President, National Action Network
Two weeks after the inexcusable death of young Trayvon Martin, I received a call from the attorney representing the Martin family, Benjamin Crump. It was a plea for assistance as the person responsible for the 17-year-old’s death was walking around freely as if nothing had happened. George Zimmerman wasn’t arrested that fateful night. George Zimmerman wasn’t arrested the next day. George Zimmerman, in fact, wasn’t arrested for over 40 days after killing a teenager. It was only because of a rallying cry for justice that the Sanford police department had to do its job and place handcuffs around Zimmerman. It was only after tens of thousands marched and protested that a special prosecutor was assigned to the case, who then brought charges that they failed to bring. And it was only then that this case finally went to trial. After this weekend’s atrocious verdict, some are acting as if a trial was automatic from the beginning. Let’s not have amnesia. Grassroots activism and mobilization for truth are the only reason why we even know the names Trayvon and Zimmerman. And they will once again be the reason why we take the fight to a federal level. The jury’s decision has left us with an atrocity and a disgrace to any American who believes in freedom, equality and justice. Interfering with the right of a person to walk home having committed no crime or trespassing is an outrageous travesty and a violation of that person’s civil liberties. Trayvon Martin had a civil right to go home that night. He never made it to his destination because of the actions of one man, and one man alone who was not a member of law enforcement and had no authority to disrupt his right of movement.
Continue reading ““We Lost the Battle, But the War’s Far From Over””