After six weeks of investigations, rallies, protests, and media fervor, the killing of unarmed 17 year old Trayvon Martin by self appointed Neighborhood Watch captain George Zimmerman seems to be at a standstill. After it had been established that Zimmerman pursued the hooded Martin and the Stand Your Ground law could not be used as a defense, many expected to see Zimmerman arrested and awaiting trial. When that didn’t happen, a silence of anticipated disappointment permeated America’s urban community. Now, people are whispering, ‘what should we do now?’
Trayvon Martin has become the latest poster child in the fight for justice for lives of Black and minority citizens. The sad truth is that the faces haven’t been given the proper individuality they deserve, from Ramarley Graham, who was killed by the NYPD just 3 weeks before Martin’s death, to Rekia Boyd, who was shot by Chicago police 3 weeks following Martin’s death. The common denominator in all of these cases is that no one was held accountable for either of these deaths. Even Dirty South rap great David Banner couldn’t let that alarming fact go unchecked. “America is being very honest about what they think about Black people”, says Banner. “We can talk about Geraldo, we can talk about Sinead O’Connor, and all of that, but none of that don’t mean shit. A Black child is dead and America is showing is how they feel about that.”
The hoodie campaign showed a lot of solidarity among the people who sought justice for Martin, but that unity was not strong enough to override the fact that George Zimmerman is the 28 year old offspring of a Federal Circuit Judge and a former court clerk. The public outcry and involvement of community leaders like Rev. Al Sharpton didn’t overshadow the Sanford Police Department’s attempt to justify Trayvon’s killing by criminalizing him for being in possession of an empty bag of marijuana in school. This type of response from such an obvious injustice has left some people, particularly black males, in a state of vulnerability, wondering if they would have to take justice into their own hands if they happen to find themselves in a similar situation.
Even though a former prosecutor in the case had scheduled a grand jury to convene on April 10, the current state attorney Angela Corey announced this morning that she would not use a grand jury in making her final determination in the case. “We want to believe that this would be a positive sign that the prosecutor has enough information to arrest Trayvon Martin’s killer”, says Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump. “The family is trying hard to be patient and have faith in the system.” With Zimmerman currently free and no charges pending, millions of Black and other minority Americans have already lost faith in this system with countless of valid reasons to predict the same results in the Trayvon Martin case. If it doesn’t work again as expected, the uncertain response of these very same people is what America fears most.