The following piece was originally posted at Young Movement, Inc. It is posted with the permission of its author, Roy Paul, a fast emerging political commentator, journalist and analyst.
February 26, 2012 started out as any ordinary day for Sabrina Fulton. Little did she know that her life had already taken a turn towards a dark place of no return.
Ms. Fulton’s 17 year old son Trayvon Martin lying dead in a morgue in Florida was about to become another face of what is still very wrong and unjust with our society and criminal justice system. When the tragic news of my fellow fallen brother finally swept the national headlines, I couldn’t help but wonder if my own mother would someday be confronted with a similar horror. After all, she has definitely expressed those concerns with me on numerous occasions.
It’s certainly feasible – I’m young, Black, and often walk through city streets – sometimes while wearing a hoodie. I even have the audacity to travel throughout my America! Why should my mother have to wonder and worry that I could be next? For that matter, why should I? Unfortunately, it’s because we both know that it doesn’t matter what I wear, how many degrees I earn, or polite gestures I extend–the bottom line is, I’m Black. What does matter is attitude about race.
Individuals who are convinced that my life is of lesser or of no value, and those who believe in the stereotypes and lies perpetrated within politics, media and entertainment might easily make me the next Trayvon, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo or 16 year old Ramarley Graham who was gunned down a little over a month ago in the bathroom of his home in the Bronx, which is also my birthplace.
The deck is stacked heavily against us at every turn. And while this dangerous “Stand Your Ground Law” can be used as a defense for the killing of anyone, Blacks are particularly vulnerable. For this reason, I’m really interested to know how Democrats allowed it to slip through the cracks in so many states around the nation. If the Democratic party wants the Black youth vote, they are going to have to do a much better job protecting our interests and our lives. Both parties need to come together to overturn “Stand Your Ground” as well as “Stop And Frisk.” These unconscionable laws should never have been enacted in the first place.
Let me be clear, I don’t want to be next. I want what all of my peers want, to live and grow old in the America most politicians and citizens pretend exists. My generation wants and deserves to be the living manifestation of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream that he shared with the world just before he himself was killed by an assassins bullet.
It’s time for real change. As the 2012 elections rapidly approach, I intend to use every opportunity to join forces with seasoned leaders, concerned citizens and my peers whose mission it is to bring this madness to a long overdue end. George Zimmerman, judge, jury and executioner, stalked and senselessly murdered young Trayvon Martin as he pleaded for help in the community his father, Tracy Martin, believed was a safe place. As if that weren’t enough, the police failed to act at every level except to protect the assailant.
Anyone who thought that racism was officially over with the election of President Obama, just ask the parents of that innocent teenager with ebony skin who paid the ultimate price for walking to a nearby store to purchase Skittles and ice tea.
Roy Paul is a fast emerging and important political commentator, journalist, and analyst. His focus is on youth education, social and economic justice, and the advancement of African Americans in modern pop culture and politics. Recently he has interviewed the likes of Dr. Maya Angelou, former NYC Mayor Ed Koch, Lilly Ledbetter, Bertha Lewis, Dr. Elsie Scott, and has done features on Eartha Kitt, Madam C.J. Walker, Percy Sutton, and Marcus Garvey. He is a native New Yorker with an affinity for the arts and culture. He resides in Southeast Queens.