Every parent’s worst nightmare is having to bury one of their own children. Losing a son or daughter is undeniably one of the toughest things a person has to go through — especially if that son or daughter is very young. But imagine for a second if this death is sudden; if it’s the result of violence; and if you still don’t know what really happened. To all of the mothers and fathers out there, try to comprehend the pain and agony of watching the killer of your child roam the streets as if nothing happened, and try to understand what it would feel like if the authorities were helping the murderer and not you. What would you think if your teenager (who never hurt a soul, never committed a crime and was a good student) was drug tested after being shot to death while the shooter was not? How would you feel if the child that you raised with love, protected through the years and taught to be an upstanding young man was killed on his way home from buying skittles and an iced tea? Put everything aside, and just for a moment, imagine what it would be like if Trayvon Martin was your son.
It has been almost a month since that tragic evening when Trayvon’s life was cut short. And yet, when people still hear of this case and the ridiculous gun laws that allowed George Zimmerman, the accused shooter, to claim self-defense, they are both shocked and outraged — and rightfully so. Earlier this week, we saw masses gather in New York for a “million hoodies” march to signify the absurdity of the fact that Trayvon may have been perceived as a so-called troublemaker simply because of the way he was dressed. And on Thursday, we at National Action Network joined leaders, clergy and citizens from around the country at the Fort Mellon Park in Sanford, Fla. to show our united support for Trayvon’s family in their fight for justice. We demand that Zimmerman be immediately arrested, that a proper investigation take place, that the Sanford police department be held accountable for their shoddy handling of this case and that the “stand your ground” defense laws be re-examined in Florida and elsewhere.
Thanks to the continued dedication and strength of Trayvon’s parents, their son’s story has been heard around the world. And they have vowed to keep pushing forward and keep this painful incident in the news until they achieve success. We’ve watched people from all walks of life, all races and all backgrounds come out and support Trayvon’s family because they understand the depth and pain of injustice we’ve seen here. Losing their child was terrible and unbearable enough, but to add insult to injury, the Sanford police department and authorities in Florida have allowed the accused murderer to roam freely, in possession of the same weapon that cut this young boy’s life short.
Next week, my own son turns 13. I often worry about what kind of world he will live in and what kind of man he will grow up to be. Will he be able to get a good education, will he continue to stay away from bad influences, will he work towards a successful career, will he one day raise a strong family of his own, and will he find health and happiness? Never in a million years did I think I would be worried about the next time he walks to the store to buy a snack.
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Trayvon Martin’s family is working to prevent another family from having to go through the horrors of what they’ve experienced. So anyone who may not understand why they refuse to give up, just imagine if Trayvon were your son.