riot for trayvon martin

i first read the story of trayvon martin on the crunk feminist collective blog, which everyone should be reading.  and then i heard it had made it into the mainstream news.  and then today i heard the 911 calls play on democracy now.  three yells for help, clearly from 17 year old trayvon, then two gunshots, then silence, then other news.

i couldnt hear anything else that was playing for awhile; couldnt follow the other stories at all.  until the sound of lamenting white men came across the radio waves and broke through the wall of horror i’d built up around myself.  73 OWS demonstrators were arrested last night or some night or something and a white male voice was speaking the horrors.  and while it was horrible, something in his sheltered experience of horror made me angrier than anything else i’d heard earlier in the program.  then not much later i heard george clooney speaking about how he’s just asking the sudanese government to stop killing, raping and starving its citizens.  i wanted to laugh in that maniacal way of someone who’s had enough, or really too much.  instead i went spinning again, full of a rage that made me want to punch and break things and scream.

it made me think of all the people who called the tottenham riots senseless.  it made me think of my falling out with occupy charlottesville.  it made me think of this picture i’ve kept on my computer for awhile, calling for riots for oscar grant, another black man killed, simply because he was black.  today, in 2012, in the united states of america a white man who has a record to prove he cant be trusted to act reasonably when on his neighborhood watch duties, is free after killing a 17 year old black boy who had nothing suspicious on him unless you consider skittles and iced tea threatening.  police are using a flimsy ass “self defense” argument to justify their inaction even though an eye witness stated that trayvon was the one calling for help and despite the fact that the 911 dispatcher told george zimmerman NOT to pursue trayvon on his own.  and then the motherfucker did anyways.  but i’m sure he’s innocent, i’m sure he only acted in self defense.

we talk like we live in a world that can be reformed into justice.  we talk like we’ve made leaps and bounds since we were lynching black people in trees in this country.  we talk like we dont have to face issues of racism, classism, sexism, etc. because its divisive.  when will well meaning white folks wake up and realize that our issues arent at the core of what is really wrong in this world?  when will we stop and realize that actually there are people living every day in a war zone they call home.  where their sons and brothers and daughters and mothers are constantly under attack, where they arent safe, where they experience economic violence, police violence, racial violence and all manner of other violences every fucking day.

i am furious tonight.  furious that anyone who comes from a place of privilege has the audacity to tell young men and women that their fierce anger about living in constant fear of being considered “suspicious” because they are not white skinned, and that they could be killed for being “suspicious” is senseless.  furious that even our american version of revolution is lost in the hands of
reform minded white folk who consider addressing our own deep rooted and well internalized oppressions a strategy of division meant to side track any real work from happening.  furious that we are still letting men and women of color die entirely as a result of their skin color.  furious that there is no accessible form of recourse against these gun toting vigilantes.  furious that more people arent furious.

let me add some names to rest alongside trayvon martin and oscar grant.  1) brian fillmore, 2) danroy “dj” henry jr (the cop who killed dj was later given the “cop of the year” award), 3) luis mendonca (beaten into coma WHILE handcuffed), 4) jesus manzo, 5) deaunta farrow (12 years old-shot to death), 6) clarence beard, 7) kwende williams (shot three times, kicked and called a n***** by cops after shot, paralyzed), 8) billey joe johnson, 9) reginald doucet, 10) raymond robair, 11) connell lindsey, 12) bryan jones, 13) danny rodriguez, 14) henry glover, 15) john t williams, 16) carlos la madrid, 17) jermaine williams (tasered to death), 18) sylvester villasana, 19) emmanuel o okutuga, 20) audrecas davis (tasered to death), 21) david arnulfo lopez, 22) decarlos moore.  this is not an exhaustive list.

are you still reading??  are you angry yet??  did you know that someone could be tasered to death??  did you see that a 12 year old had been shot to death??  we cannot reform this world into justice.  we have to destroy whole systems while creating new ones, we have to untangle our own internalized and institutionalized oppressions, we have to stand up and riot.  riot for trayvon, whose 17 year old, scared voice will haunt my dreams tonight.  riot for clarence beard.  riot for danny rodriguez, riot for jermaine williams.  riot for the men and women who havent died yet but will.  because cops have guns and more often than not immunity.  because the whole system is standing behind a “self defense” argument and we dont know who’s going to die next.  rioting because men and women are being killed for being black and brown and their murderers are going free is not senseless.  sitting back and letting this system kill those men and women is more than senseless.  it’s complicity.  it’s violent.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Bri
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 01:12:30

    I am raging with you and for them.


  2. randomronirantings
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 04:04:50

    I am angry. Because In the not so distant future that boy could be my son. The mainstream may be late in this, but something I’m seeing that I didn’t before is a growing frustration. Seem have already reached their boiling points, but others need a little more… Idk something. All I’m saying is the time will come, soon I’m thinking.


  3. Viveca Motsieloa
    Mar 20, 2012 @ 09:08:27

    I’m freaking angry too. I’m furious at those who are not angry! This is not going to stop unless we stop it!


  4. Sara Tansey
    Mar 21, 2012 @ 00:50:50

    check it out:

    i’ve been od’ing on joshua bennett lately and he speaks about so many things in this piece.


  5. Dillon
    Mar 22, 2012 @ 04:13:02

    For the record, Zimmerman is hispanic not white. And yes there needs to be justice. Why isn’t this being taken to court!?


    • Sara Tansey
      Mar 22, 2012 @ 12:37:03

      i think he’s actually half latino, half caucasoid. but youre right, he is definitely not just white. and i think that the reason he’s not being taken to court is because he presents as white in our society. the cops are CLEARLY covering up for him, going so far as to tell witnesses that the cries for help THEY heard were actually george zimmerman. even though anyone listening to the 911 tapes can tell their trayvons cries for help. yuck.

      and getting this thing to trial would be great, but what do we achieve? can we litigate racism out of existence? we need to be doing something else. people are mad as hell and i think it’s time that people felt the other side of this story. that vigilantes and cops killing black or brown boys fear for themselves if they make that decision. i dont know exactly what i want. riots, clearly. i want this collective anger to be expressed. i want people to understand that it is a LEGITIMATE response to the cold blooded murder of trayvon and all of the other black and brown men and women who die in the same way.


  6. paxus
    Apr 03, 2012 @ 01:53:40

    Perhaps this is old news now, but the cops are not necessarily covering for him, but instead they are bound by this ridiculous “Stand your ground” law which the gun lobby has passed, over the objections of many police departments that lets people respond with force if they feel threatened.

    What is informing since this post went up is the national uproar about this has started grand jury investigations and very well attended protests. Just as the Occupy movement has helped force money out of banks, the backlash of Trayvon may well be the repeal of these silly laws which can allow murders to go free.

    This is separate and harder to crack problem of police gunning down unarmed people, especially non-white. i believe cop murders is far more frequent and far more insidiously covered up by the police than this crime. And it seems like there is some, tho granted smaller, discussion of this problem growing.


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