21st Century Lynching with Impunity

17-year-old Trayvon Martin’s life was taken away from him a few weeks ago in a gated community in Florida simply because of the color of his skin. On his way back from picking up a pack of Skittles and an iced tea at the local 7-11, he was shot dead by 26-year-old George Zimmerman, who was a part of the neighborhood watch group and found Trayvon “suspicious.” Trayvon was wearing a hoodie and carrying a pack of Skittles, unarmed.

To date, Zimmerman has not been arrested nor charged with any crime.

A petition has been circulating on Change.org for the last week or so, calling on Florida prosecutors to charge Zimmerman with the murder of Trayvon Martin. In the last few days, the mainstream media has picked up on the story.

In a message sent through Change.org today, Trayvon’s parents said:

Our son didn’t deserve to die. Trayvon Martin was just 17 years old when he was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. Trayvon wasn’t doing anything besides walking home with a bag of Skittles and some iced tea in his hands.

What makes Trayvons death so much harder is knowing that the man who confessed to killing Trayvon, George Zimmerman, still hasn’t been charged for Trayvons killing.

Despite all this, we have hope. Since we started to lead a campaign on Change.org, more than 500,000 people…have signed our petition calling for Florida authorities to prosecute our sons killer.

Our campaign is already starting to work. Just last night, the FBI and Department of Justice announced they were investigating our sons killing. Newspapers around the globe are reporting that its because of our petition.

But our sons killer is still free, and we need more people to speak out if we want justice for Trayvon.

We aren’t looking for revenge, we’re looking for justice — the same justice anyone would expect if their son were shot and killed for no reason.

On Wednesday, which happens to be the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, tens of thousands will be protesting throughout the country in the “Million Hoodies March,” demanding justice for Martin’s family and an end to racial profiling. In 2012, we still live in a country where young black men are assumed to be suspicious solely because they are young black men. Wear a hoodie and walk through a nice neighborhood and you might just be shot dead.

The entire situation makes me nauseous. The only thing worse than the fact that this this blatantly racist murder happened is that it was done with complete impunity.

Sound familiar?

Impunity is a word we Sikhs know very well, as there was a time not so long ago in India when wearing a turban meant you are a suspect, a terrorist, a target, and thousands were murdered. With impunity, to this day. And while of course there are great differences between the anti-Sikh pograms and the murder of Trayvon Martin, not to mention Ramarley Graham, Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo and countless other unarmed black men murdered by actual cops, the parallel is worth making.

Hopefully the brutality we have suffered as Sikhs will propel us to action in solidarity with Trayvon Martin’s family and all those who are deemed suspects, criminals, thugs, or dare I say, terrorists, simply because of the color of their skin or the hoodie/skullcap/hijab/turban on their heads.

Sign the petition to demand justice for Trayvon Martin’s death, and find a Million Hoodie March in your area.


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18 Responses to “21st Century Lynching with Impunity”

  1. randep says:

    Is The Langar Hall seriously bumping down The Global Movement for Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana post for this? The protest has


    • randep says:


      Is The Langar Hall seriously bumping down The Global Movement for Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana post for this?
      Wow. This is getting ridiculous.

    • Blighty Singh says:

      The fact that they've given you a total of minus 5 points for stating what every other Sikh on earth would feel is testament to the strange kind of 'Sikhs' that inhabit langarhall. They are Sikhs….but not as we know 'em Jim.

      • brooklynwala says:

        i'm impressed by your ability to speak for every sikh on earth.

      • Sundari says:

        We don't give anyone "points" – other readers do. So perhaps that's an indication that many people can't relate to what you and Randep are suggesting. Don't forget that the Gurus wanted Sikhs to stand up for the rights of ALL people, just as they did. If that makes us Sikhs of the Guru – then we're happy about that.

      • At the risk of piling on, Sir Blighty:

        When I wrote about Sikhs who were murdered in California last year, you complained that the story was not local enough for you. You complained about the Sikholars conference on some twisted logic that the organizers of the conference were responsible for you not being able to get a travel visa from the UK. Now, when Sikhs write on the topic of a murder that involved racial profiling/stereotyping (a significant issue that Sikhs are facing all around the world), you again complain that it is not relevant enough. I would be interested to know what is that sliver of topic range that you find would be appropriate discussion in a Sikh-oriented arena. It's obvious you complain for its own sake.

        One of the strengths of TLH is that is takes a Sikh perspective on many issues of the day. It helps us develop a practical and real-world view of the issues we all face or see in the news from a Sikh perspective. This is lacking in many of our spaces.

        Blogs are forums for discussion. If a topic doesn't interest you, don't comment. If you have nothing to add to a discussion, vacuously complaining doesn't add value either. People in a langar hall, for example, discuss many things directly and tangentially related to Sikhi. We should feel free to explore all topics with a Sikh lens, directly or indirectly related to Sikhi, as they were.

    • Sundari says:

      How does your comment make ANY sense? You think the struggle for Bhai Balwant Singh Rajoana is simply fought with a blog post? Many of TLH team will be protesting alongside their sangat at the Embassy in SF this Friday. I'm sure you'll fine a way to criticize that too.

      TLH will continue to cover issues that affect all of humanity, because as Sikhs we should be affected by how others are treated too. Stop coming back and reading TLH if you find such an issue with what we blog about.

      • Blighty Singh says:

        Why would I criticise it Sundari ? As usual, your a bit late with everything, I've been among the many thousands of sikhs demonstrating outside the Indian High Commission in London 2 days ago. At the drop of a hat, with2 hours notice, Sikhs from all over the country dropped what they were doing and made their way to the High Commission. Obviously whilst you were still at the planning stage of your little demo next friday, seeing what dates you have free in your diary.
        This racist killing in Florida…..things like that happen everyday to different people in Paris, London, Rome New Delhi etc. Are we all to start threads about it each time it happens ? If we are, then there will be precious little time and space to discuss any 'sikh' issues on what is supposed to be a 'sikh' forum. If the rest of us had begun to do what Brooklynwala has been doing, and made thread after thread about local black issues in our own neighbourhoods, both you and he would have, by now, posted a message exactly the same as the message by Randeep and myself. Enough is enough. We get it. Brooklynwala's got a soft spot for blacks and islamic ritual meat. We get it. We're just sick of constantly hearing about it. Its a 'SIKH' blog. Lets just try and keep things sikhi related.

  2. brooklynwala says:

    furthermore, why is it that so many in our community see sikh issues or human rights issues in india in competition with the struggles other communities face? it's not a competition. we'll never be free until everyone is free. our struggles are interconnected.

    • @taranjs says:

      True indeed! Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere – Martin Luther King Jr.

    • Suki says:

      So when are you gonna speak out about all the black on black crime, or what about the 13 year old white kid in kansas that was nearly lit on fire by a pair of 16 year old black old teanagers who attacked him cause he was white[ I wonder why you won't blog about that]

      I'm sorry Brooklywana, but I think you need to blame your parents for ruining you life for making you grow up in the evil racist country that is America. Just image how much better your life would be if you had grown up in one of the one of the muslim majority countries you love so much. Since we all now how well non-muslims are treated in muslim countries.

      • jodha says:

        Dear Suki, you're right that crime should be condemned, but I think you are missing the larger point. Crime occurs and there is a system that attempts to stop it. What makes this case so outrageous is that the very people that were to prosecute the crime, in some way participated in it being condoned.

        Sure we could write about every crime case anywhere in the world, but the point here is that there is a structural problem in the law that condones some crimes and condemns others. There should be equal prosecution in both cases.

  3. jodha says:

    A fresh post is coming on Bhai Rajoana – learn sabar @randep and @blighty

    Thanks for highlighting this @brooklynwala – Sikhs in the US and throughout the world have a huge stake in the movement behind around this case. The image of the keshadhari Sikh male in particular arouses fear, suspicion, and anger not only in our own community, but also in Europe and her colonial settlements (US, Australia, etc.). Largely this is related to Muslimophobia. Are we to wait for a murder against a Sikh by an armed man that felt 'threatened' by his mere presence, before we galvanize into action?

  4. Carolyn Coffey says:

    Killing for no reason should have justice.. He followed him & the police told him not to.. Killed a person for just walking.. He need to have his life delt with….

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