A Photo, a Poem and a Petition for Trayvon Martin

A huge travesty of justice has occurred. Please remember: "The song of the life triumphant/ Through the kids who die."
Publish date:
July 15, 2013
trayvon martin, langston hughes

Protests filled the streets and the Internet this weekend following the horrendous "not guilty" decision in Florida in the George Zimmerman trial for his admitted cold-blooded stalking and killing of unarmed youth Trayvon Martin.

Subsequently, the Internet blew up.

I would feel inadequate writing anything of my own, so I point to these three tributes which inspired me in the face of a mind-boggling injustice that Zimmerman is now going to walk free.

1. I loved this photo of Martin Luther King Jr. in a hoodie that went viral.

Incredibly simple, but God does it profoundly articulate the #HoodiesUp protests that swelled across the country this weekend.

2. I felt moved to action by this petition which immediately launched online.

This petition from the NAACP demanding justice caused the Web site to crash so many logged on, reading: "A jury has acquitted George Zimmerman, but we are not done demanding justice for Trayvon Martin. Sign our petition to the Department of Justice today." There are nearly half a million signatures so far. Make it a half a million and one now:

Open a Civil Rights Case Against George Zimmerman Petition

3. This poem articulated grief better than anything else I read.

Thank you to RYOT for posting it after the verdict. It is from Langston Hughes, and it expresses the outrage and sadness and senselessness -- but also the hope found within that outrage -- so many feel in their hearts right now. Even if you have read it before, I urge you to read it one more time.

Kids Who Die

By Langston Hughes

This is for the kids who die, Black and white, For kids will die certainly. The old and rich will live on awhile, As always, Eating blood and gold, Letting kids die.

Kids will die in the swamps of Mississippi Organizing sharecroppers Kids will die in the streets of Chicago Organizing workers Kids will die in the orange groves of California Telling others to get together Whites and Filipinos, Negroes and Mexicans, All kinds of kids will die Who don’t believe in lies, and bribes, and contentment And a lousy peace.

Of course, the wise and the learned Who pen editorials in the papers, And the gentlemen with Dr. in front of their names White and black, Who make surveys and write books Will live on weaving words to smother the kids who die, And the sleazy courts, And the bribe-reaching police, And the blood-loving generals, And the money-loving preachers Will all raise their hands against the kids who die, Beating them with laws and clubs and bayonets and bullets To frighten the people— For the kids who die are like iron in the blood of the people— And the old and rich don’t want the people To taste the iron of the kids who die, Don’t want the people to get wise to their own power, To believe an Angelo Herndon, or even get together

Listen, kids who die— Maybe, now, there will be no monument for you Except in our hearts Maybe your bodies’ll be lost in a swamp Or a prison grave, or the potter’s field, Or the rivers where you’re drowned like Leibknecht But the day will come— Your are sure yourselves that it is coming— When the marching feet of the masses Will raise for you a living monument of love, And joy, and laughter, And black hands and white hands clasped as one, And a song that reaches the sky— The song of the life triumphant Through the kids who die.