I go about life everyday as I have been for the past few months. I get dressed, sometimes I worry about my hair, I wonder what I'm going to wear, and I think about boys. I'm actually a little bit different than the conventional girl because I don't dwell on those things as long as a lot of other girls do, but hey, I think about it. Throughout the day I text my friends, call my family, laugh, and some of the other things a young adult does. And there are times when I think about how those 90's babies are finally growing up. Then I have those sad instances where some of those 90's babies that are suppose to be right up here with me are not because of the various problems that occur in our society. Back in 2009, reality hit when a 16 year boy named Derrion Albert was beaten to death in Chicago. Derrion and I were around the same grade, I was 14 about to turn 15 in the fall, and we both were just regular teens.
I just turned 18 last fall, and I am now a freshman in college. So I got to go through prom, graduation, and living on my own as a college student. All these things a lot of youth will never get to experience because of the various problems with our society. Recently, I have relived the sadness that I once felt for Derrion Albert after I learned about the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. Trayvon was 17 years old, a high school junior, athletic, social, handsome. He's about a year younger than me, but was so close to being in my position. I can't imagine how happy his parents would have been to see him in his cap and gown, or to see him go to prom, and head to his dream college. But that imminent happiness has faded into unimaginable despair that Trayvon's family probably want so badly to change.
I remember the first time I saw this story on the Huffington Post's Black Voices: "Unarmed Black Teen Killed By White Neighborhood Watch Captain". I brushed it off thinking "oh not the race card again...no, they must be mistaken". It's not that I didn't believe it, it's that I didn't want to believe it. I know how things like this affect me, and I have studied many atrocities that have occurred against Black people back in the day, and that just doesn't seem to sadden me...it motivates me to fight for the Cause. Then I have to face the reality that I'm in the new millennium and things like lynchings, unjust police killings, racially motivated murders, as well as Black-on-Black violence is occurring in my time and among Black people my age! These issues are real! These issues still occur!
Those that are familiar with the details of the case know the story of this injustice, and to briefly reiterate this heartbreaking story: Trayvon Martin was killed in a gated community in Sanford, Fla. on February 26 by George Zimmerman, a 28 year old self-appointed watch captain. Note: Trayvon was unarmed, actually according to reports he only had a cellphone, Skittles, and an iced tea. George Zimmerman was armed with a 9mm semi-automatic pistol. (Click here for more information)
I know the story detail-by-detail from what has been released, and every time I see Trayvon's face I go into this state of shock. I don't know. I guess I can't fathom what type of world we live in, and what type of system we have been living through for so many years! I mean, I wonder how someone could fall deaf ear to someone's cries for help and pleads for their life, and just shoot them in the chest. I can't even imagine what was going through Trayvon's mind when Zimmerman first pulled out that gun and fired the first shot, which missed him. And it is so hard to hear Trayvon screaming for help in the background of those 9-1-1 tapes...
Sometimes I imagined what would have happened if I could go back and change one little thing about that day that would have changed the course of the events that unfolded. I mean, there was nothing I could do personally for Trayvon seeing as I'm in Washington D.C., but there are times where I wish I was living in one of those houses, heard Trayvon's screams, and then I could have gone outside to confront Zimmerman. But it just hurts me because there was truly nothing I could have done to prevent this, and there is nothing I can do to change it.
I remember the first time I had heard Trayvon's screams I couldn't get to sleep that night. Actually, I was wide awake and I heard the screams and the gunshots as if it was happening outside my window! It was as if I was being haunted by the mere entity of this tragedy. Then I found myself looking at the past to see how my People dealt with occurrences like this back in the day, and boy was I inspired and motivated!
I am so very fortunate to be attending Howard University, and I am very aware of it's rich history of fighting against this oppressive system, even fighting the injustices here on campus. So we have been organizing to make sure that Trayvon Martin's death is not in vain!
We need to arrest George Zimmerman!
We need to investigate the corruption in the Sanford Police Department!
We need to make sure that the Department of Justice does their jobs!
And we need to grow as a People!
Look at what we face here! We have this grown man profiling a teenage boy because he's a Black male! And not only profiling, but killing! What type of place do we live in where those that are sworn to protect and serve oppress?! What type of America is this where the killer just walks free?! What type of society is this where images of a people through the media determine how someone is treated and whether or not they live or die! This system needs to be abolished because there have been others that have come before Trayvon Martin! And if we don't fight against this whole system, there will be others after him, if there haven't been already! The key word is WE because the system is not going to fight itself! So it is up to US...the People to do what we have to do to stop the cycle of oppression!
Yes, catching Zimmerman and convicting him is going to bring about a much needed justice...for the short term. I do want Zimmerman to be punished for killing Trayvon, but what is putting this one man in prison going to do? It definitely won't stop the other injustices that occur, and this is why we can't stop mobilizing after Zimmerman is arrested and prosecuted! We have to take down the whole system! And I pray that this momentum for Trayvon will not fade because THIS right here is the incident that is suppose to propel us to fight just as Emmet Till propelled Rosa Parks to refuse her seat, which started a movement! So let us be angry, let us be saddened, let us be sickened, but o let us be strengthened by our own power and our solidarity to advance ourselves!
On the contrary, I do tear up when I see Trayvon's beautiful smile, and I've never met him a day in my life, but I just can't believe that this has happened to him. I can't explain it, but when I look at his pictures, I am just flabbergasted that this happened and angered that those same problems our ancestors faced is still here. Even more angered that people can get away with things like this...but I have to push on. If Trayvon's parents can do it, so can I.
And I did not write this article with the intent to bombard you with evidence of this and that, I wanted to sink into your consciousness. I wanted to make you aware that though Trayvon Martin is very important, this issue is bigger than just Trayvon and Zimmerman, but this is a whole system! We have to attack the system and the people that feed it! So PLEASE don't let this start and stop with Trayvon! Let us unite! Let us continue on!
Justice For Trayvon!--Sign the Petition to Prosecute Zimmerman!