Trayvon Martin was born today. His mother and father welcomed him into the world with as many hopes, dreams, and aspirations for their child as any other. Google didn’t change their landing page in honor of him. There is no TIME cover story of ‘How Trayvon Would Look Now.” There is no great investigative report spilling from the New York Times of how his death has changed millennials. There’s no statues in his honor, no schools, no federal holidays, no commemorative ceremonies.
What we are left with is our memory of the pain of injustice. Of laws. And yet we are a nation of laws. Laws that are deeply rooted in injustice with liberty for some and threat, death, danger, and inadequacy for others. Of laws, you know those things that imprisoned Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., those things that sanctioned terrorism and apartheid against the Bantu people of South Africa, those things that sentenced Nelson Mandela to life imprisonment, those things that allowed Nazi Germany to bestow atrocities against its fellow man, those things that denied African Americans the right to vote, to own land, and to a sound education. Yes, those were all laws. And it was the law, the court system, the justice that we so readily hold high as our social superiority in the world, that in fact sanctioned the death of Trayvon Martin.
Many brown boys have faced the same death as Trayvon since his passing. Many have marched. Many have sat in fear, in shock, and in disdain of the events that have passed. Many scrutinized the online rage as only being short term and committed those who didn’t march to some hell for piss poor progressives. Many thought we would forget….
So we are forced to remember Trayvon much less than how his parents would, as a strong reminder of how even our worse nightmares linger over with very little progress. I am reminded today of how very fearful I continue to feel for my nephews. Of how very inhumane I suspect people see me, and my body, and the bodies of people whom share my skin. I am reminded today of how isolating, how devastating of a task it is to take on that burden. I am reminded of the outrage and the lack of progress that has followed.
I hope that not only will people take today to remember a young boy who died a few weeks from today 17 years ago, but to also remember what both his life and death means to the trajectory of our progress. I hope people take today to remember Trayvon as not only a household face for racial violence, but also a simple young man owning his carefree stroll to his very right to be alive. I hope people take today to remember that this could have been any of our sons and will continue to be if we don’t stand in deep and long-term solidarity for racial justice through a series of laws and judicial revisions. I hope people take today not only to wear their hoodies and imagine Trayvon’s life as a college student, but to also think critically and objectively of how the media has continued to frame this as a singular, rare story worthy of a singular, rare amount of rage. I hope that people take today to be
It is my deep hope that people will not take today to be drug down a Don Lemon respectability politics rabbit hole of what we should wear, should say, should achieve in an effort to not face imminent threat and untimely death.
It is my hope that people reflect and conclude that we continue to hold Trayvon up as an example, just one of many, in which justice has failed up. It is my hope that we decide that we will rise and seek our destinies of justice together. We are inextricably linked.
It is my hope that we give birth to a Trayvon generation. One that understands collectively that if we don’t rise at the sight of this call to action, we will continue to meet our fate of injustice together.