Black History Month 2020, would have marked Trayvon Martin’s 25th birthday. He was born on February 5th, 1995. Tragically, his life was cut short at the tender age of seventeen. When a bigoted neighborhood watch patrolman named George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon for just existing. Trayvon lost his life eight years ago. This happened during the Obama era, the same period that gave rise to #BlackLivesMatter. The media, unfortunately, portrayed Trayvon as a violent thug who attacked a vigilant community member. That was far from the truth, but it was used to justify the murder of a teenage black boy.
I have reflected upon my own violent encounters with law enforcement as a young black man living in America. It’s a shame that Trayvon didn’t get a chance to go to his prom, choose a college, start a career, and maybe raise a family. Black men and boys aren’t the only targets of the racist police and rogue citizens. This February 7th, our dear sister Sandra Bland would have celebrated her 33rd birthday as well. Her life was cut short due to a routine traffic stop in Texas. This is the fear that lingers in the minds of every black person in America. An everyday encounter with a police officer could always become a life or death situation. We have seen the rise of #BlackLivesMatter, we have witnessed activists, and organizers continue the neverending fight racial injustice. At the same time, politicians of all stripes still speak platitudes about reparations and criminal justice reform. Very few of the black elite have put themselves out on the line for racial justice.
Those that do, like Colin Kaepernick, are scapegoated and blacklisted from their chosen profession. The American political system keeps prompting up openly racist bigots like Donald J. Trump and Mike Bloomberg. Or they offer us nicer bigots, like Joe Biden (friends with segregationists) and Pete Buttigieg (fired South Bend’s first black police chief for pointing our racism in the force). I contend that there will be no one to save Black America. We common folk have to do it ourselves. Celebrities, political pundits, and religious leaders will continue to pimp the struggle for their own financial gain, like Jay-Z. The black elite won’t save us, they’re too many of them like Kamala Harris. Who also shares the same values of racist law enforcement in this country when it comes to black people.
We still have to fight, we still have to stand up for justice, and we still must seek out the truth. Not just for ourselves but for our children and their children. The struggle continues. A better world is possible, but it’s gonna be up to us to make that world a reality. We must do this in remembrance of Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Freddie Gray, Atatiana Jefferson, Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Aubrey, and so many countless others lost far too soon.