The UN’s Concerned…So Why Aren’t We?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last month or so, it’s likely that you’ve at least heard the name Trayvon Martin. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m one of those people who usually gets my news from Facebook or Twitter (I know, I know…), so I’m well aware as to how much this story and the issue surrounding it has been spreading around the Internet.
For those perhaps unaware of the story, allow me to update you. On February 26, in Florida, Trayvon Martin, a 17-year old African American, was walking home from a Seven-Eleven where he had been buying iced tea and Skittles when he was confronted and shot (and killed) by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman has said that he thought Martin looked suspicious, that he was wandering around as though on drugs. And, although Zimmerman did call 911 because of these suspicions (which, let’s face it, if you’re suspicious about a person, call 911), he then chose to take matters into his own hands, even though the dispatcher told him not to.Zimmerman hasn’t been charged. And 17-year-old boy who had just wanted some Skittles is dead.
And, now, it’s officially becoming a world issue.
Navi Pillay, the UN Human Rights chief, is calling for an immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding Martin’s death, saying that, “It calls into question the delivery of justice in all situations like this.”
She, too, was shocked that Zimmerman wasn’t arrested right away. And she’s also calling into question what’s known as the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida—the gist being that if you feel threatened, or feel someone is breaking the law, you can use as much violence as you want to prevent something from happening (seems to contradict the lessons we all learned in kindergarten, yes?).
This is a story and an issue that I can’t imagine is going away soon. But I feel like it’s an immense step in the right direction that the UN Human Rights chief is calling attention to it too. Issues of violence, death, and apparent racism shouldn’t be dealt with lightly. And they’re definitely not something we can just push under the rug like they don’t exist at all.