A blog by Amanda Alcantara

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I feel so alive lately. I guess it's summer. Maybe it's because I don't eat meat anymore. Maybe it's because I started writing again. Or maybe, just maybe it was the awesome feeling of unity that came after this:

People took the streets of NYC on Sunday night to claim justice for Trayvon Martin. I was one of them. When the verdict was read I knew that actions would take place, and once the protest was planned I decided to purposely leave my camera home. That day I wasn't going to take pictures. That day I wouldn't write an article on the march. No, I was angry and I needed to feel like the subject of that anger rather than a viewer documenting what others felt. 

We gathered at Union Square where the crowd felt much smaller and as we marched most of the response from the crowd was fiercely positive. People recorded us, chanted with us, and many joined. So much that by the time we got to Times Square there were seven to ten thousand people pouring in the streets. We were walking through cars, I noticed that most cab drivers had a smirk...I guess we gave them some hope too. 

And let me be clear that what happened shouldn't have even been necessary:

George Zimmerman shouldn't have gotten acquitted. George Zimmerman shouldn't have shot Trayvon. George Zimmerman shouldn't have pursued Trayvon. Trayvon shouldn't live in a world where his skin makes him a target. Trayvon Martin shouldn't live in a world where schools are still systematically segregated, where his brothers and sisters are not only subjected to gun violence but also blamed for it. He shouldn't have to live in a world where racism is so deeply entrenched in people's minds that even those subjected to it have become apathetic to this story. 

And Sunday night and the different protests that have occurred throughout the country since then are a beautiful demonstration of how many people are awake and well-aware that even though the "justice system" has found Zimmerman "not guilty" because apparently he acted in "self-defense", the real crime here was that this young man was walking home and he died simply because of the color of his skin. People are angry and tired and outraged at Zimmerman and a system that makes it okay for a man of equal or bigger build than the subject being discussed can claim that he felt threatened by this subject who had nothing but skittles and iced tea. Think about it: many things need to change in order for those people to not exist anymore. In order for those views to change. We need a new system where the real problem- not just isolated cases of lunatics shooting people because they can- but rather the oppression of people of color through racist sexist and economics means are tackled.  

I hope that the energy running through me right now is felt by many people. A piece of us died inside when the verdict was read, and yet we woke up and came back with newborn energy: ready to explore, ask questions, fight for solutions, and claim justice for ourselves and generations to come. 


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