February 5, 2018, would have been Trayvon Martin’s 23rd birthday. Yet, we have largely moved on in America. As new causes, oppression groups and hashtags have come to dominate news reports and social media posts, the life of Trayvon Martin and what its ending meant for all of us has faded out of vogue. I mean no disrespect to other groups who need a fight for them, but I am most concerned with the Black American fight that is still facing delegitimacy on a daily basis.
I have my own thoughts about why this is, why a fiery explosion of furor and activism erupted only to carry on today by a small group of enormously dedicated or intimately affected stalwarts, why the most our national leadership says about the loss of Black lives is in degradation of Chicago for its death tolls, but that is an essay for another day. Today, I want to encourage remembrance of a young man I never met but felt like I knew anyway.
I am reminding myself how much everything mainstream society condemned about Trayvon Martin, to ultimately blame him for his own death, were the sweet and normal traits I recognized in my Black male little brother, father, other relatives, friends, loves, and classmates.
I am unhappy this young man is gone, so we will never know what his future accomplishments would have been to our nation and world, and his family.
I am reminding myself that before I walked into a meeting to hear about something going on in Florida, even I had gotten lazy and complacent and (I suppose) privileged to not pay as much attention to the ongoing genocide of not just Black men and boys, but women and girls as well. I am remembering I was ashamed a young brother had to die for me to wake up, quickly. I remember now so I will not forget again.
Because of the unimaginable loss for family and friends of Trayvon, we have a bevy of national organizations sparked and dedicated movement now. Don’t be apathetic or content; you can get involved through them, for a ready-made community to navigate these painful waters with. They include The Trayvon Martin Foundation, Black Lives Matter, Mothers of the Movement and the longstanding American Civil Liberties Union. And of course, you may simply reflect quietly and privately or with a group, on these stellar titles that illuminate their readers about his life and this struggle. Share them, especially with young people whom we need to brace and embrace in these challenging times for them.