Trayvon Martin Five Years Later: On the Desperate Need for Social Mobilization
This past Sunday was the fifth year anniversary of the day child killer George Zimmerman murdered 17 year old Trayvon Martin as he was walking home after leaving a local store. Zimmerman profiled Martin and ignored an order by the police dispatch to stay where he was. The trial and subsequent 'Not Guilty' verdict that resulted has set off a national movement that has gone strong ever since then.
It would be inaccurate to say that it wasn't known before Martin's death that there were still gross injustices rampant within America's criminal injustice system. Different individuals and groups have been attempting to shine a light on state violence for decades post-Civil Rights. One can't predict the events that galvanize a people leading to a movement though. What can be predicted is that people can only be attacked and victimized for so long before social mobilization occurs. Black Lives Matter came out of the aftermath of that disastrous acquittal of the child killer Zimmerman. BLM has shown the power of social media in its ability to mobilize a community to further to cause of justice.
The furtherance of technology not only brings luxury, leisure and convenience - it also brings the ability to mobilize in a way that hasn't been tried before. In many ways, the movement to expose the criminal cover-ups and constitutional violations in our nation is doing what I think it should do and that is not to fight previous battles. Utilizing technology brings new opportunities allowing social media to become truly disruptive over the past five years.
I remember the day exactly when Trayvon Martin became a household name. Like many, I watched the trial thinking there was no way a grown man who stalked a kid who was unarmed and killed him was going to get off. No way...it just wasn't possible. Well I was wrong like many people and my views of the American criminal justice system changed dramatically after that. Subsequent events such as the murder of Mike Brown and the injustice against Kalief Browder caused me to commit to a noble and just cause. It was an awakening to the reality of the steady, consistent and unnatural abnormality of black death in America.
As we remember those who have come and gone, it is most important to think about how they've impacted you, especially if you did not personally know them but know of their story. How were you changed by what happened to Trayvon Martin? Did you shrug your shoulders? If so, why? Did you want to help, but were/are afraid to? May I ask why? I can say for me it wasn't just his murder or even the outcome of the trial, it was how a large swath of America rationalized and defended not only the institution that led a child killer go free - but they rationalized and made a hero out of the killer himself! I don't mean all of America, but certainly a sizable minority.
Black and Intellectual probably wouldn't exist had it not been for the outcome of that trial. The botched case against the killer Zimmerman influenced the rise of the movement for Black lives, that in turn influenced not only my site but others as well and many more yet to be founded. As long as there is injustice, there will be resistance.
Never should we ever fear to mobilize when our lives are at risk. That may sound hyperbolic to some, but if you think about it...our lives and livelihoods are in constant danger. If it's not the water being toxic through failing infrastructure or an oil leak, it's the fear that with the wrong move or general miscommunication you may end up dead...for absolutely nothing. While you're being buried with all of your dreams, wishes and aspirations dashed, the person who killed you is being protected and in some circles is being called a hero and there are many people who do not see what's grossly wrong about that.
If that doesn't mobilize you in some way, shape or form...then I don't know what the hell will. I'm reminded of the "burning house" meme...
It should never have required open fascism in America to mobilize our society. However here we are and here we will stay.