The Young Lawyers Division of the National Bar Association is a collection of young lawyers of color from across the country and around the world. Our eyes are fixed on the trial of Michael Dunn, the man accused of killing 17-year-old Jordan Davis.
As a group of legal professionals, we are trained to look at evidence objectively and carefully. However, we have seen recently that laws such as “Stand your ground” can be used to justify killing unarmed black youth for doing nothing more than walking slowly in the rain or arguing about loud music.
This week, the eyes of America and the world turned once again to the state of Florida. Once again to state attorney Angela Corey and her team of prosecutors. Once again to grieving parents—this time Lucia McBath and Ron Davis. Once again to the killing of a black child for doing nothing more than listening to loud music with friends.
In the past 14 months since Jordan’s death, we’ve witnessed two other incidents of young black men being killed—including one who was wearing a hoodie and another while he was running naked in Hollywood Beach—because someone was afraid of them. We’ve seen the not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman and the Florida legislature’s failure to repeal “Stand your ground” legislation.
Laws such as “Stand your ground” and the mentality that goes with them are stealing from America. America is being robbed of our next Thurgood Marshall or Charles Hamilton Houston. America is being robbed of our next constitutional law professor or president of the National Bar Association.
Though last July’s Zimmerman verdict left us broken, YLD is still watching. We’re watching to see if the state of Florida will send a message that this is not open season on young black men in America. That all lives are precious and worth the opportunity to carry out their God-given purpose. And that in their state (and America), loud music, running from a beach or through your neighborhood or walking slowly in the rain is not an acceptable reason to kill our children.
Khyla D. Craine, Esq., is co-chairwoman of the Social Activism Committee for the National Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division (YLD). Follow her or Twitter. Follow YLD on Twitter.