The death of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed African American teenager who was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch member in a gated community outside Orlando, FL, remains an unresolved and disturbing incident. The lack of action from the police--despite mounting evidence that the findings of their initial and unconscionably cursory investigation are incorrect--has led to national outrage, online petitions with thousands of signatures, national mobilizations, and a Department of Justice investigation. Unfortunately, Trayvon Martin's death reminds us of a frightening time in our country's history when violent crimes perpetrated against African Americans went unreported or were protected by law enforcement authorities.
Earlier this month, NCLR joined with African American civil rights leaders to march from Selma to Montgomery, AL. We marched against unjust and discriminatory laws that threatened to take away our vote and our civil rights. We marched for a common struggle against a hateful environment that is being sown in not only Alabama, but throughout the United States. It is an environment that says that if you are Latino, you somehow "don't belong" in this country. It is also an environment that says that if you are African American in this country, you don't have the right to walk on the street.
The fact that the Sanford police chose not to fully and thoroughly investigate this incident is unconscionable and unacceptable. From numerous media and witness reports, it seems that the police failed in their most basic and fundamental duty to the citizens they are sworn to protect.
NCLR joins allies in the civil rights community in calling for a real investigation for this grievous failure of justice. We urge members of the Latino community to join the rally taking place on Thursday, March 22 at 7:00 p.m. at the First Shiloh Baptist Church in Sanford, FL to demand justice for Trayvon Martin and to stand for the protections that all Americans deserve.
We commend the Department of Justice for launching a federal investigation into the matter and we urge an exhaustive look into what actually happened and who needs to be held accountable--including George Zimmerman, as well as law enforcement--for that tragic night.