February 24, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
Trayvon MartinThe struggle for justice for Trayvon Martin is at a critical juncture. The trial of Trayvon’s killer is scheduled for June, but there is a real danger that the system will use Florida’s outrageous “Stand Your Ground” law to let Zimmerman go free. In the context of a system that stands in large part on white supremacy, “Stand Your Ground”-type laws that have been passed in more than half the states are basically lynching-enabling laws. They are unjust and illegitimate. The Florida law says a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if “He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.”
On February 26, it is critical that people act! Take pictures of yourself and others wearing hoodies and acting to say NO MORE and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com.
Trayvon’s murder touched the hearts of millions of people because it concentrated the way this system has put a bulls-eye on the backs of our youth. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in cities across the country and wore hoodies. Students from colleges throughout the South flowed into Sanford because they meant it when they said “We Are All Trayvon!”
This outpouring of rage is the ONLY reason this system—which was ready to let Zimmerman go free—backed up and charged him with second degree murder. This is the only reason Zimmerman now even faces the prospects of going to trial. BUT the (in)justice system has continued to work to let the man who murdered Trayvon go free. And we are at a critical juncture in the battle to get justice for Trayvon Martin—where the people must take to the streets again to make this happen.
Here’s a basic fact that is being covered up: Trayvon Martin would be alive today, if Zimmerman had stayed in his car—as he was told to do by the 911 dispatcher.
The court has allowed Zimmerman to gather all kinds of bullshit IRRELEVANT “evidence” to make his case that he had believed his life was threatened, like issuing a subpoena for Martin’s girlfriend’s Facebook page.
Meanwhile, the media has been pumping out totally IRRELEVANT things about Trayvon—that he was suspended from school, that he wrote graffiti on a locker, that he skipped school and was late for class. This is being used to turn reality UPSIDE DOWN—to demonize Trayvon and make it seem like Zimmerman is the victim. In April, the judge refused a prosecution request to issue a gag order that might have suppressed this, giving a clear green light to create broad public opinion that Zimmerman should not even go to trial.
For example, the Miami Herald wrote: “...a more complicated portrait began to emerge of a teenager whose problems at school ranged from getting spotted defacing lockers to getting caught with a marijuana baggie and women’s jewelry.” (March 26, 2012)
“A more complicated portrait”??? By these standards the vast majority of youth, of all nationalities, are suspicious and criminal—and would perhaps deserve to be gunned down. This is totally outrageous. But this is the kind of thing that is being put out in the media around this case.
And all that is irrelevant. There is no way Zimmerman could have known ANY of it the night that he murdered Trayvon Martin. So there is no basis for him to invoke things that he could not have known at the time as an excuse for killing Trayvon. And now there is a possibility that the system will let Zimmerman use the “Stand Your Ground” law to go free.
So all this adds up to a critical juncture in the struggle for justice: Trayvon Martin’s killer is invoking a lynch-mob law to justify killing a young Black man for wearing a hoodie and buying some Skittles. The media have been working for a year to spread gossip and irrelevant bullshit to criminalize Trayvon—who was doing nothing wrong—and to make his killer look good. The prosecutors, who are supposed to be prosecuting Travyon’s killer, are representatives of a system whose police kill hundreds of Black and Latino youth every year.
But the people cannot let this go down!
This is an emergency situation that demands urgent action on the anniversary of Trayvon’s murder—the kinds of creative, courageous, determined in-your-face protests that happened a year ago. The Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) has called on people to “Take to the Streets, Wear Hoodies and Show Your Outrage!” on February 26.
Their call says, in part:
On February 26, one year after the murder of Trayvon Martin, we must return to the streets, wear hoodies and act in other ways to show that we refuse to accept the bulls-eye that has been placed on the backs of Black youth. Gather your friends, neighbors and co-workers; and take pictures of what you do. ...Make plans and act with creativity and courage. Send pictures and reports to firstname.lastname@example.org and to email@example.com.
… On February 26, we must mark the murder of Trayvon by wearing hoodies, by gathering in appropriate places and demonstrating our defiance and our determination to refuse to accept this mistreatment. Gather coming out of school, gather in your neighborhoods.
We have to act in this way on the 26th. If we don’t, the courts could work like the cops did on the night Trayvon was murdered, by letting Zimmerman walk free again. And the authorities will continue to give a green light to racist vigilantes and killer cops to brutalize and murder our youth.
But if we do act in this way, it will show we refuse to accept in silence a declaration of open season on Black youth. It will say NO MORE to authorities who criminalize our youth. It will open the eyes of those who don’t experience this mistreatment to what’s really going on. And it will give heart to all those who live this injustice and hate it. When we pour into the streets and act in other ways with defiance and determination on February 26, we will be contributing to ending these outrages once and for all.