Op-Ed by A. J. Williams-Myers

The Sad Role Of Silence and Indifference In The Death Of Trayvon Martin

Let me begin by intimating that silence and indifference were just as deadly as the bullet fired from Zimmerman’s gun that killed Trayvon Martin.

Trayvon could be heard on his cell phone on a call initially put in to his girlfriend, asking for help, pleading for someone to come to his aid as he hurriedly increased his pace toward the home of his father’s friend at the far end of the inner backyard shared by two rows of low-lying homes straddling the yard, while clutching his Skittles and iced tea in one hand to his chest and pleading in the cell phone held by the other hand, all the while being stalked by Zimmerman.  Yet no one came – no one wanted to get involved, even though a part of them, their humanity, was crying out for help.  The cold streak of silence and indifference was too overpowering — deadening for the moment that element of our humanity that has linked and interrelated us back across the eons of time.

So when Zimmerman squeezed the gun’s trigger, releasing the deadly force   shattering the bottle of tea and renting the bag of Skittles, taking bits of them into the open wound in Trayvon’s chest and snuffing out his young life, a little of us all — our humanity — died with him. He was our son, our little brother, our school mate, our friend, our child…he was us! Trayvon lay face down in the grass of the backyard lawn, and his blood, bits of Skittles and pools of the tea seeped into Mother Earth whose mournful wail could be heard in the silence of the aftermath of death: another son gone…

Trayvon’s death — Trayvon’s lynching — is a sad reminder of an unfinished agenda that at all levels of state and federal governments and in school systems across the country, there has been a refusal to face the role of race that blinds us to our common heritage of humanity, and through it to our interrelatedness. Yes, interrelated in that one race defined as the Human Race; and the rainbow of beautiful colors we all reflect is universally a variation on a common theme: our Humanity.

So that Trayvon will not have died in vain, and so that we may make amends for the silence and indifference that contributed to his death and makes allowance for that ongoing, growing trail of Trayvons that continues to haunt our very beings, let us exert the human effort necessary to create a viable and sustainable dialogue on race/racism that can begin the process of deconstructing it once and for all. Lest we forget, remember our children are our future; and if we/they are to have a rich and fulfilling future, then we must put a stop to the killings.

A. J. Williams-Myers

Black Studies Department

SUNY New Paltz

845-255-4606 (H)

845-257-2761 (O)