Like millions of people across the country, I was very saddened when I learned a Florida jury had found George Zimmerman not guilty of murder nor manslaughter for shooting and killing Trayvon Martin. I thought about how I, as a white mama, never have to think about preparing my sons to walk or drive in a world that repeatedly demonstrates it places less value on the lives and actions of people of color–and that “never have to think” is just one example of the white privilege I live and breathe and which they inherited unearned at birth. Though racism has so many facets, a parent’s need to gird their child to face and survive racism has always seemed like one of the most piercing forms. I want to share with you Tim Wise’s powerful piece “No Innocence Left to Kill: Racism, Injustice and Explaining America to My Daughter.”
“If Trayvon Martin had been born white he would be alive today. That has been established beyond all reasonable doubt. If he had been white, he never would have been stalked by Zimmerman, there would have been no fight, no funeral, no trial, no verdict. It is the Zimmerman mindset that must be found guilty – far more than the man himself. It is a mindset that views black men and boys as nothing but a threat, good for nothing, up to no good no matter who they are or what they are doing. It is the Zimmerman mindset that has birthed a penal system unprecedented in world history, and relegated millions to a permanent undercaste. Trayvon, you will not be forgotten. We will honor you – and the millions your memory represents – by building a movement that makes America what it must become. RIP”
Two other pieces well worth reading:
3 things you can do:
- Sign on to the NAACP’s petition to the Department of Justice asking for federal charges, including civil rights charges, to be filed against George Zimmerman at naacp.org/The-DOJ-Petition
- Educate yourself about the NAACP’s set of policy principles called “Trayvon’s Law” which embody legislative responses that will greatly reduce the likelihood of another tragedy like the killing of Trayvon Martin.
- Go to http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/ and download their “Justice for Trayvon Action Kit” which includes posters, links, suggestions for conversations, and specific actions you can take.