COMMENTARY: In the Wake of Trayvon Martin’s Death, Black Men Are Still Under Fire

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  • Today marks the second anniversary of Trayvon Martins senseless death. The unarmed teenager was gunned down by security guard/wannabe cop George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012 in Sanford, Florida while walking home from a convenience store.

    Although told to stand down by police after reporting Martin as “suspicious” Zimmerman followed the teen and confrontation ensued. He shot Martin in the heart, saying he felt threatened by a slim, good-natured 17-year-old carrying a bag of Skittles. Acquitted on all charges by a Florida jury, to this day Zimmerman has not expressed one ounce of remorse for the tragic killing. So what have we learned in the two years since Trayvon’s tragic death?

    We have learned that it’s still open season on black men – young and old – as white men are firing on black men for no apparent reason and then using “Stand Your Ground” laws as their sorry defense. Sadly, in some cases, the “Stand Your Ground” law is working. And we have learned that for some whites, black life – and the lives of black males in particular –means absolutely nothing.

    There have been many rallies, vigils, protests and sermons about Trayvon’s death and, no doubt, there will be more. Today, I reflected on a statement by President Barack Obama after he was criticized by some conservatives last year for weighing in on Zimmerman’s acquittal.

    “The death of Trayvon Martin was a tragedy,” Obama said. “Not just for his family, or for any one community, but for America. I know this case has elicited strong passions. And in the wake of the verdict, I know those passions may be running even higher. But we are a nation of laws, and a jury has spoken. I now ask every American to respect the call for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son.”

    “We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to widen the circle of compassion and understanding in our own communities,” Obama said. “We should ask ourselves if we’re doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that claims too many lives across this country on a daily basis. We should ask ourselves, as individuals and as a society, how we can prevent future tragedies like this. As citizens, that’s a job for all of us. That’s the way to honor Trayvon Martin.”

    It’s no secret that Black Americans have always been distrustful of the nation’s racially skewed judicial system.

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