57 years after the murder of Emmett Louis Till, who would have thought that we would find ourselves once again confronted with the never healing sore of Injustice?
Just like many, I found out about the Trayvon Martin tragedy online after a good friend sent me an email, expressing his disappointment about how the case was being handled. As I learned more, I found myself struggling trying to hold back the transgenerational pain that exists in the depths of my soul.
For the past 17 years of my life, I devoted my passion to helping those who can no longer speak for themselves: the young, the old, the persecuted - those who have been affected by Injustice. But after hearing the urgent cries for justice in this case, it immediately brought me into a whirlwind of emotions. I quickly gathered myself and pondered what I can to personally contribute to what I believe to be an atmosphere for teaching and, most importantly, understanding.
As I watched Trayvon's mother speak out to the media, I couldn't ignore the resemblance of the same actions taken by my dear friend, the late Mamie Till-Mobley, when she lost her son, Emmett Louis Till, during the "Bloody Summer" of 1955. But, if you look a little closer, Travyon's mother, Sybrina Fulton, not only represents the loss of her son but also many other families who are looking for justice.
The practice of racial profiling has been going on for generations, and there have been many lost souls who have died from this immoral practice. However, the time has come to evaluate our humanity, to shift the paradigm of the Trayvon Martin tragedy to something more positive.
With the resurgence of race hatred being spewed into the atmosphere, it brings me back to my many conversations that I shared with Mamie Till-Mobley. This beautiful specimen of a woman had endured so much pain and never had a bit of hatred in her heart. I can remember the conversations that we often had about her love for man and womankind and the hope she had that one day human beings would get it right.
"Keith, you must never let Emmett's death be in vain and you must continue to tell his story until man's consciousness is risen. Only then there will be justice for Emmett Till."
Until this day, the many things that my late friend instilled in me surface during these troubled times.
Will Travyon Benjamin Martin's death be in vain? Will we finally get it right?
While George Zimmerman waits for his day in court and the Martin story begins to fall from the grace of the media, what should we do to keep the momentum of the "Hoodie Movement" going?
I, unfortunately, witnessed a number of so-called movements that ended with no result, when it was no longer the "in" thing to do. We, as people - no matter what color - must not let this moment pass us by. We must do all what we can to keep the pressure on and not only raise Trayvon's name up in solidarity but the many other names that suffered the same fate.
Emmett Louis Till
14-year-old black Chicago youth murdered in 1955 for whistling at a white woman in Mississippi. Two men were arrested but later acquitted in the court of law by an all-white, all-male jury.
23-year-old Guinean immigrant in New York City who was shot and killed on February 4, 1999 by four NYPD, plain-clothed officers who had mistaken Diallo's wallet for a gun. Diallo was shot 41 times.
While celebrating on the morning before his wedding in Queens, NY, Sean Bell and two of his friends were shot a total of 50 times by a team of both plain-clothed and undercover NYPD officers. The officers would later be acquitted in a court of law.
On January 1, 2009, an Oakland California BART police officer fatally shot Grant after responding to reports of a fight taking place on the Bay Area Rapid Transit train. Grant and several other passengers were detained when the shooting occurred. On July 8, 2010, Officer Mehserle was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two years in jail.
The energy behind the "Hoodie Movement" should never fade, and we should continue to seek justice -- not only through the local authorities but also our lawmakers who support the "Stand Your Ground Laws" and practices that would continue to allow tragedies of this nature to happen.
I think we all need to take a page from Mamie Till-Mobley's book: to never lose sight of what mankind can accomplish together and to combat the reoccurring social ills of society.