Graves filled with the tears of parents – Trayvon Martin remembered

‘Time,’ writes Lee Jasper in The Voice this week (http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/we-are-trayvon-martin-stand-your-ground-against-racism) ‘to find these retired marching boots from the bottom of your wardrobe. We are marching again and just like in times of old we are marching for justice, equality and fairness.’ He invites everyone who can to join a demonstration in London tomorrow in solidarity with the parents of Trayvon Martin, and with black parents in white societies everywhere. ‘Too many of us,’ he continues, ‘have looked into graves filled with the tears of parents.’

‘Why should any society,’ asks Gus John (http://www.gusjohn.com/2013/07/when-stephen-met-trayvon/) ‘presume that it is held together by liberal democratic values and principles … when from childhood every African heritage person born in that country learns that they carry an ethnic penalty that restricts their freedom of movement and access to opportunity and that they forget that fundamental fact at their peril?’

‘The denigration of dark skin,’ writes Reni Eddo-Lodge (http://renieddolodge.co.uk/, 15 July), ‘infects us as soon as we’re touched by society. I remember being very young and asking my mum when I would turn white, because even at five I understood that being black was a thing that was quite wrong and abnormal, something to avoid if you could … I’ll cry for Trayvon today, and fight tomorrow. Alice Walker said activism is the price she pays for living in this world. So if you’re dedicated to critical antiracism, then you and I owe it to Trayvon and the hundreds like him to continue speaking about race and racism, to continue going against the grain, to chip away at this ugly violent status quo whilst we’re here.

In the United States, Greg Palast (http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/17752-open-letter-to-trayvons-father-sue-zimmerman), writes of Zimmerman: ‘There’s only one way to put this monster out of business: Justice can only come out of the barrel of a lawsuit.’ Cornel West speaks passionately not only about Florida’s gun laws but about the criminality, as he sees it, of the Obama administration’s use of drones and torture (http://www.democracynow.org/2013/7/22/cornel_west_obamas_response_to_trayvon).

‘What are white folks to do?’ asks Claudia Horwitz (http://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/claudia-horwitz/what-are-white-folks-to-do-some-thoughts-on-trayvon-martin-case). She writes: ‘Shocked and not entirely surprised. Heartbroken and fired up. A swirling cocktail of grief, anger and outrage … And amidst it all, a deep sense that nothing I am feeling could compare to what people of color are experiencing … Now is an opportunity to check ourselves through some honest reflection and let that process lead us to thoughtful action – which we need to do if we are going to keep working to dismantle a system of white supremacy that permeates every corner of our legal, economic, political, relational and cultural lives.’ She gives various practical suggestions, and links to about 20 useful websites. There’s a broadly similar approach at the Charter for Compassion website (http://charterforcompassion.org/news-and-events/article/239).

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