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For Immediate Release
March 23, 2012
The Los Angeles Urban League expresses profound regret and sincere condolences to the parents, relatives and friends of Trayvon Martin at this time of disbelief and great sorrow.
President Barack Obama expressed it poignantly – “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon.” This is about all of us and our sons, brothers, uncles, and fathers. With raw intensity, the tragic death of Trayvon Martin exposes the continued insidious results of racial prejudices in our country and the disproportionate negative impact on African American men and boys.
More than 60 years ago, a young black boy was visiting relatives in Mississippi. He was just an average 14-year-old; playful, gregarious, energized and a bit naïve. Standing outside a store, the boy reacted with a whistle and a comment when a young white woman walked by. This small, innocent act led to one of the most heinous murders in American history; an innocent teenager beaten beyond recognition by angered white citizens. The decades-old death of Emmit Til is eerily similar to where we find ourselves today. Trayvon Martin was sensely robbed of the fullness of life as a direct result of the perceptions of race, different societal “rules” and the realities that still pertain to black people and particularly to black men and boys.
It is time for the murders to stop. The Los Angeles Urban League without reserve supports the intervention of the Justice Department in the investigation of this case. Informed justice for the family of Trayvon Martin is not negotiable.
Let us resolve to heighten the dialogue on race in our country to save the lives of other black children who innocently find themselves in harm’s way from unprovoked violence. The value placed on the lives of African American males must be elevated.
The Los Angeles Urban League will continue to nurture and support our African American communities and our children. And the League will redouble its efforts and resources to build bridges of understanding with other ethnic majority and minority communities. We stand with the country in its determination that the death of Trayvon Martin will raise our national consciousness as we embrace all differences and all of our children.