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Numb. Heartbroken. Infuriated. Helpless. Sick. These emotions and so many more overwhelmed me in the hours following George Zimmerman’s acquittal. Only hours before, I inadvertently saw the Gawker photo of Trayvon Martin’s lifeless body lying on the grass on Facebook. Young, lanky and beautifully brown, he could’ve been my brother, my cousin, my future son. He could’ve been me. And the jury’s verdict told the world that his life, our lives, have no value in the eyes of the law.

Trayvon should be a year older now, having lived to see his beloved Miami Heat win a championship and move forward with the college applications he was in the process of sending. Instead, his mother must grapple with the pain of losing her youngest son and see him vilified, painted as a monster and denied justice even in death. It’s easy to be infuriated, numb and heartbroken. But it can’t stop there. Something must be done.

This morning, I woke up eager to take action. Here are just a few ways we can stand up for Trayvon:

1. Sign the NAACP Petition

The civil rights organization posted a petition on their site calling on the Justice Department to prosecute Zimmerman for civil rights violations. It reads: “The most fundamental of civil rights — the right to life – was violated the night George Zimmerman stalked and then took the life of Trayvon Martin. We ask that the Department of Justice file civil rights charges against Mr. Zimmerman for this egregious violation. Please address the travesties of the tragic death of Trayvon Martin by acting today.” Sign here.

2. Contact local government officials to call for the removal of “Stand Your Ground” laws in every state.

The stand-your-ground law states that a person may justifiably use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of an unlawful threat, without an obligation to retreat first. The “Stand Your Ground” law disproportionately give whites more favorable opportunities to kill blacks as whites who kill blacks in Stand Your Ground states are far more likely to be found justified in their killings than blacks.  In regard to the tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s killing, the police initially did not charge Zimmerman with a crime, citing Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law.

3. Vote.

It’s easy to skip out on elections until you realize just how important they are in deciding the fate of our country and impacting our day-to-day lives. Be informed about local elections and get out and make your voice heard. It was local politicians that put the “stand your ground” law into effect.

4. Serve on jury duty.

Most people go to great lengths to get out of jury duty, but the outcome of the George Zimmerman trial proves that more than ever, we need a presence on that jury pool. As annoying as jury duty may be, it provides us with the opportunity to stand up for justice and make a difference in racially-biased cases.

5. Support the Trayvon Martin Foundation.

Created by Trayvon’s parents, the Trayvon Martin Foundation was borne to uplift families hurt by violent crimes and spread awareness on the impact such crimes have on the mourning family. It also teaches young people how to solve issues without resorting to violence. You can help further their mission by donating $10 by texting TMF to 50555, donating any amount here and shopping at the online store.

6. Boycott

Reader Liddy commented yesterday: “Might I also suggest, finding out who top donators were Zimmerman’s defense and isolating them/ boycotting them if they are celebrities or CEO’s of big corporations.” Hitting these figures in their pockets will certainly make a difference.

How are you taking action in the wake of the George Zimmerman verdict?

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  • Adriana Bevery Jones

    Funny how you only chose to quote part of the article. As the mother of a biracial child, I hate any and all who wish to cause a divide between the races. The article above and the article quoted is complete BS
    “Additionally, there are far fewer white-on-black shootings in the FBI data — only 25 total in both the Stand Your Ground and non-Stand Your Ground states”. The quoted area was only a few lines lower than what you quoted. What is your agenda, what is your purpose other than to incite imaginary racial tension and imaginary racism that is not there. Zimmerman is not a white guy any more than Obama is a white male, any more than my daughter is a white female, at least according to the Black community. This makes me sick to read this.

  • Linda Ruiz

    Why must one have to go through an experience to realize what is wrong here. Seems that unless it is our “son” that got killed – is when it hits home. There was an injustice here – white on black or whatever, it was not right for this young boy to get killed. Racial, you bet. You will not understand unless it is your boy – then you will open your eyes. An injustice is an injustice. Zimmerman is not white and not Hispanic, he is a racist. Being Hispanic, I do not acknowledge him as a Hispanic. Hispanics (I) are people of color, and that is what I am. He not only was a wanna be cop but a wanna be white, trying to ignore what he really is like his brother. And for those others just like him like Geraldo on FOX News, another wanna be white, speaking against justice for Trayvon, is another ignorant person. I can understand ignorance from those that are white, but from people of color – god help them with your prayers.