Hoodies Up! Where Are We Since Trayvon Was Murdered?

Trayvon Martin, in an undated photo, wearing glasses at what appears to be a party.  The young man would have been 18 years old February 5 (Courtesy: Global Grind via Justice For Trayvon Martin on Facebook)

Trayvon Martin, in an undated photo, looking solemn and studious wearing glasses at what appears to be a party or gathering. The young man would have been 18 years old February 5 , and justice is still elusive on his behalf, and for his family and friends (Courtesy: Global Grind via Justice For Trayvon Martin on Facebook)

Here are Trayvon’s parents, interviewed by Piers Morgan a day or so ago:

George Zimmerman, the killer of Trayvon Martin, is still walking around a nominally free man, but he has to wear disguises for fear of being recognized and perhaps, of being jumped, harmed and even killed.  Paranoia, perhaps, but it could turn out to be real.  All, in spite of being on 24-hour GPS watch until the trial commences in June 2013.  He has now packed over 100 lbs. more onto his small frame, probably from all the stress, and no doubt, from all the lying.  Zimmerman still talks to supporters on his website, and his parents have set up a website as well.  Both cajole the public for funds for Zimmerman’s defense and for living expenses for his family.  This month, he’s been able to rake in about $28,000 after an appeal by one of his attorneys, but essentially the man is broke.  Even if he goes free, he will be barely able to squeeze out a living in the States.

Additionally, one of Zimmerman’s brothers, Robert Jr., has become an advocate for his brother, especially in going out  and trying to present the family’s bona fides to to the Latino community, when initially Zimmerman and his family had been depicted as being white or were understood to be white.  When that failed, his white father the retired magistrate insisted, sometimes using some troublesome terminology, that his children could be termed as part-black, and therefore George could not have been acting on racism.  I thought what the father said was a crock.   Zimmerman’s mother is indeed Peruvian, and a grandfather has been identified as being Afro-Peruvian.

Even so, black Latinos have also experienced racism and discrimination in their home countries, despite speaking the same language and having some of the same customs, so to me, this means nothing.  Living in Virginia, or in particular, any Southern state where one is bi- or tri-racial, is still fraught with problems for immigrants of color and their children of color navigating race and class.  The standard—as always—is to fit in as much as possible as white, or failing that, middle-class. Robert’s efforts, to me,  is a way of driving a wedge between blacks and Latinos stateside who also wear hoodies and who also get jacked up by cops.  But that is where the similarity ends.

Zimmerman’s upbringing as a supposedly good, Catholic white and Latino boy who had “respect” for all colors in a mostly white environment may not be what it appears to be; his good works among blacks in public may not stand up to the scrutiny of what is said and felt at home among relatives and even close friends.  The Smoking Gun related last year that a Zimmerman friend told police during an interview that George Zimmerman did not have a great childhood:

The friend told investigators that Zimmerman was estranged from his family, and that his “very strict and dominant mother” hit him “all the time” when he was growing up.  Zimmerman’s father, the man added,“did not stick up for the kids as they were abused by their mother.”

In reading about some of the incidents in his life prior to his shooting Trayvon—losing a fight in elementary school, allegedly molesting a girl when they were both children, getting into a bar fight and having to enter rehab for alcohol abuse, as well as having an ex-fiancée say that he had a foul temper and abused her to FBI agents—George Zimmerman seems emotionally damaged.  That’s who I believe Trayvon Martin confronted that awful night in February, 2012. An emotionally-damaged man.

As far as I am concerned, Robert Jr. is simply trying to find another avenue of support for his beleaguered family and to get financial support and assistance for his brother, despite his brother’s previous clandestine efforts to sequester funds from the court—in order to escape prosecution—and run to Peru. 

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, along with Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, at the candlelight Vigil in Union Square, New York, marking the first anniversary of her son's death as well as the first Hoodie March called in his name (Courtesy: )

Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, along with family lawyer Benjamin Crump (right, behind), and beside Georgetown professor and MS-NBC commentator Michael Eric Dyson at the candlelight Million Hoodies Vigil in Union Square, New York, on February 26, marking the first anniversary of her son’s death as well as the first Hoodie March called in his name (Courtesy: Getty Images )

In September, new forensic evidence revealed that Trayvon’s DNA was not found on Zimmerman’s gun, thus putting the kibosh to Zimmerman’s claim that the youth was trying for the weapon when Zimmerman shot him in self defense.  However, Zimmerman’s defense team vainly continues to try at anything that will stick to the wall.  They’ve tried to depose Trayvon’s girlfriend, Witness No. 8, who was talking to him on his cell phone when he was confronted and attacked by Zimmerman.  They successfully subpoenaed for  Trayvon’s school records and social media posts, and recently, they asked that Benjamin Crump, the attorney for Tracy Martin and Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, give a deposition and be questioned on the witness stand regarding Witness No. 8.  This aimless and useless line of defense was also denied.  Despite a recent motion for a delay, the trial is still scheduled for June 10, 2013.

