This past Saturday, a jury found George Zimmerman not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter after murdering Trayvon Martin in Sanford, FL in 2012. Following the ruling, 2013 Stowe Prize Winner and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness Michelle Alexander posted the following on Facebook:
If Trayvon Martin had been born white he would be alive today. That has been established beyond all reasonable doubt. If he had been white, he never would have been stalked by Zimmerman, there would have been no fight, no funeral, no trial, no verdict. It is the Zimmerman mindset that must be found guilty - far more than the man himself. It is a mindset that views black men and boys as nothing but a threat, good for nothing, up to no good no matter who they are or what they are doing. It is the Zimmerman mindset that has birthed a penal system unprecedented in world history, and relegated millions to a permanent undercaste. Trayvon, you will not be forgotten. We will honor you - and the millions your memory represents - by building a movement that makes America what it must become.
They say that we should just work for "reform" -- tinkering around the edges of this corrupt system and that we ought not delude ourselves into thinking that something truly transformational is even possible. Clearly these cynics and naysayers don't know the Dream Defenders. These brilliant and bold young people are getting ready to rock our world. They're connecting the dots between immigration, mass incarceration, Trayvon, slavery and back again. Check out the video, and if you still lack faith and hope, watch it again. And yes, it's possible to have fun while building a movement. Joy is allowed, as the end of the video shows.
- Michelle Alexander
What will you do to take action? We encourage you to comment on this post to share your thoughts and ideas, and join a safe and open conversation.