If you haven’t heard about Trayvon Martin, then you are probably living under a rock and or studying abroad. I first heard about the case from one of my favorite poet’s tumblr. Joshua Bennett had posted the now famous petition circulated by the Martin Family, and at first I thought it was one of those incidents where they didn’t have all the facts. Where the police were blamed, but the lines of justice were so blurred that anyone could be at fault. The more I read, the more I think that this isn’t the case.
This story is everywhere. You know a news story is big when it shows up on ESPN.com (I mean come on it’s only supposed to be about sports). However, major stars like Lebron James and Dwayne Wade from the Heat and Amor’s Stodamare from the Knicks and Chicago Congressman Bobby Rush donned hoodies in solidarity for Trayvon, forcing the matter to transcend the Florida town and occupy world headlines and pop culture. Some (like a British columnist) said the case is about “gun control”, and a girl (who is no longer a friend of mine on facebook) said “you hear about white on black crime, what about black on white crime?” While both of these have some validity in their point of views (no matter how much I don’t want to agree with them), it is beside the point. Race relations run deep in our countries history. Some may argue that the turmoil we have now are due to our ruling of Plessy vs. Ferguson in 1897. However for me the issue is less about race, and more about profiling and the death of a young man.
I think we all profile. We all make snap judgments that can be detrimental to our relationships with others. I think that George Zimmerman was wrong, but think about it, we all judge people for the clothes they wear. We shouldn’t only be mad at Zimmerman, we should be mad at ourselves. This incident should be a wake-up call for
so many Americans humanity. I thought in this day-in-age we would be passed judging others based on their appearance. However, Trayvon was killed because he looked “suspicious.” His hoodie has become iconic and created a revolution. Hoodies do not indicate a “hoodlum.” You are not dangerous based on the clothes you wear. I wear hoodies all of the time, especially when I travel. I can’t even count all the times I’ve put on a hoodie in brisk weather, it’s the perfect weight to keep me comfortable. It’s almost an automatic thing for me too, if I leave the house I’ll grab a hoodie. When he was leaving the house, I bet he never thought that hoodie would contribute to the end of his life.
I think this case has turned more into a movement and a broader social issue, that we forget it was the death of one 17-year-old boy. The media likes to defame people to get a bigger headline and create more controversy. They try to turn Trayvon’s suspension for finding traces of marijuana as if he had an issue with drugs. They try to take photos of him from the internet to define him as a “gangster” poser. These issues have nothing to do with the case, they just distract from what really happened. The media wants to create a bigger story, but what’s a more shocking headline than: an unarmed child being killed, and nothing being done to persecute his killer? But do you know which over-hyped headline gets to me? The media’s argument that the main photo of Trayvon isn’t recent. They argue that it’s a lopsided representation, that he looks so young with his innocent baby face. To that I say, any photo of him demonstrates a young and innocent face. He was only 17 years young. I also think that his family chose a photo that represents him in their mind. To them he will always be their baby. I’m sure even if he had ever reached the aged of 50, his parents would still see him as their baby and envision him in this manner.
It breaks my heart. It breaks my heart to think that he just threw on a hoodie and walked out the door to run to the local corner store. He was getting a snack, something I do so often here in Sevilla or even back at home/school. He probably said he was leaving, but I’m sure he didn’t say how much he loved and cared about his family. I’m sure his last words to them were nothing profound. I imagine they were something like: I’m running to the store, I’ll be right back. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine watching a loved one leave, thinking that they were just running a quick errand and they never come back? I can’t tell you how upset and sick that makes me feel. You never really think how much someone means to you when you’re running errands. You never think to tell them goodbye or give them a big hug and kiss and tell them how much you love them. You never think you’re going to be shot when you run to the local store. You never think that your death will become a major social movement. You never think about these things.
I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on this story. I read new articles daily and every time I finish reading them, I just think about saying I love you to my family. I think if anything the death of Trayvon should make us hold our loved ones a little tighter. And most importantly, don’t let them think they are unappreciated, you never know when it’s the last time you’ll see them.
- Knowing how loved I am
- Signing a petition to support Trayvon Martin
- Death of such a young man
- Burying your child
- Defamation of the deceased