By now I hope you have heard of Trayvon Martin and the injustice he and his family are facing. Just in case you haven’t, here’s what happened last month that has caused so many of us to stand up and fight for justice to be served:
George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain, saw a young man, carrying an iced tea and a bag of Skittles, slowly walking home, wearing a hoodie. It was raining. Zimmerman decided that wearing a hoodie while it was raining and walking home in the 7pm hour was ”suspicious,” so he called 911 to report him. The 911 operator told Zimmerman to NOT follow him. Zimmerman disregarded that command and followed the 17 year old anyway, even though he was told that police were on their way. Zimmerman got out of his truck and claims that an altercation ensued. Zimmerman then fatally shot Trayvon Martin in the chest. Trayvon had NO weapon, he had done NOTHING wrong, and was approached by a stranger driving a truck, a large man carrying a 9mm pistol.
More information has been released since this tragic incident. Think Progress has provided a list of facts; here are just a few of them below:
1. Zimmerman called the police to report Martin’s “suspicious” behavior, which he described as “just walking around looking about.” Zimmerman was in his car when he saw Martin walking on the street. He called the police and said: “There’s a real suspicious guy. This guy looks like he’s up to no good, on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around looking about… These a**holes always get away”
2. Martin’s English teacher described him as “as an A and B student who majored in cheerfulness.”
3. According to neighbors, Zimmerman was “fixated on crime and focused on young, black males.”
4. Three witnesses say they heard a boy cry for help before a shot was fired. “Three witnesses contacted by The Miami Herald say they saw or heard the moments before and after the Miami Gardens teenager’s killing. All three said they heard the last howl for help from a despondent boy.”
5. The officer in charge of the crime scene also received criticism in 2010 when he initially failed to arrest a lieutenant’s son who was videotaped attacking a homeless black man.
6. The police did not test Zimmerman for drugs or alcohol. A law enforcement expert told ABC that Zimmerman sounds intoxicated on the 911 tapes. Drug and alcohol testing is “standard procedure in most homicide investigations.”
7. In a cell phone call moments before his death, Martin told a teenage girl that he was “hounded by a strange man on a cellphone who ran after him, cornered him and confronted him.” “‘He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man,’ Martin’s friend said. ‘I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run.’ Eventually he would run, said the girl, thinking that he’d managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin. ‘Trayvon said, ‘What, are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’”
This incident happened last month and Zimmerman has not been arrested. When the story first broke, there were reports that he wasn’t arrested because he acted in self-defense AND had a “clean background,” but being arrested in 2005 for resisting arrest and battery of a police officer would suggest otherwise.
Many want to shy away from whether or not Zimmerman not being arrested has anything to do with race. I’m going to keep it 100% real. Had Zimmerman been a black man and Trayvon a white 17 year old boy, there is no doubt Zimmerman would be in jail right now; regardless if he claimed self-defense or not. Far too often when it comes to black males, they are guilty until proven innocent. Black people, especially males in this country are treated as if they are dispensable.
I was watching the news this morning and a friend of Zimmerman discussed how many people were on edge recently due to a number of burglaries in the neighborhood by young black teenage boys. Being on edge is one thing and understandable, however that does not give someone the right to follow a black teenager and shoot him. All black teenagers are not thugs looking to cause trouble (another stereotype our black boys face in this country).
Britini Danielle from Clutch Magazine has suggested three ways we can help get justice for Trayvon Martin:
Hit the tweets: Urge celebrities to sign and share the petition to get Florida officials to arrest and prosecute George Zimmerman. They have millions of followers and can quickly spread the word. Don’t forget to sign the petition too!
•Tweet: Pls sign & RT the petition to bring #TrayvonMartin’s killer 2 justice. His family deserves answers http://chn.ge/xc4oze
Write a letter: Many around the web have decided to start a letter writing campaign, and some have even said they will send empty Skittles wrappers to Chef Bill Lee. Send a letter to Sanford police chef Bill Lee to express your concern about his department’s handling of the case.
•Bill Lee, Chief of Police
Sanford Police Station.
815 West 13th Street.
Sanford, Fl 32771.
Bill.Lee@sanfordfl.gov; 407.688.5070 – Office; 407.688.5071 – Fax
Stay informed: Knowing the facts and educating others about them is key to continuing to spread the word about Trayvon Martin. Visit www.JusticeforTrayvon.com for more details.
I hope you will join in demanding justice for Trayvon Martin. I pray for him, his family and black men in this country. Even in 2012, some things still haven’t changed…