ColumnistsMarian Wright EdelmanOp-EdOpinion

Child Watch: Justice Denied

Marian Wright Edelman
Marian Wright Edelman is president of the Children’s Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life.

By Marian Wright Edelman

NNPA Columnist

 

Until the killing of Black men, Black mothers’ sons, is as important as the killing of White mothers’ sons, we who believe in freedom cannot rest.
– Ella Baker, Leading Mentor of Black Youth, including the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in the 1960s
Trayvon Martin will forever remain in the annals of history next to Medgar Evers and Emmett Till as symbols for the fight for equal justice for all. 
– Benjamin Crump, lawyer for Trayvon Martin’s parents
(2013)

 

The reaction to the not guilty verdict from George Zimmerman’s jury was swift and strong. Young people poured onto the streets in peaceful protests in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. By 3 a.m. more than 100,000 people signed an online petition urging the Justice Department to pursue civil rights violation charges against George Zimmerman.

The outrage over the killing of an unarmed Black teenager who was doing nothing wrong must continue until some semblance of justice is achieved. People who want to keep faith in American justice feel uncomfortable, upset and disheartened. Where is the justice if walking while Black is enough to get you “stopped and frisked” in New York City and fatally shot in Florida with its senseless violent “Stand Your Ground” law that allows people to defend themselves with deadly force anytime and anywhere they imagine they are or say they feel threatened even if they are the stalker?

Many decades of struggle and progress to eliminate racial profiling, arbitrary arrests, unfair sentencing, imprisonment and criminalization of Black males at younger and younger ages are being reversed by determined special interests like the gun lobby putting profits before the most basic American civil rights. The National Rifle Association and their allies, including the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), determined efforts to support and pass “Stand Your Ground” and other destructive laws to protect guns rather than children perpetuates the epidemic of gun violence, especially for Black male teenagers like Trayvon Martin.

Black children and teens were 17 times more likely to die from a gun homicide than White children and teens in 2010. Since 1963, 59,265 Black children and teens have been killed by guns — more than 17 times the recorded lynchings of Black people of all ages in America between 1882 and 1968.

What made a Black male teenager in a hoodie walking home in the rain appear suspicious and “up to no good” in George Zimmerman’s eyes? Would he have stopped a White male teenager? Isn’t it long past time that we have a candid conversation about how we can create a post-racial America for our children and grandchildren beginning today?

Let us refuse to be silent. If Trayvon Martin’s parents had been silent and other voices had not joined with them, George Zimmerman never would have been arrested and never would have been brought to trial. Let us continue to refuse to be silent until all the George Zimmermans of this world are deterred and held accountable for vigilante justice against Black males. Let us refuse to be silent until the killing of Black mothers’ sons is as important as the killing of White mothers’ sons. Only then will we have a post-racial America.

Marian Wright Edelman is president of the Children’s Defense Fund whose Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. For more information go to www.childrensdefense.org.

Tags
Show More

Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, CDF has become the nation’s strongest voice for children and families. The Children's Defense Fund’s Leave No Child Behind® mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities. Mrs. Edelman served on the Board of Trustees of Spelman College which she chaired from 1976 to 1987 and was the first woman elected by alumni as a member of the Yale University Corporation on which she served from 1971 to 1977. She has received over a hundred honorary degrees and many awards including the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Prize, the Heinz Award, and a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship. In 2000, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and the Robert F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award for her writings which include: Families in Peril: An Agenda for Social Change; The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours; Guide My Feet: Meditations and Prayers on Loving and Working for Children; Stand for Children; Lanterns: A Memoir of Mentors; Hold My Hand: Prayers for Building a Movement to Leave No Child Behind; I'm Your Child, God: Prayers for Our Children; I Can Make a Difference: A Treasury to Inspire Our Children; and The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation.

Related Articles

Back to top button

My News Matters to me - Washington Informer Donations

Be a Part of The Washington Informer Legacy

A donation of your choice empowers our journalists to continue the work to better inform, educate and empower you through technology and resources that you use.

Click Here Today to Support Black Press and be a part of the Legacy!

Subscribe today for free and be the first to have news and information delivered directly to your inbox.


By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: Washington Informer Newspaper, 3117 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave SE, Washington, DC, 20032, http://www.washingtoninformer.com. You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
Close

Adblock Detected

Please consider supporting us by disabling your ad blocker