Eight days past the George Zimmerman verdict, Americans continue to appear to help captive by coverage. The parents of Trayvon Martin joined thousands of Americans at more than 100 scheduled vigils in cities nationwide demanding Saturday what they described as justice for their 17-year-old son, who was shot dead last year.
“It’s overwhelming,” Tracy Martin told CNN at a rally in Miami attended by hundreds of supporters, many of whom chanted, “No Peace! No Justice!” On Friday, President Obama weighed in:
“But I did want to just talk a little bit about context and how people have responded to it and how people are feeling. You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago. And when you think about why, in the African- American community at least, there’s a lot of pain around what happened here, I think it’s important to recognize that the African- American community is looking at this issue through a set of experiences and a history that — that doesn’t go away.”
I do feel sense of sadness for the Martin parents. Their son shouldn’t have died. But while we memorialize Trayvon Martin and seek “No Peace! No Justice!,” we should not forget all the others who require our faith and love.
- On August 5, 2012, White supremacist Wade Michael Page fatally shot six people and wounded four others in a mass shooting at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. President Obama called it tragic:
“… administration will provide whatever support is necessary to the officials who are responding to this tragic shooting and moving forward with an investigation. As we mourn this loss which took place at a house of worship, we are reminded how much our country has been enriched by Sikhs, who are a part of our broader American family.”
- When anti-Islam activists like Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer led an all-out war in their attempt to prevent the cultural center from opening. At the time, Fox News became a major broadcaster of their Islam-phobic agenda. Fox News gave anti-Islam activists a platform to rally against the Park51 community center, while others spoke against anti-Muslim bigotry, denounced what it saw as bigoted attacks on the mosque.
- Naveed Afzal Haq shot six women, one fatally, at the Jewish Federation of Greater Seattle building in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Washington.
- An American woman traveling in northern India in June of 2013 was allegedly gang-raped after she accepted a ride with three men in a truck, police said.
- Similarly, in Brazil, an American woman was gang raped and beaten aboard a public transport van while her French boyfriend was handcuffed, hit with a crowbar and forced to watch the attacks.
- Three black women beat the crap out of a white woman in Seattle while a crowd watches.
- Sanford police arrested 12 African-Americans, eight adults and four children, in connection with a mob beating of a pregnant woman. The brutal attack came almost a year after the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin in the same town.
- In April 2012, African-American Cordell Jude, 22, was driving in Phoenix when Daniel Adkins Jr. walked in front of him with his dog. “Watch it!” Jude yelled to Adkins, who was mentally disabled, according to USA TODAY. Adkins then swung what looked like a pipe in the air and Jude shot and killed him — the pipe-like object turned out to just be a dog leash. Jude claimed self-defense; he remained free for three months, but now faces second-degree murder charges and is set to go to trial next month, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office. The Arizona Stand Your Ground law passed in 2010.
- Malala Yousafzai, the young girl shot in the head by Taliban gunmen while riding a school bus in Pakistan.
Are you surprised that we’ve rarely heard of these beatings, murders and rapes? Most were based upon some form of hatred? In light of these, I barely heard a word from politicians decrying racism. I did not see Jesse Jackson proselytizing for justice. How come I haven’t seem Reverend Al Sharpton protesting? Why could we not see the unified marches in several major cities?
As a Buddhist, I try to live by the “Do no harm” rule. Racism is wrong and many have been killed or maimed in its name. But while racism comes a deep and darkened place, racism should not be selective. If we stand to the Trayvon Martin’s of the world, we must stand for all the others. If we march for Trayvn, we must march for all.
From President Obama’s perspective, he could have been Taryvon Martin. But Malala could have been my sister. Daniel Adkins could have been my brother. That pregnant woman in Sanford will be someone’s mother. The Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin is a religious sanctuary for many.
Racism is bigger than just Trayvon Martin. Racism is global. As living Buddhists and living Christians; as living Methodists, as living Atheists, we must stand for it all. Fragmentally parceling out peace rallies is neither peace, nor justice.