“If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” – Barack Obama.
Is it me or is the senseless murder of young black men at an all time high?! I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. At this very moment, we are Trayvon Martin. We are Sean Bell. We are Oscar Grant. Me. You. Everybody.
What has society come to?! A 17 year old, young man by the name of Trayvon Martin was shot to death on February 26 by Zimmerman, the self appointed captain of a neighborhood watch committee in Sanford, Florida. Unarmed, wearing a hoodie, baggie pants and sneakers and black, is that all it takes to look threatening?! As people, we have to do better, be better. Is anything even remotely shocking anymore?! Or have we become so desensitized by this constant barrage of the same bad news that we have become numb to everything?! I kept asking myself: “Do I want to write this article? What can I say what hasn’t been said yet?” And my friends response: “I understand what you’re saying, but think about it like this. There are still people who don’t know that this is going on right now.” So I am writing this for Martin, Bell, Mumia, Grant and the countless of innocent lives that have been snatched away too soon that don’t get the national attention that it deserves. Because you can believe there are a greater amount of murders that do not even get half the national attention as the names that have been submitted to the press outlets.
“Too many mistakes be happening to black folks.” Redman stated this on his 1996 record “What U Looking 4” a song that detailed his frustration with the racial profiling by police that takes place in urban neighborhoods everyday . What happened to the young brother Martin was a senseless act of violence. And in this climate you can’t help but pose the question, was it because he was black? I can’t point to anything else. Martin was followed, Zimmerman complained and felt that he was a threat, but a threat to who exactly? Skittles, Ice Tea and a phone were found in his pocket. And he screamed for help until he was shot in the chest. What’s sickening is that this happens all the time but because there is currently evidence that points to Zimmerman being guilty, the justice department and FBI are involved.
The detailed last phone conversations from the girl… That details of the last moment’s of his life. The girl told him to run but he didn’t want to, he wasn’t going to… Imagine being 17 and having to run from your own life, asking someone, “What are you following me for?” I don’t know how disturbing this can get anymore. Why would anyone at 17 have to fear for his life?! Zimmerman said Martin looked high and suspicious and walking around slowly. I can’t shake the fact that wearing a hoodie, being black, baggie jeans is what constitutes for looking suspicious. Or is it just enough? Why should I have to tell my friends to be careful everytime they’re stepping foot out of the house so I won’t have to hear it on the news that they’ve gotten shot. Or don’t reach for the pockets because they’re going to suspect that you have a weapon. Or when the cops follow my friends home. And this is all for being black.
I see TrayVon in everyone of my peers. I ask: are marches, movements, articles that people write even enough anymore?! What can we do as a society to prevent this from happening again to the next person? What are we showing our children?! What do we teach our sons? Do we tell our son’s that even before they become of a legal age, they’re going to be labeled as a threat to society? How can one raise them to be the opposite? We don’t even know what “the opposite” is?! Does anyone remember Oscar Grant? It was only a few years ago. Footage was caught on camera and his shooter got away. Cold Blooded Murder. How can we possibly handle the injustices of our system?! These are questions that I often ask myself. And I’m tired of the bullshit. In the spirit of the late TrayVon and to the participants who stood together in his honor at the million hoodies march in New York, I feel proud that we are coming together and standing strong against police brutality. We’ve been beaten and scarred for too long. We’ve come too far. I pray that TrayVon’s death is not in vain, but the tipping point for a wake up call. As sad as this may seem, it’s a harsh reality, this could’ve easily been anyone of us.
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