Saturday, March 31, 2012

Justice for Trayvon Martin

Justice: a highly demanded tiny seven letter noun with so many meanings at this point in time. Justice is often defined as the quality of being just or righteous. It is a moral principle that determines just conduct. A principle we as humans must conform and manifest in order to administer deserved punishment or reward when dealing with equitable treatment of others.
I've remained silent on the issues revolving the Trayvon Martin case for quite some time now for many reasons. I often find it difficult to write about situations that strike close to home as it makes it difficult to maintain a neutral journalistic standpoint. However I decided a long time ago that silence enabled injustice and now in a demoralizing time such as this speaking up is necessary. Everyone who knows me well knows that my two younger brothers mean more than the world to me. They are the two people I hold closest and dearest to my heart, therefore myself and many others can not only relate to the fear that has struck many hearts, we possess the empathetic connection that: MY SON, MY UNCLE, MY FATHER, MY COUSIN, MY FRIEND, MY BROTHERS... COULD BE THE NEXT TARGETS.
At the surface of the issue many would deem this as another "racial war" that African Americans are trying make into more than what it really is. People die every day, homicides are committed every day so why choose this case to magnify and closely monitor. Why create shirts, and FaceBook posts, why go on countless marches when young people, old people, all kinds of people die every day. And while I understand that ignorance is bliss for many we must take the time to truly realize that at this point racial profiling is just the surface of the Trayvon Martin tragedy. We live in a country that is a super power, a force to be reckoned with, a nation that boasts of unity, strength, and freedom. Yet it seems at this current moment "liberty and justice for all" is being loosely interpreted to fit the needs of some instead of all. Personally I am not surprised by the outcome based solely off of the grossly slanted statistics we as a nation possess in regards to incarceration rates. Are we to assume that African American males are always in the wrong place wrong time? Or that there are targets on their backs from the moment they enter puberty?
Stereotypes are consistently incorporated into our daily interaction so greatly that we may not even notice. It becomes a major issue when these stereotypes cause a young male to lose his life. Though we may not be born with the mentality that : "blacks look like this" and "whites speak like that" we are conditioned into these beliefs on a daily basis with what we see portrayed in the media. We often mask the severity of the preconceived judgements we possess behind humor, but that truth of the matter is the images we see, the music we hear, and the jokes we make are all apart of this problem. Why? Because as long as there are people like Zimmerman who internalize these preconceived notions as their reality we will continue to have a repeat of mankind taking the laws into their own hands. No "hooded" person whether black, white, or hispanic should be deemed as a threat until they pose a threat. As a young petite female I must admit that I have been guilty of taking precautions that I have deemed as necessary. However there is a major difference between locking the doors, and crossing the street in comparison to shooting someone who seems suspicious to me. Taking caution and taking action are two completely different options and clearly Zimmerman made the wrong choice.
At the end of the day I think we need to look at this case clearly as what it truly is. A seventeen year old boy was killed in cold blood for doing nothing that warranted losing his life. I've read the stories, I've heard arguments from all sides but at the end of the day the fact remains that: a an unarmed boy was killed, we know who killed him, and he must be brought to justice. Every other asset of this situation may be discussed until kingdom come but that will not change the fact that what he did was undoubtedly wrong.
I understand that some may feel that they are tired of hearing about this case, or there are other important things we as a nation can be focusing on, or there are more developing news stories we should take notice of on a daily basis. I truly hope that you understand this as well: awareness is the first key to change and without it we will continue to study tragedies within our history because we did too little too late. Remaining silent, turning your back, or making a joke out of the situation is not only a huge disservice to the memory of Trayvon Martin, it is an act of injustice to those who have fallen victim to the lack of awareness in the past. People who think "this doesn't affect me" or "this has nothing to do with me" place one more building block into the recreation of slavery, holocausts, genocides, school massacres. We've seen the repetition of history occur time after time... and it's just about time that we stop.


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