Nobody should be denied the right to vote, or face additional hurdles because of a strategic method to disenfranchise them. Just as no one should be racially profiled, no one should be racially blocked from the voting booth.
We never rendered our own verdict; we instead urged authorities to follow proper protocol and have Zimmerman arrested, an investigation put into place and a court of law to decide. This week, nearly a year and a half since Trayvon’s death, that day has finally arrived.
Some would like to believe that because we now have a black president, that we no longer have a need to push for civil rights or equality. Nothing could be further from the truth.
This is undoubtedly a breakthrough moment in athletics, and another step towards fairness and tolerance in the African-American community. As a civil rights leader who has advocated on behalf of LGBT rights, I can unequivocally say that this is a tremendous moment of encouragement.
Just as the appalling alleged acts of Jared Loughner, James Holmes, Adam Lanza, Timothy McVeigh and others do not represent their entire communities, we cannot allow the appalling acts of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar to speak for their respective communities whether it be Islamic, Chechen or any other.
As we teach our youth to put the weapons down and better their lives, what are we to tell them when so many in Washington have failed us so cowardly?
There’s a reason why Blacks, Latinos, Asians, gays, immigrants and other groups overwhelmingly voted with the Democrats during the last election — mainly that we vote with those who fight for greater equality.
For much of 2012 (and 2011 for that matter), we witnessed some of the most egregious efforts to disenfranchise minority, elderly, student and poor voters all across this country.
Movements begin in our own homes — they don’t come from the White House. If we want to see real substantive change in our lives and in society, then each and every one of us has to make it happen, period.