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Trayvon Martin: What is Black Life Worth in America?

Trayvon Martin

There is no way to sugarcoat it.

Everyone should be upset about this.

This is not an isolated incident. Profiling Black men and boys is as American as NCAA March Madness.

However, this is the real madness: Trayvon Martin is dead simply because he was Black.

As I keep listening to the audio of the 911 calls related to the February 26 shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, it’s disheartening. George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain in a gated community in Sanford, Florida, decided to snuff out Trayvon’s life with a bullet to the chest because he deemed him “suspicious.”

In his 911 call, Zimmerman told the dispatcher that it was a Black male and “he looks like he’s on drugs and up to no good….It’s raining. He’s just walking around, looking about. He just staring looking at all the houses.”
The dispatcher told him not to pursue the person and Zimmerman is recorded saying “These a**holes always get away.”

Zimmerman disregarded those instructions and decided to engage Trayvon. He admitted to police that he shot Trayvon, but claimed it was in self-defense. He has been able to dodge being put behind bars simply by telling the police that he acted in self-defense? His word is that good, huh?

However, if you listen to the 911 calls made by witnesses, you can hear the cries of a young boy just before a gunshot is let off.

The cries went mute…

Florida is one of many states to have passed some form of “Stand Your Ground” law in which self-defense is asserted against a charge of criminal homicide. This Central Florida case has people questioning this “Go-Ahead-Make-My-Day-I-Have-A-License-To-Kill” legislation.

Why does it seem like the Sanford Police has been trying to protect Zimmerman? Why did it take them so long to release the 911 tapes? What made Trayvon suspicious? What made him a threat? If Trayvon was the aggressor and presented danger, why is he crying out for help on the 911 tapes?

Trayvon weighed 140 lbs. He was armed with a bag of Skittles and a can of iced tea while walking back from a nearby 7-Eleven convenience store. He is said to have been wearing a hood on his head because it was drizzling. Are we missing something here?

Trayvon had dreams of being an aviation mechanic. One day he could have been working on Air Force One, or even sitting onboard in the seat of Barack Obama as the next President of the United States. We will never know.

With all we have to deal with, Black men are not even safe in a gated community patrolled by a neighborhood watch leader?

Let’s flip the script: Had Trayvon been the shooter, would he have been given a pass with the self-defense claim? I highly doubt it. No way a Black man could be acting in self-defense, right?

What is Black life worth in America? Less than a dog, because I’ve seen man’s best friend get much better treatment and advocacy than us. This is not race-baiting. This is just a fact.

Ask the families of Emmett Till, Oscar Grant, Troy Davis, Sean Bell, James C. Anderson, Brandon McClelland and Amadou Diallo.

No matter how much people try to shove the concept down our throats, this is not a post-racial America. This broken system of America is a joke to the fullest and could care less about giving justice to the Black people within its borders.

The more I listen to the cries of Trayvon on those 911 tapes, the more I keep thinking about my little nephew Jacobi. He’s one of the most highly intelligent boys you would ever meet. In the photo below, he’s wearing this hood on his head at a Black Male Summit we hosted in Houston last year.

He would be a target of racial profiling if he was dressed like this walking the streets late at night or even just walking into a department store. Yet at that summit his responses to questions during workshops left degreed presenters in suits and ties in awe.

Jacobi could have been Trayvon Martin.

He is Trayvon Martin.

We’re all Trayvon Martin.

I am Trayvon Martin.

***If you would like to join the call for justice in the Trayvon Martin case, sign the online petition. Also a national rally is scheduled to take place on March 26 @ 5pm EST in front of Sanford’s City Hall at 300 N. Park Ave, Sanford, FL.***

Jesse Muhammad is a staff writer for The Final Call newspaper. Follow him on Twitter (@BrotherJesse).

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