This week four Minnesota writers shared their perspectives on the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial and what it means for how we think and act for racial justice moving forward. All write for Opine Season, a collective of writers and artists dedicated to engaging in “a platform for smart, strong, provocative voices of conviction.”
An Open Letter to White People About Trayvon Martin
By Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre
In the next few days, there are going to be a lot of essays and op-eds attempting to make sense of, or grapple with, or process the Zimmerman verdict, from writers who are better than me. So I want to talk about this from a very specific angle.
This is an open letter to white people, especially to those white people who understand that something terrible has happened, and has been happening, and will continue to happen, but don’t know what to do.
No More Trayvons, No More Georges
By Vina Kay
Trayvon Martin is dead and George Zimmerman is a free man. Trayvon could have been our president’s son, but also the son of any of our black and brown family and friends. George Zimmerman, too, could be our child, especially in a world where law and public opinion support his thinking and actions. These are the laws that support a system of structural racism, where the effect of our policies and institutional practices go unquestioned, even when they have a disproportionately negative effect on people of color. This is a public swimming in the implicit bias that allows justification of fear and violence.
Trayvon and the road ahead
By Ricardo Levins Morales
“What do we do now?” While marchers chanted “No justice, no peace,” this question kept coming up in interactions along the route. The question was about more than the verdict. It was about the Supreme Court gutting the voting rights act; state governments undermining the right to organize and women’s reproductive rights; police powers reaching into elementary schools, sweeping up young NY pedestrians and sending paramilitary SWAT teams crashing through doors in residential neighborhoods. It was about corporations with the rights of people and people deprived of them. As the outrages seem to pile up on top of each other, how do we make our actions count? It was a young man we were marching for that day and will continue to hold in our hearts but we were also marching for that larger question of hope and change. That is what I wish to speak to now.
The Death of a Boy: Trayvon Martin
By Kao Kalia Yang
When my family first arrived in America, we lived in the projects of St. Paul. There weren’t many white families. By the time we came, the late 1980′s, the McDonough Housing Project where we lived and Mount Airy Housing Project where many of our cousins lived consisted of mostly Hmong and African American families.
It was the summer of 1987. I was six years old. I got into my first public fight.