Trayvon Martin’s murder was an opportunity for the country to reaffirm its principles to equal protection for all under the law. With a different verdict, this case could have marked a turning point for American’s racial justice system. Instead it represents yet another failure of that system, which sided with racist vigilanteism over the lives of young people of color.
Voces de la Frontera stands with the NAACP and other civil rights organizations in condemning the verdict, and calling on the Justice Department to immediately conduct an investigation into the civil rights violations committed against Trayvon Martin.
The decision to acquit George Zimmerman for stalking and killing Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black teenager, sets a terrible precedent, and has a deep implications for youth of color in the United States.
“This sends the message to any violent, or racially discriminatory person that if they see someone they consider to be “suspicious”, they can go out and shoot them – even an unarmed child,” says Serjio Anguiano, a leader with Voces’ multiracial youth arm, Youth Empowered in the Struggle (YES).
In response to the verdict, youth across the country are organizing actions to challenge institutional racism. The students of YES will be joining with other local groups to organize a response in both Milwaukee and Racine.
“Sadly, I’m not surprised. It’s just another reminder that we have to keep on fighting for equality,” says Alexia Gates, also of Youth Empowered in the Struggle.
Milwaukee is no stranger to racially-motivated crimes. We will be watching closely as the trial begins here today for last year’s murder of 13-year old Darius Simmons, who was shot to death while taking out the trash on the south side.
“We will not stand by idly as youth of color are subject to random, and unchecked, acts of violence,” added Gates.