Point of View // 07.17.2013

Justice for Trayvon and Those Before Him

Article by Abena

Did Trayvon Martin die in vain?

The young men and women activists who have united to form the Black Youth Project (United States-based)  say he did not.  In the video below, they give a powerful speech declaring their pursuit of justice and a promise to action.

As I listened, I wrote down the lines that stood out to me. Beneath them are my thoughts related to each point as I struggle to make sense of what happened but more importantly, what to do about this disregard for life we are seeing played out again and again.

“Trayvon did not die in vain; His death will serve as a catalyst for a new movement where justice will prevails.”

What does this movement look like now in 2013 and for the next 10-15 years? Z ( not writing his full name) got away with murdering a child partially due to Florida “Stand Your Ground” Law that the jurors decided would work in his favor.

How can you in your small town, you in your multi-cultural suburban neighborhood, you in the inner-city, you on the “white side of town” and I in my pleasant, multi-racial and ethnic and mostly conservative Canadian city, be part of this revolution?

BYP has a call to action page. Here are some of the actions they suggest people take.

“We need to turn anger into action and pain into power. “

Travyon’s parents have set up a non-profit organization in their son’s name. The mission of the Trayvon Martin Foundation is to:

” advocate that crime victims and their families not be ignored in the discussions about violent crime, to increase public awareness of all forms of racial, ethnic and gender profiling, educate youth on conflict resolution techniques, and to reduce the incidences where confrontations between strangers turn deadly.”

Education youth on conflict-resolution techniques is a good practical place to start. What about adults? Is it too late for us to learn these techniques? Clearly we need it as we are passing down the violence and disdain for others to the children.

What else is being done? |What kind of action needs to be taken for Trayvon and for the others? Marissa Alexander, a mother of three children from Florida has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for firing a warning shot to scare her husband who she felt was threatening her. 20 YEARS of this woman’s life LOCKED UP.  It’s disgusting. It acutally makes me feel sick. Read about Marissa here.

“We have to recognize our own value”

In this case it wasn’t about Black people recognizing our value- this was an inncent teenager walking home.  it was G. who saw Trayvon as a suspicious “other” and decided that he had little to no value.

Thankfully but sadly, while it’s too late for Trayvon,  many civilized and compassionate people black white and in-between are standing up for him and his family, recognizing his immense value as a human being period. But what about when the next case gets to court convicting a innocent Black person of being threatening and suspicious? Who will recognize their value then?  Who will recognize their value before they pull the trigger?

Details of TM’s case aside, we must recognize our own value, it’s true. This will assist us in rising to greater heights, spiritually, socially, economically and as a community.  Recognizing our value will also be reflected in the image we portray to others. How people see is isn’t the primary concern but it’s a positive result of having more respect for ourselves and produces children who have respect for themselves and make choices that lead to life and growth rather than death and destruction.

We also need to recognize the value in others.  some of us are not Trayvon, we are Z; we need to start seeing the pedestals we stand on, and observing the glasses through which we see life and people whom we consider less than and separate from us.

“There is hope as long as love endures. “

I believe love is the only thing we haven’t seriously considered on a wide-scale. A serious kind of love is required AS action-  detailed in the list above from BYP and that which is in the planning stages- is taken.

What do you think of these point? What does justice and revolution look like today?

Here is the video:


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