Two Years Since the Murder of Trayvon Martin

The Dogs Are Still in the Streets

by Carl Dix | February 10, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


February 26—two years since the vigilante murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Two years since Trayvon went to the store for iced tea and Skittles and encountered George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch member and wannabe cop, on the way back. Zimmerman saw Trayvon’s Black skin and hoodie and decided he “was up to no good.” He shot and killed Trayvon in cold blood.

This murder took us back to the murder of Emmett Till almost 60 years ago by some white men who thought he had done wrong. And back to the days of lynching when white mobs could grab any Black person and murder them for any reason, or for no reason at all. And back to slavery when Black people were considered property to be used and abused, to be worked, whipped, murdered and raped at the whim of their masters. These white supremacist criminals were NEVER punished, and their actions delivered a message that Black people had no rights that white people were bound to respect.

As news of Trayvon’s murder spread, outrage built. Thousands of people took to the streets demanding justice. Many more people wondered what it meant that, although Zimmerman was found standing next to Trayvon’s dead body, he wasn’t arrested and put on trial. Weeks of nationwide protests forced the authorities to back up and charge Zimmerman with Trayvon’s murder.

Many expected this would lead to justice. But the system worked the way it has worked since the days of slavery and the days of lynching. Trayvon’s killer walked free, and the system flashed a green light to every cop, every racist and every wannabe cop that it is open season on Black youth. Now it’s two years later, and the dogs are still in the street. A mother still needs to fear that every time her son steps out the door, it could be to meet the bullet of a cop or a racist vigilante. More than ever, it is time to take a stand.

The MURDER of Trayvon Martin

Let’s go back to what happened on that day. Zimmerman called the local non-emergency responder and reported Trayvon as a suspicious character. As he waited, he told the operator that “These assholes always get away.” Zimmerman made sure this one didn’t “get away.” He stalked Trayvon, confronted him and shot him dead at point-blank range.

The cops came onto the scene and found Zimmerman standing next to Trayvon’s dead body. They took him to the station, got his story and let him walk free! They drug-tested Trayvon’s dead body, but didn’t test the killer for drugs.

Houston, Texas, March 25, 2012. Photo: AP

The outrage and protest that spread nationwide over this murder forced the system to arrest Zimmerman and put him on trial. But in the lead-up to the trial, things got turned upside down. Trayvon had been demonized in the media, becoming not an unarmed child who was targeted, stalked and killed, but someone who had been suspended from school and been in trouble before, as a thug who made Zimmerman fear for his life. And Zimmerman, the armed stalker, became a noble neighborhood defender who was forced to kill Trayvon because he was in fear for his life.

And the trial itself was a straight-up travesty of justice. It was like Trayvon was the one being put on trial, not Zimmerman. The court invoked a rule developed to prevent prosecutors from removing Black people from juries to block the prosecution in this case from removing whites from the jury. The result of this was a jury that was almost all white and had NO Black people! This jury included a woman who felt there was something wrong with Trayvon being out after 7 p.m. and another with a cop relative. This was a case that was about Zimmerman targeting and murdering Trayvon because he was Black, but the judge ruled that the prosecution couldn’t use the term “racial profiling.” Yet the defense was allowed to put on a witness to tell of having been robbed by two Black youth. What the hell did that have to do with Trayvon’s murder!

The cops that the prosecution put on the witness stand did such a good job of telling Zimmerman’s story that his defense didn’t need to have him testify and face cross-examination. And Rachel Jeantel, who was on the phone with Trayvon as he was being stalked by Zimmerman and as he was shot dead, and was the witness who spoke the most truth about what happened that night, got ridiculed in court and in the media for the way she talked, how she looked and her righteous anger at being dogged by Zimmerman’s lawyer. Zimmerman was found not guilty. He literally got away with murder!

