I am a pretty avid social activist, though I don’t often blog about my activities. I do what I do out of a sense of social responsibility and not as a means to have something to present to the world. The breadth of my community involvement ranges from domestic violence and youth empowerment to immigration and LGTBQ rights, human trafficking, AIDS awareness, and community development. And that’s just the short list.
I, like much of the rest of the country, have been watching the events surrounding the tragic death of Trayvon Martin. For those of you
living under a rock unfamiliar with the case I urge you to research it. It’s a quick Google search. But I digress.
Not unlike many I am extremely horrified at the murder of this young man and the lack of justice being done on his behalf. Yet for me it’s more than the issue of racism, domestic terrorism, and the blatant hate crime. This case hits too close to home.
I have a younger brother.
My brother is not much older (maybe about a year) than Trayvon Martin was. Hoodies are a common part of his wardrobe, he’s known for walking or riding his bike places by himself, and he lives in a White neighborhood. As I watch this case unfold I am confronted with the reality that what happened to Martin could have just as easily happened to my brother.
The thought both terrifies me and hurts my heart. My brother and I are extremely close and I can’t imagine him getting hurt, let alone being harmed or killed. But I guess that’s what makes these things so tragic–the fact that everyone believes that it can’t happen to them.
Well it can.
When I look at this single incident I can’t help but to see the bigger picture. When I think of any social injustice I don’t just picture the one person or group of people involved. I consider entire communities. As much as we don’t like to acknowledge it, we are all interdependent. Nothing happens to one without it affecting all, a fact we must fully understand if we are to ever move towards real social progress. It is for this reason that I volunteer at a domestic violence shelter without ever having been a victim of domestic violence. It is for this reason that I aligned myself as an ally of the LGBTQ community long before I transitioned into being a part of it. It is for this reason why I’ve marched against anti-immigration laws, attended protests in neighborhoods I don’t reside in, and supported countless causes that don’t directly affect me. For the simple fact that they could affect me.
Trayvon Martin could have been my brother. He could have been me. He could have been you.
Now think on that.
The poets organization I’m a member of has joined with the Las Vegas community to put on a rally in support of justice for Trayvon Martin. I encourage any locals to come out and support this event as we work to raise awareness about this tragedy.
Date: March 31st, 2012
Location: Martin King Blvd & Carey (Dr. King Statue)