Burying a child has to be one of the most unnatural things I can possibly imagine. Looking at my own daughter as she flailed in her crib this morning, I tried to piece together the unthinkable; what my life would be like if we were to lose her to the senseless actions of another. But the reality of it is, far too often children meet an untimely demise leaving parents behind to left wonder “Why was it my baby that had to go?”
My friend Kebret Tekle comes to mind, who in 2007 was fatally shot outside of a nightclub located basically on the campus of CSU Sacramento. I was her coworker at the Nordstrom Rack on Howe and Arden at the time of her passing, and I remember that she was all set to graduate the following year. Instead, her parents buried her.
My little Cousin Trenton “T.C.” Richardson comes to mind. Who while the events surrounding his death are still a mystery, this much is known. He was the youngest of 3 brothers, he was shot in the head, and his body was retrieved from the San Joaquin River. My uncle Wayne and aunt Shirley had to put their youngest son in the ground and it took the strength of an entire family and community to watch.
And now, Trayvon Martin comes to mind. Who by now most people know as the 17 year old boy from Florida who was profiled (being black and wearing a hooded sweatshirt), stalked, attacked, and gunned down by a neighborhood watch captain who, as of this writing, is still a free man. The Trayvon Martin case has gained national attention and has resonated with people all over the country. From its humble Florida origins, all the way to our beloved Sacramento, and many places in between, the racial undertones and blatant misuse of the “Stand Your Ground” legislation as become a call for action.
I am not here to re-hash the gruesome details of the case or blast the police department that is handling this case (You can find the 911 calls in which the shooter is told to stand down and the screams of the young man being attacked here ). I am simply here to ask you, the reader, to play a small part in getting justice for this young man who was gunned down for the offense of being black and wearing a hoodie, while having nothing in his possession except a pack of skittles, an iced tea, and his whole life ahead of him.
And while I know that kids die all the time, the circumstances surrounding this murder should hit some sort of soft spot in your person. Injustice is color blind, and with the young people today looking more and more like each other as far as looks go, Trayvon Martin could have just as easily been a teenager you know, a family friend, your cousin, your niece, your nephew, your daughter or your son.
As a show of support people have begun wearing hooded sweatshirts until the man who shot Trayvon, George Zimmerman, is arrested for this death. A hoodie may not coincide with some of our work uniforms or some may just not have the head for it, so people are also being asked to sign this petition. Please, I ask that you do what you feel is right, not simply just for Trayvon, but also as a sign to the world; injustice in our communities will not be tolerated, we will not allow it to be ignored when it occurs, and together we will rise above it to protect all of our children.
By Sergio Villarreal