07/15/2013 03:32 pm ET Updated Sep 14, 2013

Trayvon Martin: A 21st Century Case Study of Race in America

On the night of Feb 26th, 2012, in a conversation with a 911 dispatcher in Stanford, Florida, George Zimmerman said, "These assholes always get away ... We've had some break ins in my neighborhood, and there's a real suspicious guy ... looks like he's up to no good or he's on drugs or something."

The dispatcher asked Zimmerman: "Are you following him?"

Zimmerman: "Yeah."

Dispatcher: "We don't need you to do that."

In his Sunday sermon yesterday, the Rev. Dr. Raphael G. Warnock, senior pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, said, "Trayvon Benjamin Martin is dead because he and other black boys and men like him are not seen as a person, but a problem."

The acquittal of George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin Case provides us with a "Case Study of Race in America in The 21st Century." When are we as nation going to have the courage and honesty to have a national town hall discussion about race in the United States?

The Trayvon Martin verdict now joins a line of seminal historic events defining race relations in America:

  • U.S. Supreme Court Dred Scott Decision, 1857
  • Emancipation Proclamation, 1863
  • Plessey vs. Fergerson, 1896 ("separate but equal')
  • Brown vs., Board of Education, 1954 (outlawing racial segregation in public education)
  • Dr. King's 'I Have A Dream' Speech to 250,000+ people, March On Washington, 1963
  • Voting Rights Act, 1965
  • Kerner Commission Report, 1968 ("Our Nation Is Moving Toward Two Societies, One Black, One White -- Separate and Unequal")
  • Election of Barack Obama, as first African-American president of the United States, 2008
  • Shelby County vs. Holder, June 25th, 2013 (Section 4b of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 declared unconstitutional)

There have men numerous comments in the media about the acquittal of George Zimmerman. In several cities across the nation people have demonstrated in opposition to the verdict.

Trayvon Martin's killing by George Zimmerman, on the basis of "self-defense," will be lost or diminished as an instructive template for a sustained national dialogue about race today in the United States unless practical steps are immediately initiated to assure such a dialogue, ASAP.

Anyone who objects to the verdict by communicating through the social media or by "demonstrating" in peaceful protest at one or more venues across the country, who is not registered to vote, at the time of such communication or protest, denigrates the memory of Trayvon Martin.

Responsible ownership and use of guns, including background checks, and fostering non-violent resolution of the inevitable conflicts that will occur among us, whether racially motivated or not, will not be achieved unless those who seek to honor Trayvon Martin acquire the political power to do so.

Being a registered voter and exercising your vote, in a state primary or a general election, and demanding an end to gun violence is the most effective way to insure that more young black lives are not extinguished by a gun shot.