Dear fellow MoveOn member,
On Monday, I went to the Department of Justice in Washington to deliver more than 500,000 petition signatures calling for justice for Trayvon Martin.1 I've never been more proud, and you all made it possible.
But when I got back, I saw the beginnings of a smear campaign against Trayvon that made my heart ache yet again.2 It took me back to that first sleepless night after I heard about Trayvon's death.
That's because many of the smears against Trayvon's character are based on the same racial profiling that got him killed. Irresponsible members of the media like Geraldo Rivera3 are making the same unjustified assumption about Trayvon that George Zimmerman did the night he got out of his SUV with a loaded gun—that a young black man is automatically guilty of crime and wrongdoing. For his parents, it's like Trayvon's being victimized all over again.
So I got right back to my computer to write a letter to the editor of my newspaper to stand up for Trayvon and his family in the media. Letters to the editor are one of the most widely-read parts of the newspaper. They can reach a large, diverse audience, including public officials who monitor them closely to follow the public's views.
By acting together again, we can drown out the voices behind this hurtful and harmful smear campaign if all of us write letters saying that Trayvon Martin isn't dead because of his past, but because he was racially profiled, followed, and killed. This type of profiling has to stop if we're ever going to get justice for Trayvon or prevent this tragedy from happening again.
Trayvon's mother said, "They killed my son, and now they're trying to kill his reputation."4 I can't imagine the burden of having to bury a son. But enduring attacks on his name at the same time? That's even more unbearable.
There have been events for Trayvon like mine, as well as rallies and vigils all over the country in response to his death. But on top of being in the streets, we need every person who reads a newspaper or magazine or website to know Trayvon's story. We need them to know the real reason that he was killed: because of how he looked and what he was wearing.
I got involved because Trayvon reminded me of my own sons. This movement has grown because I wasn't the only person who could relate and who decided to raise their voice about this tragedy. Our voices are needed more than ever, as forces in the media try to distract us from the racial profiling that caused Trayvon's death with more racial profiling about his life.
Thanks for standing up for justice.
1. "Trayvon Martin: One month after Martin's death, local outrage grows," WJLA.com, March 26, 2012
2. "What Everyone Needs To Know About The Smear Campaign Against Trayvon Martin (1995-2012)," ThinkProgress, March 26, 2012
3. "Geraldo Rivera sort of apologizes for Trayvon Martin hoodie remarks," latimes.com, March 27, 2012
4. "Trayvon Martin's mother accuses police of smearing his reputation," The Telegraph, March 27, 2012
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