This is why the arrest of Trayvon’s murderer was not only critical to avenge his death, but critical to making a stand for Black adulthood, Black parenthood and Black fatherhood. Agitating for George Zimmerman’s arrest was an act of protection of our children–one which we have rarely been able to exercise on behalf of the many thousands gone.
James Baldwin once wrote, “When we fail our children, they seek death.” Our children needed to see us do that for them.
This culture that profiles African American men, that enables stop and frisk, is the same culture that allows police to commit violence against African Americans and to cover up the deaths of African Americans like Trayvon, as the Sanford, Florida police department did. Those unworthy of human dignity, and only worthy of being corralled to meet arrest quotas, inevitably have no recourse for injustices committed against them. Those injustices, even those murders, like Trayvon’s, are rendered insignificant, and those victims, our children and our loved ones, rendered irrelevant and invisible.
This Father’s Day, my son and I will join the NAACP, the National Action Network and over 250 organizations to march to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 1% mansion to demand an end to the stopping and frisking of thousands of young men of color. Our children need to see us do this for them.
We will march in silence by the thousands as an illustration of both the tragedy and serious threat that stop and frisk and other forms of racial profiling present. The silent march was first used in 1917 by the NAACP—then just eight years old—to draw attention to race riots and to build national opposition to lynching.
What do we advise our sons to do to prevent being profiled by the police and others?
What advice could Trayvon Martin’s father have given him to avoid his murder?
This Father’s Day 2012, for a change, our advice will not be meaningless, hollow, or submissive. Instead, we will be silent, but it will be the loudest silence ever heard.
Mark Thompson is the Host of “Make It Plain” on SiriusXM Left 127, M-F, 6-9p ET