Like many Americans, particularly African-Americans, I am deeply disappointed that George Zimmerman has been acquitted of murder and manslaughter charges and is now enjoying his freedom after killing an unarmed, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin whose only "crime" was walking while Black.
Because of Zimmerman's unjustified actions, Martin, who was returning from a trip to a local convenience store when he was profiled by Zimmerman, will never get the chance to celebrate another birthday or experience the joy of earning a high school or college diploma or to even be hugged or kissed by his loving parents. His young life was taken away by a neighborhood watch captain who kept a close watch on African-Americans who had as much right as he had to be in that Sanford, Florida neighborhood.
Zimmerman ended Trayvon's life, but he will not and cannot terminate our unceasing quest to be respected as human beings. We join with the NAACP and other civil rights groups in requesting the United States Department of Justice to continue its investigation into whether Zimmerman violated Trayvon's civil rights when he spewed profanity, followed Trayvon after being told by a police dispatcher not to do so, and fired the fatal shot that killed Trayvon's dreams and those of his family.
Regardless of whether further charges will be brought against George Zimmerman, all Americans have an obligation to Trayvon Martin's legacy to make sure that young, Black males in particular, are not stereo-typed because of their color, their clothing or where they are walking or driving. It is a national tragedy that 50 years after the famous "March on Washington," our nation is still grappling with how to assure that all of God's children are not unfairly targeted for the criminal justice system or destined for pre-mature burial.