- Faith & Family
My sincere condolences go out to the family of Trayvon Martin. As a father of two teenage boys, no words can express
what anguish I would feel over such a tragic loss. A loss which others feel too, made evident by the national public outcry surrounding the circumstances of his death. In the words of Trayvon’s father, “Trayvon’s life did matter.” And so, as the parents of Trayvon push on for justice and due process of the law, will the public’s anger be fleeting or will this moment be the beginning of a movement that inspires a new generation of young people to become engaged in political activism in order to fight against the injustices that impact their everyday lives?
This incident is not just about stereotypes or false assumptions — it’s about a political and criminal justice system that allows for questionable public policy to support and allow one to act on their stereotypes and be protected under the law. Right now we have an opportunity to become engaged in the sociopolitical education of young people — a perfect time in which to involve young people to think critically about justice and public policy and learn how to effectively partake in American democracy as full participating citizens responsible for creating positive change in our society. This is important because there will come a time when the lights will dim, the cameras stop rolling and politicians and community leaders will move on to the next issue — the killing of Trayvon Martin will then become a mere whisper. Who will then continue to hold the torch and shine a perpetual light on the injustices perpetuated against young Black males every day in this society?
If adults do nothing and if our youth do nothing, then we implicitly agree with the poisonous policies that hurt our communities, our young people and our collective future. Those conversations that will continue to take place in community centers, barbershops, churches and school cafeterias all across this country should include political education and commitment to justice. To honor the spirit of Trayvon and countless others whose names we do not know, we must continue to have critical conversations and remain committed to taking action to address the pervasive culture that has socially conditioned the general public to stereotype Black men as threats to their safety and to therefore justify the right to shoot at will.
Henry Crespo, Sr., is vice chairman of outreach for the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.
By Henry Crespo, Sr.