I attended the “Peace in the Hood rally” today (March 26, 2012). The march was a protest against the injustice that 17 year old Trayvon Martin became the victim of on February 26, 2012. Martin was visiting his father in Stanford Florida and was walking to the local “seven eleven” to get some skittles and an Arizona ice tea when he was assaulted by the neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Zimmerman called 9-1-1 because he felt uncomfortable by a young black male walking through the neighborhood with a hoodie and contrary to what the operator advised, he followed the young man and moments later Treyvon Martin became another black youth targeted by a white man. Martin’s death is proof that racial hatred is still present and therefore becomes a nervous condition suffered by the African American race.
The rally a was profound historical moment and success. I say this because for once within the black community, there was no act of violence against one another; everyone gathered in unity against the injustice served to Trayvon Martin and to the rest of us African Americans. Several speaker spoke about the topic of injustice within the community and the world. I was most touched when a man stood up and screamed loudly to the crowd “Treyvon, I want you to rest in peace because the rest of us are fighting for you and we will not rest until justice is served and Zimmerman is incarcerated”. These few words were the dominant force behind my rage and emotional comportment. I began to realize how hopeless our governmental system is and how color is the determinant of whose rights are protected and whose rights are denied.
The injustice of society causes a nervous condition that is incurable. Justice should not be color coded. Anytime a white police officer can get away with shooting an unarmed black 19 year old male (Ariston Waiters) in the face with a machine gun and a neighborhood watchman can get away with shooting a 17 year old for no reason, the legal system is tarnished. The “Stand Your Ground” law which is legal in 24 states allows anyone 18 years of age and older to have a gun license and be armed at all times. The weapon can only be used in the case of self- defense as it was claimed to be in the case of Zimmerman. Due to the racial inequity, the results of the case would have come a lot quicker and been much harsher had Martin been the watchman claiming self-defense or had Waiter been the police officer. For these reasons fear has been engraved within the spirits of the African American race; rather it is loudly proclaimed or inaudibly acted upon, it is present.
One of the speakers constituted the fact that “[t]heir is a death warrant out for all young black men. It is hard to be a black survivor in America”. As I reflect on these words, my anger continues to be ignited and I ask myself why is it so difficult to be me in a place where I did not choose to reside. Everyday another black child is taken away from his or her mother in the backseat of a police car. Everyday a young black male falls victim to the forceful bullet in which he stares down the barrel of injustice. And the law does nothing. The law fails to protect them.
I and everyone that was standing in the crowd of the march are conditionally nervous. The society we live in forces us to be in a state of panic at all times. Faith Ringgold stated during her lecture on Friday (March 23), that “we as black people have to work twice as hard to be half as good”. Her words are opaquely accurate as I glance at the cards being dealt to African Americans by the hands of society and whites. I am nervous about my chances at success as a criminal defense attorney as I take into consideration of who the judge over my cases will be. I am nervous about raising a family to be a product of their environment. I think about the things I will have to warn my future son about that should not be in a child’s concern (like: don’t walk to the store with that hoodie on, someone may look at you suspiciously). I ponder over the education I must inform my future daughter of (like: you will never be as good as a man in any respect in the eyes of society or protect yourself because African American women have the leading cases of HIV/AIDS in this country). I am conditionally nervous that I myself will die at the hands of injustice because I am black.
Nervousness is stemmed from unnatural or apprehensively stressful occurrences. It does not just appear from nowhere without a driving exhilarator. Being conditioned simply means being trained in a certain way or being accustomed to something by forceful influences. Sadly, being conditionally nervous is a part of who we as blacks have to endure.
Treyvon Martin was conditioned to be nervous. Though he was an honor student in his junior year of high school, he was nervous about being placed in comparison to a white mediocre student. Though he was suspended for ten days from school because of an accusation, he is now lifeless due to his appearance. Martin was conditioned in the mentality that he will become another black statistic (which he has). I wore my black hoodie today to represent that I am Treyvon Martin, Troy Davis, and Ariston Waiters. I wear my hoodie to say that I too am being followed and chased down by a watchman. The hood covers my face so that the enemy cannot tell my description and how beautiful and young I am; all that my watchman knows is that I am black. I am a dead person trying to provide life for myself and my people. I too am suffering from the same nervous condition that these three young men died from; simply being black in America. I continue to ask when justice will seek out those wearing the hoodies of blackness.