The Opportunity Movement

Devoted to closing the Opportunity Divide

Tag Archives: criminal justice

Searching for answers

I have listened to the 911 calls, read everything there is to read, watched the news, signed a petition on, and listened to our President speak on the matter. I still shake my head.  Trayvon Martin should not have died that day.

I was still reeling from the news of his killing, trying to make sense of something so distressing, when amidst my emails there was one from Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s parents.  It was a painful and emotional email to read; one that I could never imagine writing about one of my own children.  But yet they wrote it.  It requested that I sign a petition calling for George Zimmerman’s prosecution and trial – a petition which has already gathered more than two million signatures.

I listened to Trayvon’s mother speak this morning at a Congressional hearing, and she said something that moved me deeply: “Trayvon was our son, but he was your son too.” Trayvon’s tragic death demands an explanation, and demands to be explored. Those responsible need to be brought to justice.  The explanations and the explorations, though, are not limited to the man who confessed to the killing.  They extend to the media, who waited for weeks before focusing on the story.  They extend to the Sanford police department, whose handling of this case appears questionable.  They extend to us – the general public – who have to look within to begin to understand how this could have happened.  Trayvon’s death represents so much of what we already know – and don’t want to admit – about the society within which we live.

I am deeply saddened by Trayvon’s death and my heart is heavy as I think about his family.  Yet I am hopeful that justice will prevail, and that the public sentiment that this tragedy has ignited will somehow move us forward in a positive direction.  Our urban young adults are assets – not liabilities – to our society and economy, and the need for more Americans to realize this is all too evident in this tragedy. I am proud to work in an organization that strives to be part of the solution and know that our efforts pay tribute to the many individuals who have paid a tremendous price striving for increased justice, equity and opportunity for all.

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