Trayvon Martin Is Not the First and Won't Be the Last

Essence magazine columnist and The Root contributor Demetria L. Lucas weighs in on the Trayvon Martin controversy and lists other black men who were harassed, brutalized or murdered in the U.S. Sadly, she says, Martin will not be the last.

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Trayvon Martin (Martin family); George Zimmerman (OC Jail)

In her column at Essence magazine, relationship expert and The Root contributor Demetria L. Lucas checks in on the Trayvon Martin case, listing the names of other black men who were harassed, brutalized or murdered in the U.S. and concluding that Martin likely will not be the last.

Forgive me, I take serious issue with certain topics. Earlier this week, I received an email from an ESSENCE.com reader letting me know that she read Real Talk regularly and wanted me to write about Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, 17-year-old, Black Florida teenager who was shot and killed on his way home from the store. I read the news links in her email, then closed my laptop. That’s it.

Let me explain. I was in eighth grade when the LAPD officers who rained down living hell on Rodney King were acquitted. The black and white video images of white officers seemingly trying to beat the black off King had been playing over and over in my head for months, practically branding itself into my memory. I didn’t get how anyone could see that video and arrive at any different conclusion. When the officers walked, the message that was sent to me was: Black people don’t matter.

I remember the figurative heaviness descending upon my shoulders. I have to actively not think about the countless injustices against Black people in order not to have that feeling; or worse, the one every Black person has at the end of Roots. And that’s hard, because the names of harassed, brutalized and murdered Black men racks up quickly in America. I can run off a quick list of familiar names you might know without heading to Google: Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell and Abner Louima.

Read Demetria L. Lucas' entire column at Essence magazine.

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