If you’re not already familiar with all the elements of the story, Mother Jones and Think Progress have fairly thorough coverage of what happened to Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old African-American boy who went to the 7-11 for candy and iced tea and, on his walk back home, was murdered by 28-year-old neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman, who has not yet been arrested for his crime, nor has his Concealed Carry permit been revoked.
The police botched every step of the investigation and Zimmerman is hiding behind the “Stand Your Ground” law, which enables citizens to use deadly force if they think they’re in immediate danger, even if they had plenty of opportunities to escape said situation rather than confront it. Needless to say, George Zimmerman was not in danger, let alone immediate danger, although there’s no shortage of assholes insisting that he was. (Sidenote: Jeb Bush, the asshole responsible for the “stand your ground” laws, officially endorsed Mitt Romney today!) The FBI, the United States Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney announced on March 20th, after receiving a letter from the NAACP, that they’ll be undertaking ”a thorough and independent review” of the case. The Florida state attorney sent the case to a grand jury, which will be called to session on April 10th. Right now, everybody with a voice is using it to speak out, demand justice, and draw attention to the virulently racist criminal “justice system” and the American culture which enables it. (Please sign this petition if you haven’t already.)
Yesterday emcee and community activist Jasiri X (the same guy who did “What If the Tea Party was Black?“) put out a new video on YouTube about Trayvon, building from Kanye West and Jay-Z’s “No Church in the Wild.” It’s chilling and touching and full of justified anger. In addition to hosting internet news series “This Week with Jasiri X” and doing his music and videos, Jasiri X is a co-founder of the anti-violence group “One Hood” and started the New Media Academy, which aims to teach young African-American boys to analyze and make their own media.
Here’s “Trayvon,” by Jasiri X:
Alyssa Rosenberg wrote, of the song, “I really like the decision to build this off of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild.” That “What’s a king to a god? What’s a god to an unbeliever?” couplet is a nice way to get at both the power relationship between Zimmerman and Trayvon, and the enormities of justice promised and denied.”
The enormities of justice promised and denied.
I know we mostly report on LGBTQ/feminist issues and I don’t think I’m personally qualified to add anything of value to the excellent reporting done elsewhere on this tragedy, but like you I’ve been reading about it constantly, things like this and this and this and this and this and “How to Talk to Young Black Boys About Trayvon Martin,” and I wanted to post something here, to make a space to talk about it, if you want to.
It’s heartbreaking, it’s maddening, it’s America.
Trymaine Lee at The Huffington Post reported on the story when it happened three weeks ago, and continued to, and it finally captured complete national media attention last week when the Sanford Police Department released the police tapes, which are about as damning of George Zimmerman as they come. Additional notable coverage came from The New York Times‘ Charles M. Blow and The Atlantic‘s Ta-Nehisi Coates, and their words were followed by social media support from celebrities like Russell Simmons, John Legend and Janelle Monae.
I guess I keep coming back to the same thing over and over these past few weeks which I believe was perhaps best expressed by yoisthisracist in response to a question about Trayvon Martin: “So yeah, fuck you to everyone who believes that the levers of power, justice and politics aren’t used to perpetuate racism today, in America, in 2012.”