- Posted March 26, 2012 by
Washington DC, District of Columbia
This iReport is part of an assignment:
One year since Trayvon Martin's death
Trayvon Martin, Why I Marched
- zdan, CNN iReport producer
First of all, as I mentioned in my report, Trayvon Martin should not just be another statistic. The killing of an unarmed 17 year old is disturbing and scary. As a father and humanitarian I believe I would be guilty myself if this should happen to others in the future--to my son, my cousin, my friend or to myself—and I had done nothing to try to seek justice. Racism in America is alive and well, and its history is complicated. A lot of good work has been done, and yet there’s more to be accomplished, and as a black man, raising a black child, I feel it’s my duty to help make a difference.
I attended the rally to document and freeze images that will hopefully help others understand the pain and tragedy of killing innocent people because of their color. Many assumed that America overcame racism by voting in the first black president. I attended the rally to document the struggle that still exists. Yet, it’s not just a struggle with race.
Americans need to look at fundamental problems in the country that have been exposed by this situation. Neighborhood watch programs can be quite successful, but one needs to ask if George Zimmerman and others like him are routinely trained before going out onto the streets. Police officers learn how to use firearms (I question why neighborhood watchmen would carry one at all!), they travel in pairs, and they learn how to avoid confrontation, particularly with the use of deadly force.
I marched to raise questions. Why is the killer scot-free? If it were a white man who had been killed by a black watchman, would the black man be a free man? I doubt it. The law is clear--no one is above the law, everyone must follow the law regardless of race, color, or creed.
I am a strong believer in the power of pictures, and like Darrel Dawkins self-portrait with a tear drop, I also have emotions and pain which can only be captured through my lens. As a photojournalist, I use pictures to engage, communicate, and give voice to the plight of the voiceless. I am a human rights activist.