Justice for Trayvon Martin

Justice for Trayvon
(With my band in Japan, wearing our hoodies for Trayvon and for justice)

 I don't know what is worse - that in 2012, a young, innocent black boy can be pursued and shot to death by a self-righteous, racist, self-proclaimed vigilante, or that, despite the growing evidence, witnesses and public outcry, the police not only fail to arrest the shooter, but even make excuses for him.

It is deeply troubling that parents still have to teach their children - sons especially - that they must be careful, that despite living in "the land of the free," their ethnicity makes them the target not only of racist civilians, but of police officers prone to racial profiling and quick arrests, all to fill the ever-expanding penal facililities being built in the United States  and the bank accounts of the corporations behind them. This blurry intersection of race, prejudice, capitalism and corporate greed makes it very difficult to truly comprehend the depth and depravity of the situation.

Thank goodness that at least in this case, people are standing up, raising their voices, getting together, DOING something. For so long the bodies of black men and women have filled the prisons and morgues with little notice beyond a fatalistic shrug as if to say, "this is the way it is", "this is what it means to be black in America" or "what can we do?"

Trayvon, tragically cut down at barely 17 years old, holding only a pack of skittles and a bottle of iced tea, dressed in his hoodie, has become a symbol of this chronic cancer, a rallying call for those who would fight against injustice.

There was a long tradition of people coming together to protest, to effect change. I often think of The Boondocks episode about Martin Luther King, awakening to the modern world and the nightmare his dream has become. It seems to have been long buried under some awful wave of complacency, the empty hype of BET and reality shows, excessive waste and dwindling talent or intellect.

Now finally, a flame is lit. The Occupy movement against the morally bankrupt 1%, now joined by mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of all races, marching for Trayvon and others like him, unjustly targeted and killed. If we want to live in a world where everyone is truly free and has the same rights, then silence and denial are not the answer. 

Here is an impressive video produced by students at Howard University, demanding justice for Trayvon and for everyone.

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