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  • Writer's pictureDavid Carlson

1057: Shine, is made of magic, love, healing and grace — like so many other Black children

Day 1057: Monday, Feb 6, 2023

Shine, is made of magic, love, healing and grace — like so many other Black children denied their humanity

Trayvon Martin was killed by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida, on February 26, 2012.

Today we remember this young man who was killed while walking through his neighborhood. The day is necessarily somber. The urgency of #Justice4TrayvonMartin turned into a global urgency to fight for Black lives — one which persists today.

What we acknowledged as a nation during the one-and-a-half year trial of George Zimmerman is that the white majority’s public imagination of Black people was based on their fear of us, not the reality of who we are.

Trayvon Martin was a teenage boy literally walking in his own neighborhood doing what most teenagers do: Wearing a hoodie, buying snacks and talking on his cell phone. His family and Trayvon would not know that his life would end that night.

The senseless attack on Trayvon’s life reignited a movement across the globe and pushed us to acknowledge the worth of a generation that has been historically disenfranchised. Trayvon and his generation have been served incarceration, low-wage no wage jobs, over-policing and laws that criminalize our every day in this country.

His murder and the acquittal of George Zimmerman left us with a sharpened clarity about what we stand for, and how we should stand up for Black lives. The phrase — black lives matter — that would turn into a hashtag, a political platform and then a global decentralized network ushered in a new way of fighting for Black lives and thus American democracy.

Many of us believed that Black Lives Matter would move this country to not only reckon with white racism but to usher in new laws and practices that would curb vigilantism and law enforcement violence. But, instead, white nationalism was nurtured and began to take root among some of the American people.

Civil rights in this country is not enough to resolve the atrocities this country has waged against Black people. We need to fight for a new human rights movement that recognizes and values Black life.

Our fight must challenge white supremacist and state violence; otherwise, we will face the complete erosion of American democracy.

We organize so that the world knows that my child, Shine, is made of magic, love, healing and grace — like so many other Black children denied their humanity. We organize marches, disrupt major highways, set up tent cities at police headquarters and charge the stages of elected officials in honor of Trayvon and others we have lost unnecessarily and too soon. We build electoral justice tables and develop movements that can develop new political leaders. We are working to do everything in our power to save America and defend our humanity.

This is what Trayvon represents, and so much more. We pray and we organize, so that his life and the lives of other Black people have not been taken in vain.

By Patrisse Cullors: an artist, organizer and the author of "When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir." She is the cofounder of Black Lives Matter and founder of Dignity and Power Now.

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