I attended a rally for Trayvon Martin earlier today. I prepared a few remarks in case I had the chance to speak. I didn’t, which was fine, as there were many others with their own worthy things to say. But I thought I’d transcribe it here. Some pictures are included after the jump.
Were George Zimmerman’s acquittal merely an error, or even a genuine case of “proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt,” we would not be out here. We are out here because a lack of justice is pervasive in our society, and a black boy being shot and killed without repercussion is not an anomaly. Tomorrow it will be a police officer, the day after that gang violence. Yesterday, our black brothers and sisters were reminded that—in the eyes of the law—their lives are worth less than those of us with lighter skin.
The writer bell hooks coined a phrase that is accurate, if awkward: the imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. Even if George Zimmerman had been found guilty it wouldn’t have altered the fact that we live in an imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, and that it is right to resist this system no matter the outcome of any individual trial. All injustice is interconnected and I won’t belabor the point with a list of terrible things happening in this country, but we are the 99% was a cry that spoke to this truth.
However, we have been brought out here, to this park, today, because of a specific case and kind of injustice. For some of us, we are out here because we see the fate of Trayvon Martin and see a fate that could easily befall us or our children. For some of us that does not apply—we will never have to fear being shot or sent to prison because of the color of our skin. I count myself as a person like that and I am here out of solidarity, that although the world we live in is not just, that does not mean that it cannot or should not be. I am here to offer my support, but I recognize that what happened to Trayvon Martin is unlikely to happen to me.
It is important to recognize, I think, that all of us gathered here are interested in the pursuit of justice. After all, most people—the vast majority of people—are not out here, and we should keep that in mind.