|Trayvon Martin's new hoodie.|
Speaking today in the Rose Garden, after announcing the nomination of Jim Yong Kim to replace Bob Zoellick as president of the World Bank, the president was asked:
Mr. President, may I ask you about this current case in Florida, very controversial, allegations of lingering racism within our society -- the so-called do not -- I'm sorry -- Stand Your Ground law and the justice in that? Can you comment on the Trayvon Martin case, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m the head of the executive branch, and the Attorney General reports to me so I’ve got to be careful about my statements to make sure that we’re not impairing any investigation that’s taking place right now.
But obviously, this is a tragedy. I can only imagine what these parents are going through. And when I think about this boy, I think about my own kids. And I think every parent in America should be able to understand why it is absolutely imperative that we investigate every aspect of this, and that everybody pulls together -- federal, state and local -- to figure out exactly how this tragedy happened.
So I'm glad that not only is the Justice Department looking into it, I understand now that the governor of the state of Florida has formed a task force to investigate what's taking place. I think all of us have to do some soul searching to figure out how does something like this happen. And that means that examine the laws and the context for what happened, as well as the specifics of the incident.
But my main message is to the parents of Trayvon Martin. If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon. And I think they are right to expect that all of us as Americans are going to take this with the seriousness it deserves, and that we're going to get to the bottom of exactly what happened."
Thank you, Mr. President. We missed your statement on the passing of Whitney Houston (if there ever was one) but do appreciate you commenting, on a national stage, about the death of Trayvon Martin.
Now, for those of you who can't figure out why the African American community is outraged over Travyon's story when there is also Black-on-Black crime in inner cities that don't gain national attention, here's why.
In Black-on-Black crimes and especially in Black-on-white crimes, the perpertrator is almost always brought to justice. The African American perpetrator is jailed, retained in jail until given a hearing, bonded, or not given a bond at all. The common denominator here is that the perpetrator was jailed or punished, giving at least some sense of justice and/or closure for the victim's loved ones.
Did this happen with George Zimmerman? The answer, as we all know, is no. And that happens all too often in cases involving an African American victim.
Let's be clear. This country was predicated on the mistreatment of African American men, women, and children where the crimes against them by whites have gone unpunished. Just Google 'Emmet Till', or 'white cop shoots Black' and see how many stories come up where there was no justice for the victims of those crimes.
Actions like these continue to shed light on the mass incarceration and prolonged prison sentences given to African Americans at alarming rates while non-Black groups receive shortened, or no jail sentences for like crimes.
So, the African American community, and rightly so, is taking a stand in the Travyon Martin case, and others like them, until the perpetrators of the murders of African American citizens are brought to justice, and until those cases, to paraphrase what the the president said are "take[n] with the seriousness it deserves, until we "get to the bottom of exactly what happened."
If you like to take a stand in solidarity for Trayvon Martin plan to attend the Justice For Trayvon rally this Saturday, March 23rd, from 2-4 at Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC.