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

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

But our son’s 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


  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.

  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….