Tuesday night’s commemorative vigil in New York was attended by Trayvon’s parents, and actor-singer Jamie Foxx, who has been publicly supportive of their efforts.  Foxx also showed up at a peace walk in Trayvon’s name earlier this month in Miami, Florida.   Hundreds, rather than thousands, came together in Union Square to remember the Florida youth, and to keep their hoodies up.  For Sybrina and Tracy, they will fight to the end for justice for their son, and to restore his good name and character.  Particularly for Sybrina, as a black mother, this cannot have been a great year for her.  Jaharvis Fulton, his older, college student brother, had this to say to Trymaine Lee:

But for the anniversary of his brother’s killing, Fulton talked openly in a rare interview with MSNBC.com about the past year and the slow burn of grief. Fulton has called the year’s journey a “whirlwind” of “some good things, some bad things, highs and lows.”

“We never signed up for this,” Fulton said of the circumstances of his brother’s killing, and the call to action his family has lead. “I don’t know what else to compare it to. I just think we’re getting by, doing the best we can.”

He says God has helped the family stand steadily in the public gaze. His father Tracy is often stoic, his voice heavy as he talks of wanting justice for his son. His mother Sabrina seems wracked with the kind of emotional burden that only a mother could know. And almost always with wet eyes.  But for Jahvaris, there seems to be a kind of quiet emotional steadiness.

“I guess maybe I haven’t come that far along,” Fulton said. “I don’t talk about it that much. I have conversations in my head about it and I listen to other people. It’s like you’re trying to wait for it to come out, but you’re trying to counsel yourself through it.”

Demetrius Martin, the older surviving brother of Trayvon Martin, at the February 9 March for Peace in Miami, FL (Courtesy: Getty Images)

Demetrius Martin, a surviving brother of Trayvon Martin, at the February 9 March for Peace in Miami, FL (Courtesy: Getty Images)

For Sybrina Fulton, it has been one day at a time:

Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother, has spent the year trying to heal and working with other families whose children have been killed. She tells parents about her experience and lobbies for changes in “stand your ground” laws across the country.

“The first six months, we were crying a lot,” Fulton said. “But we can’t continue having our kids die for no reason. We have to come up with some plan to stop this violence. I don’t know if it’s gun control or educating people with guns.”

Dozens of people gathered in Union Square Park Tuesday to mark the night Trayvon was killed. Many in the large crowd carried signs displaying the late teen’s face, small white candles, and wore hoodies during the chilly, rainy event.

Surrounded by supporters, Trayvon’s parents, both donning black hoodies, and their attorneys reiterated their interest in seeing the murder case against George Zimmerman move through the courts. The two parents thanked supporters and blew out candles at 7:17 p.m., the exact time Trayvon died.

Meanwhile some well- known faces, Jamie Foxx and Michael Eric Dyson, also spoke through megaphones at the park.

“It’s the one year anniversary of the forced martyrdom of a young man who sought nothing more than to exercise his right to breathe and exist,” Dyson said, later calling Trayvon a “hate crime victim.”

Foxx later added that people should think of Trayvon as a typical teen who enjoyed his family and adolescent activities.

“The simple thing is allow the court system to work and allow a person to have their day and trial,” Foxx said.

Umph. I’m sure Foxx said this to chill out others who are far more angry and less skeptical of the system.  (And the prosecution, headed by the hard-nosed Angela Corey, cannot be relied upon to truly mete out justice.)  However, Zimmerman and his family, and Faux Noise and the right-wing commentary claque haven’t waited for judgment to be rendered, as Public Enemy founder and activist Chuck D. and his wife U.C. professor Gaye Theresa Johnson pointed out during  appearances on a CNN morning show segment.

Chuck dismissed the thought of supporters of Martin’s bereaved family were “quick to make a judgement.”

“I think the emotion happened to be in step and in line with what’s been happening the last umpteen amount of years, with black youth also being disconnected from the tools that they need just to be able to live like all the other youth,” he said.


“In terms of letting the trial play out, we’re talking about a grown armed man who shot an unarmed child,” Johnson told Costello. “Regardless of race, I think letting the trial play out is one thing, but peoples’ sense of justice and scale is another.”

Focusing on whatever prejudices Zimmerman might have, Johnson continued, misses a bigger issue.

“What is it about a young black boy with a hoodie on that makes everybody feel threatened?” she asked. “It’s easy for us to get caught up in the details of, you know, ‘Did the Skittles look like a gun?’ or ‘Was he imposing?’ But the fact remains that every message in our society tells us that a figure like that is a threatening one, if he’s black.”

I think that Trayvon’s murderer bought all those messages about the threatening black guy to the point where he couldn’t delineate between a child trying to get home in an unfamiliar neighborhood in the rain (and trying to get away from a stalker—Zimmerman). A stalker who time and again called police dispatchers about black prowlers in the gated community to the point where they even knew his name.  A stalker who wouldn’t listen to police directions not to follow the youth and went out on his own to be some kind of hero.  Or rather, a legend in his own mind.  And like other things that Zimmerman has tried to become somebody,  he failed.  This time, spectacularly.

~ by blksista on February 28, 2013.

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