The tragic shooting of 17-year-old African American Trayvon Martin by 28-year-old George Zimmerman, a man of mixed race (White and Hispanic), while Martin was on his way home from a Sanford, Florida 7-11 in February 2012, set off a firestorm of emotionally-laced opinions and heated discussions. The case set the stage for what was one of the most anticipated, high profile and racially charged TV trials since O.J.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch coordinator for the gated community Martin was residing in, claimed he shot Martin in self-defense after he saw the hoody-wearing teen "looking suspicious."
Unfortunately, Martin wasn't alive to tell his side of the story, and after a trial lasting from June 10th to July 13th, 2013, a jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter charges.
TSL posted several passionate and compelling pieces following the verdict. J.R. Gamble's commentary, "Black In America: The Devaluing of Trayvon Martin's Life," was an angry and spirited assessment of how the Zimmerman Verdict reveals the prehistoric attitudes towards the value of a young African-American male's life in America:
The bizarre “not guilty” verdict the jury of six women in Sanford, Florida blessed child-murderer George Zimmerman with, leads to more questions and uncertainty about the worth of a young, black life in America.
Was the value of Trayvon Martin’s life diminished as soon as he came out of the womb, just because he was black? Or was he just the victim of a random jacked-up situation?
And after another verdict that reinforces the social, political and financial disparities between blacks and whites, where do we go from here?
Prior to the stunning verdict, black people around America flooded social media with threats to riot and make noise if Zimmerman was not given the guillotine.
It’s doubtful any of them thought he’d actually get acquitted because once the verdict hit, people seemed too shocked to forge any big-time protests or emphatic commotion. An eerie silence settled over Black America on Saturday night.
What spoke loudly were the messages being sent throughout our country regarding a janky verdict with long-lasting effects on society…
A highly-publicized case such as this, with so much at stake, gives a loud-and-clear assertion that black men are fare game. You can hunt them down like wild dogs and then fall back on America’s racist fabric, as a cushion against facing justice.
CONTINUE READING: BLACK IN AMERICA: THE DEVALUING OF TRAYVON MARTIN'S LIFE