I will remember Trayvon

Travyon MartinSometimes I’m quick to react and speak my mind about things going on in the world. Sometimes my thoughts are immediately clear and concise and I’m able to express them intelligently. Those are the times when I can pop off a quick Facebook status or an impromptu blog post. But sometimes when my emotions are running high, there are so many trains leaving the station that I can’t get the schedule straight and it takes me a few days to process all of my thoughts. George Zimmerman’s “not guilty” verdict and everything else surrounding him and Trayvon Martin fall into the latter category.

I’d like to say I was surprised, but I wasn’t. What did strike me was the racism (or just plain ignorance of white privilege) coming from people I thought I knew. If your first thought at the outcry from a 17-year-old black kid being killed is “hey, why aren’t we all talking about this 12-year-old white girl who was killed?” you’re clueless.

I have seen post after post about Autumn Pasquale, about how she was brutally murdered by two black kids because they wanted her bike, and about how nobody remembers her. Here’s the fundamental difference between Autumn Pasquale and Trayvon Martin — In less than 3 full days, Autumn Pasquale’s killers were arrested; it took over a month and a half for George Zimmerman to be arrested . . . and it only happened because of the public outcry. Autumn Pasquale’s death was unnecessary and tragic and my heart goes out to her parents as much as it does for Trayvon’s, but Autumn Pasquale did not need a public outcry for the authorities to seek justice in her case. If you can’t understand the difference there, I can’t help you.

But really, that’s all beside the point. We don’t need to compare separate cases, separate travesties to understand that a boy was murdered . . . . or to understand that race has definitely been a factor. There are only two people who know exactly what happened that night and one of them is not here to defend himself. One of them is not here to say he stood his ground and fought back against a man who was following him.

People can continue to bitch about how this case received so much attention when there are countless other murders every day that go unnoticed, but what does it help to ignore this one as well? We need names and faces. We need the slap in the face to see what is going on . . . because we need to learn from this.

Regardless of whether you believe Trayvon Martin’s murder was racially motivated, the reactions afterwards should be more than enough to show the rampant racism running through our country. Because I have no doubt in my mind that had he been white, George Zimmerman’s verdict would have been different. I have no doubt in my mind that had he been white, there would have been no shouts of “he deserved it because he was just a thug” . . . . because a white kid who smokes pot and wears a hoodie does not equal “thug”. I have no doubt in my mind that had Trayvon been white, there would have been no need for a public outcry.

We need wake up. We need care. We need to want to make it different. And to that end, I hope we never forget Trayvon Martin. I hope his name and his face are forever engraved in our minds.


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