Although an Activist for many years, by the time I started That Girl At The Party, I had mellowed significantly. I made a conscious decision to avoid heavier subjects and focus mainly on how to live a relaxing and healthy Life. However, I was wrong to completely silence that vital side of myself. Because there are times when a sitiuation is so aggrevious that I will not be able to look myself in the mirror if I do not weigh in. The cold-blooded murder in Florida of the 17-year old Trayvon Martin by a racist, trigger-happy vigilante named George Zimmerman and the subsequent non-action on the part of the Sanford Florida police department, is one of those times.
Schwerner Chaney and Goodman
Trayvon's murder evoked all kinds of emotions in me. I cried and cried as I thought of his mother getting that call that her young son, who had so much promising Life ahead of him had been gunned down for no reason. Then I cried some more for the thousands of African-American women, who have received that same call over the years. I thought of Mamie Till, who back in August of 1958, received a call to Chicago from a Mississippi relative that her young son Emmett was not gonna make that train ride home. Beaten, shot, burned and ultimately murdered by the KKK while visiting his family down South, Emmett was so disfigured that he was totally unrecognizable. Mamie's brave decision to have his casket open at the funeral so that, as she stated, "the world can see what they did to my son" helped ignite the Civil Rights movement. I thought of Fanny Lee Chaney, Carolyn Goodman and Anne Schwerrner, the mothers of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Mickey Schwerner respectvely, who got those awful calls from Neshoba, Mississippi in that they would never see their brave freedom riding sons again. My friend Micki made a documentary called "Neshoba" about those awful murders that got the ringleader finally brought to justice. So I got to meet these amazing mothers. But even 41-years later, the pain caused by the loss of their sons was still palpable.
Then I thought about all the cases of Black men murdered after being racially profiled here in NYC. I thought of my cousin Michael Stewart, a grafitti artist, who's parents Carrie and Millard got the call after he was strangled to death by the police in 1983. I thought of the mother of Patrick Dorismond ,who got that call that her son, a father of two, had been gunned down. I thought of meeting Saikou and Kadiatou Diallo, the parents of 23-year old Amadou Diallo, who got the call that their son had been shot 41 times for holding a wallet. I remembered conversing with the incredible Iris Baez, who became a activist after getting that call that her some Anthony would never be coming home again. He was guuned down by a cop after his football accidentally hit a police car . I thought of Juanita Young picking up the phone and hearing that her unarmed son Malcolm, also 23, would never hug her again after being shot at point blank range. I thought of Allene Person, who got the call after cops shot her 19-year-old son, Timur Person, in cold blood even though his hands were in the air. And I thought of Phyllis Clayburne, receiving the call that 19-year old Timothy Stansbury, was not coming home from the party he was attending. Timothy was working and studying and had recently made a film about too many guns in his neighborhood, He was crossing a roof to get CDs for the party when an overzealous cop shot him in the chest. Trayvon Martin is yet another in the never-ending line of young Black men, who never make it home. His parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, received the call that legions of African-American mothers and fathers have had to needlessly endure.
I am sick to death of Black parents having to fight to have justice done when their sons are murdered for being Black. Mamie Till died before seeing justice be done in Emmett's case and so did Fanny Lee Chaney. Many of the other victims' families never received any justice at all. And many others were paid off by the State as if that would somehow fill the bottomless void that will forever be in their lives. It is time that this legalized lynching be stopped. It is bad enough that Sybrina and Tracy had to bury their son. It is unconscionable that they should also be out her fighting for justice in what is a clear case of racial profiling and murder by a self appointed vigilante! And it cannot be defined in any other way. I intend to stand for Trayvon because enough is enough. Trayvon was a above average American kid just off to the shops for some Skittles and some Arizona Iced tea. There is zero reason that he should not have made it safely home. It is absolutely ridiculous that George Zimmerman the man that clearly killed him for no justifiable reason has not been arrested.
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