TRAYVON!


“They say that time heals all wounds… It does not! — Sybrina Fulton

The Paramount Network and BET ran the first episode last night of Rest in Power: The Trayvon Martin Story. My youngest daughter asked me on Facebook if I was watching? I replied I had taped it to watch in the morning. My daughter said, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to sit through this.” Comments from others on the thread included:

“Could not…”

“I ain’t even gonna be able to do it!”

“I didn’t even attempt to watch it!”

“Nope!”

These replies were all from young black women, most of them mothers, that understood just how much pain would be involved in reliving the family’s story of the senseless killing of their teenage son. The injustice of watching his killer walk free. Most of all the piercing screams for “HELP,” Trayvon’s last words.

The first segment was every bit as painful as these young women imagined it would be. It humanized Trayvon and the family, making them so much harder to characterize in a manner that makes it easier to dismiss his murder. We also see more of George Zimmerman than was shown during his trial. We heard numerous non-emergency calls to the police department about; black kids “under 12” playing in the streets, black kids walking around, a black teenager “up to no good!”

“These assholes, they always get away. Fucking punks!” George Zimmerman


We are reminded what it took to even get the Sanford, FL police department to press charges. The night George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin he slept in his own bed. The Department cited “Stand Your Ground Laws” as the reason they could not arrest Zimmerman who claimed self-defense. Only public outrage forced the Sanford Mayor to release the 911 tames where the haunting screams forced an arrest. In Clearwater, FL, Michael Drejka is not being charged for the murder of the unarmed Markeis McGlockton on July 19, 2018 based on Stand Your Ground. Little has changed!

The women who chose not to watch perhaps underestimated how painful it would be to hear the painful recollections of Trayvon’s parents; Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. You heard from his aunt, grandmother and brother. I wish I could tell those women it “isn’t as bad as you might think,” but in reality it’s probably worse. Part 1 will tear at your soul and you won’t be able to help but imagine if you were in their place. Perhaps as the documentary develops there will be a call to action, some way to convert raw emotions into positive change? But for now, the pain is real, a wound not healed by time.

The Docuseries was produced by Jay-Z

When Teachers With Guns Meets Stand Your Ground Laws

The National Rifle Association (NRA) and President Donald Trump have come out united in their response to the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting which left 17 dead and several injured. Earning the $30 million the NRA gave him during the Presidential campaign. Trump cited the very same language that NRA Vice-President Wayne LaPierre spoke the day before, wanting to “harden schools,” and arm teachers with concealed weapons. Trump suggested as many as “40%” of teachers might be armed, possibly getting bonuses to carry while most teachers are using their own money to buy classroom supplies.

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In addition to all the immediate responses as to why the NRA/Trump plan is insane; teachers could be mistakenly killed by first responders who mistake an armed teacher for a shooter, teachers accidentally students in friendly fire, more accidental shootings, and teachers who handle workplace disputes with a readily available lethal remedy. There’s another reason people of color should be concerned about more guns in schools. It’s the existence in Florida and over half of America’s States, of Stand Your Ground Laws. Most of which were written and pushed by the NRA and enacted by Governor’s and state legislators, beholden to NRA campaign contributions. In those states, including Florida where the most recent school shooting took place, the teacher would be able to legally shoot someone who they believe threatens them, whether true or not.

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It is already well-documented that children of color are viewed differently in our schools. They are suspended and expelled disproportionately, they are charged with criminal offenses disproportionately. With teachers carrying weapons and the only criteria is that the teacher is afraid to discharge their gun, children of color will be shot and killed disproportionately as well.

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The NRA sponsored law is insidious in that the person claiming they are standing their ground is assumed to be telling the truth. The other person with a version of the incident is often dead, unable to tell their tale. Florida Governor Rick Scott (who refused to appear at the Town Hall following the Stoneman Douglas shooting) and the Republican legislature passed an amended Stand Your Ground bill further encouraging people to shoot first, but the bill was later found to be unconstitutional.

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I wanted to write that we must not be governed by gun laws, written by the NRA and implemented by their paid cronies, but that ship has already sailed. What we must do, is make a stand to protect teachers, students, and particularly students of color, and reject the foolish idea of arming teachers in schools. The only way that ends is with more shootings, more deaths, and more disparity.