We didn’t mourn with the family from the church pews when 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was sent to his homecoming with God. We had not yet heard of his name. We couldn’t stop the one shot fired on that drizzling night in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012. We, too, were watching LeBron, Kobe and D. Wade on our television.
We didn’t raise our voices when the man who pulled the trigger was allowed to sleep in his own bed the night he ended the life of the young man from Miami. We hadn’t yet heard the news. But, soon enough, we were awoken by emails and tweets, Facebook posts and phone calls, petitions and calls for marches of a million hoodies led by young people from around the world who would not let the death of this young Black man become another statistic in the Sanford Police Department log book.
Over the next 16 months, the rallying cries from our generation would lead a movement for justice and peace that has arrived at the Seminole County Courthouse steps ready for the murder trial of George Zimmerman. The trial will be watched by millions and discussed by every news network in America. However, if it wasn’t for the work of young people we might not have ever arrived at this day.
From small towns to big cities, from elementary schools to law libraries, from intro-mural teams to professional athletes, the call for justice was deafening. Quieting the chatter that we had given up or no longer care or lost interest, we marched on. Silencing the critics of our generation who believe we are lazy, entitled and narcissistic, we kept up the fight.
This is a moment of definition, a defining moment for our generation that is critical to who we will become. No matter what name a magazine, politician or critic wants to label our generation, we know that we take care of our own. Whether it is gay couples who want to marry, undocumented students whose dreams should not be limited by their location, soldiers who deserve to come home from war to a country that embraces them, or young Black men who should be allowed to walk freely through any neighborhood in this nation, our generation will do everything in our power to make this America the most beautiful.
For our ugliness rained drops of death on Trayvon Martin the night he lost his life. We know that we failed him once, but we will never fail him again. In his name and his memory, we will wear our hoodies to work, to school, to play on the first Monday morning of his trial and inspire our friends, relatives and enemies to keep the fight for justice alive.
Traveling to Sanford, Florida Sunday night for the opening days of this trial, I promised to deliver all of the well-wishes to the family of our fallen comrade. I also promise to deliver the news of this trial in real-time, as the outcome of this case will forever be part of the history of our journey.
Proud of our persistence and confident of our commitment, I know that my generation will stand with Trayvon until the very end. Our brother, Trayvon, rests in peace, but we will not rest until we find peace for all.
Michael Skolnik is the editor-in-chief of GlobalGrind.com and the political director to Russell Simmons. Follow him on twitter @MichaelSkolnik.