I really don’t even know what to say to you, man, but I just felt like I needed to communicate with you. There’s a connection I feel to you beyond being a young and talented black man. I think it’s because we’re common prey. It sounds vicious, but we’re being hunted. And men like you and I have been hunted for longer than either of us can remember. So it’s honestly nothing new, but that’s no excuse for action to NOT be taken. And in spite of that, I’m supremely proud of the social uproar and activism that’s been sparked because of the utter injustice involving the taking of your life. I hope you’re proud too.
While you were alive, you were Trayvon Martin. But in death you are Trayvon Martin, Danroy Henry, Jr., Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, and the countless number of those who have been gunned down with a disgusting and senseless disregard for life. What’s admirable about yours and so many other situations is that people fought. And I think that as humans, that’s the one thing you can count on us to do for what we love and care deeply about…
We fight. We fight like you fought for you life on that rainy February night. We fight like the world will not continue to spin on its axis if what we deem important is not cared for, and tended to like it should be. We fight for LIFE. And though yours has ended, people across the country are fighting as if theirs is yours. They’re up against oversights, lethargy and a general lack of concern with justice being served. But again, they’re fighting and making progress, rest assured, in spite of you.
I’m sure words can’t even express how proud you are of your parents. The strength they’re showing — especially your mother — is that of immortals. Ironically, though, would you expect anything less?
There was a march in New York for you. The turnout was utterly amazing. The support was tear jerking and ultimately inspiring. It was everything you’d expect a march in New York to be, man. People from absolutely every walk of life, even including homeless people, expressed their anger with the lack of justice for you, and sympathy for your family. You could see there was an air of dismay, but also complete and total unity in your fight. It was beautiful, you would’ve loved it. The most heartwarming thing I saw was a friend who posted a picture on Facebook of her and her daughter, who’s not even a month old, donning their hoodies in support of your fight. Beautiful. And as the days go by, more and more marches and gatherings are popping up across the nation in support of justice for you.
These public shows of unity are oddly surprising to see nowadays, to be honest. This is because there was a period where the source of racism was blurred, and it seemed to be buried somewhere in corporate America, purposefully I believe. But as I’m sure you know, and have seen, racism can’t ever be contained. It has a tendency to bleed through the cracks and spill out onto the streets of this country…most times, violently.
A part of me wants you to find comfort in the fact that what happened with you isn’t a rare occurrence, but another part of me wants you know that what has happened shouldn’t be taken lightly, in spite of that same fact. And before you even get into it, Tray, I know it’s got to stop, of course it needs to stop. But who is it up to?
Some can say, “it’s up to us as a people to fight for what is right for us!”, but we know that in THIS country, despite it being built ON separation, progress can only be made when division is snuffed out by unification.
Just to put a little of my logic out there for you, Tray, the reason why racism and divisions still hold true is because of ignorance. Now, ignorance does NOT mean that someone is stupid, it’s not that at all. It simply means that something is unknown. And IN that invisible and thick racist partition that exists in this country of ours is where ignorance lives. The ignorance that is the lack of knowledge of who black people are and the fact that we are no different from any other ethnic group in our purest form. This is something that many (not all, unfortunately) black people positively believe in their hearts, and feel in my heart that you do too. However, what has prevented this knowledge from settling peacefully in the minds of many white people was, precisely and ironically, negative characteristics and notions that float in their heads about black people. Namely, us being unintelligent animals. They engrained this into their own minds generations ago, FOR generations, for reasons none other than to..feel justified in their racism-supporting actions at the time. Over the years though, being so viciously pro-white in a country that wasn’t even all white to begin with started to prove senseless.
Now, earlier I said that black people are no different from any other ethnic group in our purest form. In theory this is absolutely true, but in actuality, black people haven’t had…the easiest time here in America. To put it lightly. I’m pretty sure you get the gist of what slavery was, Tray…so I’m not going to get into details.
But I hope you get that it was a deeply traumatic experience. It’s as simple as that. And just as a child who’s gone through the trauma of seeing his mother or father murdered and/or tortured, after slavery, black people just…weren’t right. We weren’t who we were anymore. So at the very core, we’ve been suffering from post traumatic stress.
..for over a century and a half now.
That does sound insane, I know, and at your age, your view of the black community may not be wide enough to notice the signs, but they’re definitely there. And with that stress taking its toll, the negative things that were engrained into ‘civilized’ white America’s mind started to materialize and become ‘true’. Why? Because that generational and damn near genetic stress started to show itself. We started to become wild animals in their eyes. And what do civilizations do when they find animals running wild amongst them? They hunt them. On a full stomach too, mind you, so you KNOW that the only reason for hunting and killing them is to make the environment ‘safer’. And for trophies. Or they sit back and watch them kill each other. Since we’ve been viewed as animals, this is what’s been happening to the black community. Black men, specifically. It’s always been open season for us. Our lives are being taken with complete disregard for a young man’s potential, what the effect on his family will be and, most importantly, loss of a human life.
Honestly man, the situation surrounding your death has revealed an even deeper wound in the skin of America than what we thought existed. Things are getting uglier and uglier by the day, really. But being an optimist, my hope is that while the reality being revealed is dirtier than we expected, the reactions will be more constructive and positive than they have been in the past. Meaning, the reactions from black AND white people. Sweeping things under the rug was a customary practice before what happened to you, but America has progressed.
Tray, I’m really in no position to make much a prediction about what’s going to happen in the near future man, but Lord knows I’m pulling for more good than bad. Because, as I said before, we fight. I cannot stress that enough. The warriors may become less vocal over time, but they don’t give up. And I hope you trust in that as much as I do. We owe it to you and your family.