Jill Stein: Shameful, heartbreaking Trayvon Martin verdict calls for action

July 13, 2013
Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala

In the hours following this heartbreaking verdict, we stand together in sadness and solidarity with Trayvon Martin and countless other victims of racial violence in all its forms. We share the pain, despair and fear this ruling brings to millions of African American parents who must now worry all the more for the safety of their children.

Today’s court decision found George Zimmerman innocent of murdering an unarmed youth whom Zimmerman pursued and shot without provocation. The decision is, by implication, a guilty verdict for all young African American men who dare to walk the streets of America.

This verdict says black youth are legitimate targets for any racist thug. It effectively gives the perverted vigilante a license to hunt down black youth, and when they fight back, to kill them in “self defense”. This is a mockery of justice.

George Zimmerman’s defense lawyer urged the jury not to “connect the dots” in the case against Zimmerman. In fact, the dots connect themselves.

It takes the blindness of racism not to see the direct line that connects the armed vigilante pursuing a random innocent victim, to the confrontation that ensued, the fight that broke out, the shot that was fired, and the death that resulted.

The dots to be connected don’t stop there, of course. Trayvon’s murder is inextricably linked to the hundreds of other recent African American slayings by police, security guards and vigilantes.

These dots connect to the millions of African American and Latino victims of racial profiling by police, like New York City’s “Stop and Frisk” program that subjects innocent men, women and children to humiliating, often violent illegal searches on the street.

These dots connect to the millions children of color across the nation condemned to underfunded schools and perverse high stakes testing. The ongoing massive closure of these schools are themselves linked to the bipartisan budget cuts required by the devastating tax giveaways handed out to corporations and the rich who fund establishment political campaigns.

The victims of this education injustice then pass through the school-to-prison-pipeline through which one of every three African-American males emerges condemned to prison, probation or parole.

These same children thrown into the school-prison pipeline are also put at grave risk by the predatory lending of too-big-to-fail banks that targeted their families and communities. These banks have robbed African American neighborhoods of 90% of their wealth, immersing them in unfathomable poverty and hopelessness.

And all these dots connect to the countless victims of unemployment that afflicts African Americans at twice the rate of the general population, and ensnares an astounding 95% of African American youth that have been unable to complete high school.

In the wake of this ongoing tragedy, we must stand in solidarity with all the victims of racial injustice in all its forms – in our courts, on our streets, our schools, in predatory foreclosures and unemployment. It’s time to end all of this injustice.

Despite the protestations of Zimmerman’s lawyer, all these dots connect. And the picture they draw is one of a dangerous, armed, divided nation, with African American children caught in the crosshairs.

In this hour of grief we come together. In the memory of Trayvon Martin, we must stay together. Let this travesty of justice be a call to build justice in all dimensions of society where it is denied. Let us settle for nothing less than the peaceful, just, caring community that Trayvon, African American youth, and all members of the human family deserve.

Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala serve as President and Vice President of the Green Shadow Cabinet of the United States.

Article source here.