Compare this to the way the white men who murdered Emmett Till walked free after the lily-white jury deliberated for all of one hour. And how the white mobs that lynched thousands of Black people in the days of the old Jim Crow never faced trial at all. Amerikkka had once again delivered a message that Black people had no rights that white people were bound to respect. It had underscored the reality that youth like Trayvon would live their lives with a bull’s-eye on their backs; one that cops, and any racist, could use for target practice.

This verdict underscored the way this country has criminalized Blacks and Latinos, especially the youth. It is at the heart of racial profiling policies like stop-and-frisk that put young people on a trajectory of going in and out of prison. It is a feature of the warehousing of 2.3 million people, more than 60 percent of them Black or Latino, in prisons in the U.S. It is concentrated in the way that more than five million former prisoners, again disproportionately Black and Latino, are treated as less than full human beings after they’ve served their sentences. The vigilante murder of Trayvon had everything to do with the genocidal program, including mass incarceration that this country’s rulers have unleashed against Blacks and Latinos.

Cincinnati, Ohio, March 26, 2012.

In response people hit the streets in cities across the country. Black and Latino youth defiantly and righteously called out this lynching verdict. Parents in tears held their children and wondered how to tell them that this verdict meant a potential death sentence hung over their heads, one that may or may not be carried out. People of all nationalities, including many white people, joined the protests saying they couldn’t stand by in silence while Black people were mistreated like this. People of all nationalities raised the cry that “We are all Trayvon!”

What can you say about a system that sanctions the murder of innocent, unarmed youth for no reason other than the color of their skin? What can you say about a system that has confronted whole generations of Black and Latino youth with futures of hopelessness? What can you say about a system that treats these youth like they’re guilty until proven innocent, if they can survive to prove their innocence?

Such a system is no damned good! It’s illegitimate, and must be done away with as soon as possible. A big part of getting ready for the time when that might be possible, and working to bring that time about as soon as possible, is: fighting the power, and transforming the people, for revolution. Mobilizing masses to stand up and fight back against the system’s attacks. And bringing to them an understanding of the source of these attacks—the capitalist system—and what it’ll take to end them once and for all—revolution.

We don‘t have to put up with this system and all the other horrors this system enforces on humanity—the vicious assaults on women, the massive government spying, the wars for empire, the ravaging of the environment and more. Things don’t have to be this way. We can end all these horrors thru revolution, communist revolution. In Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) who has brought the science and method of revolution and communism to a whole new level, we have the leadership needed to make this revolution. The RCP has a strategy for getting ready and in position to make revolution in a country like this when the time is right. And we are building a movement for revolution that people who hate the way they and others are forced to live need to get with.

In that spirit, on February 26, two years since the murder of Trayvon, we must take up the call from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network for a Day of Outrage and Remembrance for Trayvon. Take to the streets and engage in other forms of resistance everywhere on that day. We must raise our voices to declare “We Are All Trayvon! The Whole Damn System Is Guilty!”

We must act today as Michael Dunn, the white man who murdered 17-year-old Jordan Davis in Florida because he felt Davis's music was too loud, goes on trial; as the killer of Renisha McBride, who was shot dead as she sought help after her car broke down, awaits trial in Detroit; and as Marissa Alexander, the Black woman who got a 20-year jail sentence for firing a warning shot to defend herself against her ex-husband who threatened to brutalize her, fights to get that sentence overturned. We must do this not only in memory of Trayvon, but for Andy Lopez, Ramarley Graham, Jonathan Ferrell, Jesus Huerta and all the others dead at the hands of the police. And for all the youth forced to live their lives with a bull’s-eye on their backs.

To all the people who were outraged at the murder of Trayvon and the exoneration of his murderer and are still angry but who haven't been in the streets since the trial, to others for whom these events may have receded from memory—join us in the streets and in acting in other ways on February 26. Youth shouldn’t be criminalized and demonized. Whether people live and how they live shouldn’t be determined by the color of their skin. Add your voice to those sending a message on that day that: THIS IS INTOLERABLE AND MUST BE STOPPED.




Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.