I, Too, Am America


Monday marked the sixth anniversary of the murder of Trayvon Martin by a white guy with a gun who shouldn't have had one. The killing helped spark Black Lives Matter and a host of other racial justice, anti-gun-violence groups, including Black Youth Project 100 and the Dream Defenders, who have fought for years against Florida's NRA-supported stand-your-ground law that let George Zimmerman walk free. Trayvon was killed in central Florida, a few hours from Parkland. He was 17, around the same age as the Parkland victims. His death gave rise to a movement seeking to protect those too often hurt and killed by gun violence, largely led by young people, just like in Parkland. But they are black. Thus are they dubbed "thugs" or their protests deemed "riots" or they're dismissed as provocateurs, even as the years pass and the black bodies mount.

“White people get to be everything - they get to be victims, they get to be heroes," notes a BLM co-founder. "Black people unfortunately continue to be criminalized for our moments of courage, mourning or grieving." The Parkland kids are extraordinary - heroic, eloquent, impossibly courageous. So are the black kids who have endured, who have marched for Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Philando Castille, the victims of gun violence everywhere. All of the wrath aimed at all of the killings is righteous, advocates say, and worthy of support. To remind us, Monday saw the release of the trailer for Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story, a six-part  documentary series produced by Jay-Z for Paramount and based on a book by Trayvon's parents. Trayvon's name, Jay-Z hopes, will end the silence, and "serve as a beacon of light and hope."

From "Martin Luther King Jr. Mourns Trayvon Martin" by Lauren K. Alleyne, as "I dreamed a childhood/
unburdened by hate...
I dreamed a future/of open doors, of opportunity/without oppression... I dreamed you wearing whatever the hell you want/and not dying for it."


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I had a dream
that my children will one day live
in a nation where they will not be judged
by the color of their skin
but by the content of their character.

Sweet song of my sorrow.
Sweet dream, deferred.
For you, gone one, I dreamed
justice -her scales tipped
away from your extinction,
her eyes and arms unbound
and open to you
at last.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

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