As the anger from the George Zimmerman acquittal coalesces into a desire for action, many people are wondering: What can I do to help get justice for Trayvon?
Should we be out in the streets, chanting and holding banners? Or perhaps our outrage would be better exorcized with our wallets, donating money to worthy causes that are fighting for justice?
There is no limit to the ways each of us can get involved to ensure that the world hears our collective cry and understands that we will not rest until someone is held accountable for stealing the life of Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin’s son. And in fighting for Trayvon, we must push the cause even further to protect all our children. We must also stand against the scourge of gun violence that continues to snatch too many of our young people; we must fight to repeal Stand Your Ground laws that exist in more than 30 states across the country; we must press our public officials to fix a criminal justice system weighted in bias against African-Americans.
For concrete suggestions on actions that each of us can take on behalf of our children, EBONY went to the Rev. Al Sharpton, who has been a galvanizing force in the case from the day Trayvon’s parents called him for help just weeks after their son was shot and the Sanford, Fla., police refused to arrest his killer.
If anybody understands the power of public pressure, it’s Sharpton, who has been using it for the past 40 years to fight on behalf of people of color who have been mistreated and denied justice.
“Public pressure absolutely works,” says Sharpton. “It was public pressure that led to the special prosecutor being appointed in the first place in the Zimmerman case. In fact, without public pressure nothing happens in the criminal justice system for Blacks.
“This decision puts every child at risk,” he says of the jury’s acquittal of Zimmerman. “Any child can be interfered with going home for committing no crime. That’s the bottom line here. That must be [addressed].”
To read the rest, check out the September issue of EBONY.