I always loved this photograph. Do you know how rare it is to see a parent kiss their child (or the child lets them) as a teen? There’s a slight distance between kids and parents that often comes during the teen years as a teen tries to develop their own sense of identity and purpose. Some of it is necessary, though when extreme can create feelings of abandonment for the teen.
But Trayvon had nothing like abandonment in his life. He had parents who obviously understood how to co-parent quite well, as My Brown Baby blog pointed out, and he obviously was truly cherished and loved. Seeing the pain now in both his mother’s and father’s eyes is so hard. I feel like I know them. Why? Because their story is so common. My uncle was murdered in cold blood by the police in the 80s. I have a male relative who was brutalized by White corrections officers while incarcerated. Several Black men in my family and in friends’ families have dealt with the wrath and violence of White men and the State.
I could easily know them. That’s why I feel this way. I don’t have to know them though; Black people share the same risks and fates regardless.
One thing this has reminded me of is again, respectability politics is NOT going to save us or protect us. Respectability politics don’t work because bootstrap theory doesn’t work. We are degraded and dehumanized for our race, not our resumes. Trayvon Martin had a father, which in a patriarchal society is consistently posited as the answer to absolutely every sociopolitical problem. His mother is educated, middle class and has a job with the government. Trayvon had a quality relationship with his father who he left momentarily just to get two snacks yet never returned home. He had information in his email box about the SATs and college applications. The myth that his parents’ resumes or even his could protect him is a lie originated in White supremacy and unfortunately absorbed by many PoC. Whites proliferate this lie as well because even as Black people “achieve” “respectable” status, they are STILL degraded. What Black person can compete with the status of POTUS/FLOTUS now…and they are still degraded?
100+the number of "Justice for Trayvon" rallies that took place nationwide on Saturday. Among the largest ones were the New York protest, which Trayvon Martin’s mother (and a few major celebrities) attended, and the Miami one, which his father did. "This could be any one of our children,“ Tracy Martin said. "Our mission now is to make sure that this doesn’t happen to your child.” source
Trayvon Martin’s Parents Were “Stunned” By The Verdict
In their first public appearances since the weekend’s verdict, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, parents of Trayvon Martin, appeared this morning for interviews on both CBS News' This Morning and ABC News' Good Morning America. Accompanied by their attorney, Benjamin Crump, the couple expressed their continued grief in the wake of the verdict, but declined to answer whether or not they will file a civil suit, as some have speculated.
In both interviews, the parents were asked about how they reacted to the jury verdict that declared George Zimmerman not guilty. “My first thought was shock,” Fulton told ABC News. “Disgust. I really didn’t believe that he was not guilty.” Asked about the jurors, Tracy Martin said, “just as loving parents and God-fearing people, we just continue to pray that whatever was in their heart was what they intended to do. We didn’t feel it was fair."
In one of the most wrenching moments, the couple is asked about Juror B37, who spoke about the trial to Anderson Cooper. "I don’t think she knows Trayvon,” Fulton told CBS News. “Trayvon is not a confrontational person.” The answer highlights a simple fact often obscured in discussion of the case: that no matter how much we talk about or debate the facts of the confrontation, none of us knew Trayvon Martin or what he was thinking before he died. Nor can we.
"I wish they really knew Trayvon for who he was,“ Trayvon’s father said of the jurors. "And knew that he really was a kid. They didn’t know him as a human being.”
“I thought surely that he would be found guilty of second degree murder, manslaughter at the least,” Martin’s mother Sabryna Fulton said on This Morning. “But I just knew that they would see that this was a teenager just trying to get home. This was no burglar. This was somebody’s son that was trying to get home… I was stunned, absolutely. I couldn’t believe it.”
Fulton said the racial profiling was “obvious”:
“We didn’t know details about the case. We knew some of them but some of the details came out in the courtroom as far as previous 911 calls and I think it was obvious that it was a black person, a black young person that they were looking for. But Trayvon simply was not that person. Trayvon was not a burglar. He wasn’t doing anything wrong. He simply went to the store and was headed back home. For somebody to look at him and to perceive him to be a burglar, that is the problem.”
Responding to of Juror B37, who appeared on Anderson Cooper’s CNN show and held that Trayvon was partially responsible for his death, Fulton simply said “I don’t think she knows Trayvon.
"Trayvon is not a confrontational person. Instead of placing the blame on the teenager, we need to place the blame on the responsible adult. There were two people involved. We had an adult who was chasing a kid and we had a kid who I feel was afraid.”
Fulton and Trayvon’s father, Tracy Martin, are exploring the possibility of a civil suit, their lawyer said.
What do I mean when I say this? Well, first, there was Rachel Jeantel. They attempted to pick her apart because she is a 19-year-old Black girl who doesn’t speak “proper English.” Mind you, English is not her first language (and she speaks French, Spanish, Haitian Creole (which is a mixture of languages), and English).
Then, they attempted to do something similar with Dr. Bao, only they couldn’t make him seem like a poor, uneducated girl from the ghetto. He’s the assistant medical examiner and he performed Trayvon’s autopsy. He is a Chinese native. He came here in 1992. He speaks slowly and carefully, so they can understand. He sometimes needed more time to get his points across. The defense would capitalize on that, cutting him off, acting like they didn’t understand some of his points, etc.
They’ve tried to portray Trayvon as that stereotypical young Black thug, who didn’t have a father and wasn’t close to his family.
Yes, the Zimmerman defense has most assuredly utilized racism and maybe even xenophobia in an attempt to beat a case that happened because of one man’s hate and racism.
My apologies I didn’t elaborate more. I will come back to this and make it more clear and detailed.
Trayvon Martin’s father, Tracy Martin spoke to the first ever meeting of the Congressional Caucus on Black Men and Boys, about his slain son and his steadfast refusal to let his legacy be a negative one.
Martin family lawyer Benjamin Crump talked the “Trayvon Martin Act” being added as an amendment to Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law.
He said while lawmakers should discuss the details, the idea would be that if you have a gun and you are the initiator of a confrontation, you can not use a Stand Your Ground defense.
Image by Pool / Reuters
Martin said it hurt him deeply not to be there for his son in his time of need and to be able to save his life.
He said the conversation sparked in households and at the dinner table now is, “What can we do as parents, what can we do as men, what can we do as fathers, what can we do as mentors to stop this from happening to your child. I think that’s where the conversation begins.”
“A lot of people will tell you that nothing positive can come out of death,” he said. “I disagree. I disagree, wholeheartedly.”