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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Time to Demand Justice

Commentary: Trayvon Martin case underscores parents' need to demand justice
The Journal News  -  OPINION  -  March 26, 2012

Trayvon Martin, 17, was shot to death Feb. 26 by a neighborhood watch leader in Sanford, a small, gated Florida community. Martin left his father’s home to buy candy and iced tea for his little brother at a nearby 7-Eleven. The young black man was walking back — wearing a hoodie in the rain — when George Zimmerman spotted him and called police to report a “suspicious person.” Against the advice of the 911 dispatcher, Zimmerman followed Martin. Zimmerman told the Sanford police that he shot the teen in self-defense because he was fearful for his life, in accordance with Florida’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law.  The case has stirred demonstrations, with marchers wearing hoodies, carrying bags of Skittles and cans of ice tea, as Martin was when he was killed; probes into local police inaction and botched investigation in the face of a deadly shooting; and examinations of the relationship between young black men and law enforcement.  “I’ve always let him know we as African Americans get stereotyped,” Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s mother, told USA Today. “I told him that society is cruel.”  This is a parent’s worst nightmare: Your child fails to return home and you find out from law enforcement it is because he has been gunned down allegedly by the local neighborhood watch vigilante. To compound matters, you listen helplessly as he cries out for help on a 911 call seconds before the shooting. This is the reality for the parents of Trayvon Martin.  Martin’s only “crime” was walking while black in Sanford, Fla. And that was enough to cost him his life.  The truth of the matter is Martin has had a target on his back since he came into the world. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, black men die at a rate that is at least 1.5 times the rate of young white and Hispanic men, and almost three times the rate of young Asian men. For young black men, the leading cause of death is homicide.  In our society, there are very few choices for many black men and boys. It’s either prison, where they represent more than 40 percent of inmates, or the cemetery. And those who do manage to dodge the prison or the morgue are often treated as rare specimens or idolized, like President Barack Obama.

Wake-up call

The media don’t help matters. The portrayal of black men as violent criminals, thugs and vagrants paves the way for acts such as the one perpetrated against Martin. The shooting of Martin should be a wake-up call to our collective moral consciousness. It is not OK to criminalize and demonize children.  The person who killed Martin should be arrested and charged. It’s appalling that this hasn’t happened in the three weeks since the shooting.  We must rise up as parents, concerned citizens and moral communities. We must insist upon justice, regardless of race or background. And we must offer all American children the opportunity to reach their full potential.  The writer is an assistant research professor and the executive director of the Women of Color Policy Network at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.


Anonymous said...

Demanding justice goes beyond black and white. It's more about insiders and outsiders, the connected and the unconnected. Justice is sadly gone in this country.

Anonymous said...

The time for justice is gone. Too much damage has been done. I'm just waiting for the revolution.

Anonymous said...

All the redneck bigots went ot Florida...hope this family gets JUSTICE!

Anonymous said...

The bigger problem with all this is the fact that the police just decided to ignore the crime. They released Zimmerman and did no investigation either when the crime was committed or at anytime after. It wasn't until the family went to the media that anything was done. And then, it wasn't the police department, but every other agency.

The reason Zimmerman got off to begin with probably has a lot to do with his connections. His father was a Magistrate Judge in the Supreme Court in VA and his mother worked for the courts.

This is the same nonsense that goes on in NY. The courts are involved in the corruption that goes on, and they too, just ignore it. Eventually, the victims have to move on, and they know this. This is why they get away with it.

Let's see if anyone actually looks into what they are doing in this case in FL. Ignoring the crime, covering it up, and releasing bits of disparaging information on this child. All those school records that are being released are protected under the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act. It will be interesting to see if whoever is releasing those records in violation of Federal Law gets prosecuted.

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

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               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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