Trayvon Martin Was Killed By The White Supremacist System

[The following speech was delivered by Frank O'Gorman of People of Faith CT
at the "Justice for Trayvon Martin" Rally
in Hartford on Saturday, March 31, 2012.]

We are here today
because we cannot be elsewhere.

We are here today
to unite across race and creed
to say despite our differences . . .
- an innocent life struck down
- a mother's inconsolable anguish
- a father's quiet grief
touches all of us
because though our skin be black, brown, yellow, red or white
our hearts are all the same color.

We are here today
because a life has been cheapened
a sacred and beautiful life
the life of a son of Africa.

A life once filled with promise and dreams
has been disrespected
treated like something to be disposed of . . . and forgotten . . . without a
name.

We are here today to say,
“HOW DARE YOU PROFANE!”
what is holy . . .
a young black man . . .
with a name
Trayvon Martin.

We are here today
because grief by itself is hard enough to bear
but this is a parents' surreal nightmare.

This is whitewashed murder
where the killer becomes the victim

where George walks
and Tayvon is on trial but can't talk:

Black, strike one
Male, strike two
Young, strike three

The crime has become wearing a hoodie . . . “looking suspicious,”
Not racism,
not prejudice
not racial profiling
not stalking
not pulling a trigger at point blank range.
No . . . wearing a hoodie . . . “looking suspicious.

Grief by itself is hard enough to bear:
“First they killed my son, then they killed his reputation.”
I swear, We swear:
IF THERE IS NO JUSTICE, THERE WILL BE NO PEACE!

We are here today
because Sanford is not a thousand miles away.

Sanford is East Haven
where a white police officer shot to death Malik Jones in 1997.
That looks suspicious.

and where for years police routinely profiled, harrassed and assaulted
African-Americans and Latinos.
That looks suspicious.

Sanford is Hartford
where a white police officer shot to death Jashon Bryant in 2005.
That looks suspicious.

In each case the white police officers were acquitted.
Now that looks suspicious.

Sanford is Plainfield
where racist thugs severely beat 16-year old Nashawn Williams in 2008.
That looks suspicious.

No one was charged.
That looks suspicious.

Sanford is New Haven
where students where infiltrated and spied upon for the crime of being Muslim.
That looks suspicious.

Sanford is West Hartford
where janitors at Kingswood-Oxford earning only the minimum wage after 10 years
on the job were fired last December for the crime of speaking Spanish.
That looks suspicious.

Sanford is Middletown
where the owner of a coffee shop assaulted a young customer for the crime of
being gay.
That looks suspicious.

Sanford is Connecticut where African-Americans and Latinos make up 23% of the
general population but 80% of the prison population.
Now that looks suspicious.

Sanford is California where Shaima Alawadi was beaten to death last week for the
crime of being an Iraqi immigrant.
That looks suspicious.

White people in the United States have perfected the art
of blaming the victim
while justifying injustice and oppression
as self-evident, God-given, inalienable freedoms.

Thus we are told
George Zimmerman was acting in self-defense
That he has a right to carry a gun
That he was acting within the law
in being judge, jury and executioner of Tayvon Martin.

We are here today
to expose these lies
these white lies.

We are here to name the true culprit
in the murder of Trayvon Martin:

It is not being Black or wearing a hoodie.

It is the white supremacy system
upon which this nation was founded
and which infects every institution of this society:
the police, the courts, the government, the military, the education system, the
media,
and the economic system where white supremacy
goes by the name “corporate capitalism”;
all of these institutions blessed by a Christian religion
that has been hijacked by white supremacy.

Indeed many white Christians will worship an imaginary white Jesus
on the cross this coming Friday, Good Friday
and be blind and indifferent to the suffering of Christ
in the lives of black and brown-skinned people in the United States
and throughout the world
under the oppressive systems of white supremacy.

We are here today
because we cannot be elsewhere.

We are here today
to speak out.
For if our voices were silent,
these very stones we are standing on
would cry out:

IF THERE IS NO JUSTICE, THERE WILL BE NO PEACE!

JUSTICE FOR TAYVON!