Tuesday, August 20, 2013

It's bigger than Trayvon

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

We are all Trayvon. As the African-American community laments the death of the 17-year-old Floridian who was mercilessly gunned down by George Zimmerman, we must ask ourselves this simple question: Who's next?

You see, the earlier demonstrations and recent publicity that this young man's tragic death inspired amounts to nothing more than what it is at face value: a demonstration. An outpouring of outrage and disdain for those who have empathy for the plight of another Black family torn asunder by the ruthless hand of injustice.

This is not to say that these demonstrations didn't work. After all, there never would have even been a trial if it were not for this public outcry. However, we are all Trayvon is simply a catch phrase that is used to describe one of the bitter facts of life that has existed since Africans arrived on this continent: It is dangerous to merely exist as a Black man in America. But coming to terms with this harsh reality is only the first step in the long journey to freedom.



Saying 'I am Trayvon' means that you acknowledge your vulnerability in this society. Essentially, it is a call to solidarity. But what comes next. How does one change their position in this society? The only choice we have is to fight to survive. Does anyone remember Oscar Grant III who was killed, while in handcuffs, by an Oakland police officer in 2009? How about Latasha Harlins, the 15-year-old girl who was killed because she was "suspected" of stealing?

The truth is that the value of a Black life in america is very cheap. Almost 30 Black men and women have been slain by the police or security since January of 2012. And you can bet your bottom dollar that, acquittal after acquittal, each of these perpetrators will go free.



After the song and dance is over; after Trayvon's story fades from our television sets, magazines and newsstands; after the media returns to business as usual; let us commemorate his life and be constantly reminded of his tragic death.

Let this senseless murder be a lesson to those who merrily drive to their 9 to 5, come home to their wife and kids, pet their dog and continue life without a second thought about Trayvon. If you're Black, you're under attack.....Ad infinitum.

We must understand that this situation is bigger than Trayvon. Realize what you are dealing with: a system which is perpetuated by systematic oppression. No system can be toppled by isolated demonstrations caused by isolated events. If you are Trayvon, do what Trayvon wished he could have done: fight against injustice. In order to put an end to this gross injustice, we must make a stand each and every time we witness injustice.