Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Reflections on Trayvon

When I turned on Meet the Press Sunday morning and learned that George Zimmerman had been acquitted, I flashed back to Charles Gordon’s Pulitzer Prize Winning play, No Place to Be Somebody. Shit that was more than 40 years ago and America is still no place to be for young black men.

I was enraged but not surprised. I’d stopped watching the trail. I saw where it was going. This was an all female jury so maybe they could relate to a mother losing her son. But this was a jury of Zimmerman’s peer. No one selected represented Trayvon’s world. These women son’s weren’t constantly being harassed.

Self-defense? Give me a break. George wasn’t the one being stalked by a vigilante that night. Zimmerman feared for his life? Why? Wasn’t he the one with a gun? And why was he following Trayvon.

My immediate reaction was it was time to get the fuck up, think Douglas Turner Ward’s play Day of Absence. My closest girlfriend accepted a job in London because she feared for her son’s life. But most African-Americans have neither the desire nor the means to leave the country to protect their children. And why should this be necessary? This is their home.

I signed the petition asking the Department of Justice to bring civil rights charges against Zimmerman but I don’t expect it will happen. I want justice for Trayvon but what I want more is for this to stop. I want it to stop being, open season on Black asses. It’s not just Black male youth who are harassed. After Giuliani became mayor of New York, in my neighborhood all Black people were being stopped, without provocation, by police demanding ID.

Sunday morning, a friend who posted on FB this morning commented, “I need to be at the upcoming 50th Anniversary March on Washington, August 28th and reacquaint myself with social protest.” It made me think of other ways we implemented social change in the 60s. I’m thinking boycott. Those of use who don’t live in Florida can choose not to spend our money in that state. There are other beautiful places we can vacation. Let’s not attend or plan any conventions in the Sunshine State or any state with these repressive stand your ground laws.