/26/jasiri-x-drops-new-video-demanding-justice-trayvon/
- Tell 5 friends to join ColorOfChange by texting 'TRAYVON' to 30644