People's Institute Issues Statement on the Verdict in the Trayvon Martin Murder Trial

 I am concerned about the decision that the jurors made regarding George Zimmerman’s innocence.  The verdict is another sad and shameful day for this country.  To me it was a racist decision no matter how we look at it.  As a network of anti-racist organizers we have to understand that in order to make transformational change and protect our Black children, we have to begin to talk more about the benefactors of racism which are white people as a whole.

We will continue the push for justice for Trayvon Martin by encouraging the Justice Department to fully investigate this racist miscarriage of justice.  At the same time we have to be aware that what has always helped the Black community get any fairness or equity has been doing anti-racist organizing.

As this country, this nation is beginning to talk about the need for having a conversation about race; we must clearly and vehemently talk about who is benefiting from racism.  We have to be as loud in our protesting about how the imposition of race and racism produces benefits for white people as we are about the injustice in communities of color.

The dominant culture in this country is white.  White people are in charge of everything.  Yet when it comes to devising policies; procedures, and/or actions to deal with racism, white people get very confused, yet they continue to benefit from it.  Therefore we as anti-racist organizers must continue this movement and protest the injustice served to Trayvon Martin and other Black youth all over this country. We also must expose the data that demonstrates the various ways white people continue to benefit from racism which is a major contributor to why black kids die and are killed daily.  It is at the foundation of every system and institution that produces outcomes that have whites as a whole with better health outcomes, better employment, housing, education and a longer life expectancy.

The verdict is not an isolated incident, but one of a long history of unaccountable murders of many people of color before and since Trayvon. We understand this verdict as a manifestation of a larger system of institutionalized racism; a system that does not require mal-intent or overt oppression to function. For every murder we hear about, there are 100 men of color who are murdered without our knowing.  Their sacrifice is a manifestation of how structural and institutional racism is soundly embedded in every system and institution.

We call on all communities dedicated to racial and social justice and equity to continue to protest, organize and respond to this injustice in your local communities.  It is important that we do our organizing in a way that helps to strengthen our local networks and begins to prevent further murder, devastation and injustice.  As anti-racist organizers we have to bring hope to our work and our communities in the wake of this tragedy.  We cannot allow the media to shape our reality about what race and racism is and is not. Making sure our communities are clear about what race and racism is brings hope. Staying focused on how white people benefit from race and racism while dehumanizing us all will clarify our thinking and actions.

We know that change will only come when we organize and strengthen our network.  Bringing our network together is the leverage we have to make change.  Anything that we have been able to do in the past to effect change in the Black community has only been with anti-racist organizing.  This must be done in a manner that strengthens our local communities in ways that are most effective.  Our ability to stay together as a people is critical. We must stay together to maintain our victories. Our victories cannot be just for now, but for life. Otherwise the powers that be will take away all of the work we have done.

It is timely that we return to Washington on Saturday, August 24th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s March on Washington when the work of racial equity was re-ignited.  We are now called to continue the vision of building a clear and strong anti-racist movement.

We must continue to listen to our young leaders, support our young leaders and work together with our young leaders whose history has shown that together we make things happen.  Black, Latino, Native and Asian Youth feel the brunt of racist structures.  We also see white people joining the movement to fight for humanity and equity for all of us. We are valuable and important.  We must stay strong and positive for a better future.  “Racism dehumanized, Undoing Racism brings humanity back.”

Ronald Chisom , Executive Director and Co-founder of  People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond

Diana Dunn,  Regional Organizer/Core Trainer  d[email protected]

Dr. Kimberley Richards,  Regional Organizer/Core Trainer [email protected]

The People's Institute for Survival and Beyond

601 N Carrollton

New Orleans, La 70119