This weekend the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial came back. He was found not guilty. For many the not guilty verdict is not shocking, but is is hurtful. The verdict spurred lots of emotion from people around the country, particularly black Americans.
Social media sites blazed with emotional thoughts about the verdict, what it means for black Americans, what it means for black men and boys and what it means for our country.
So, what does it mean?
It means there is still work to do. It means that we must dig deep in our soul and our history and start to build the Civil Rights Movement of the 21st century.
Like Martin, Malcolm, Rosa, Jesse and countless others who came before us, we – the younger generation – have to let our elected officials know that the power still rests in the people.
Here’s how we do that:
- Register to vote and go vote! If you are eligible to vote and not registered. GO REGISTER! Elected officials create and approve policy. We need to make sure that our vote is counted.
- Get educated and involved. The Hip Hop Caucus, NAACP, National Action Network, IMPACT and countless other organizations have local chapters where you can educate yourself on state laws, legislation and their impact on communities and everyday people. These organizations also have community-based programs that hold elected officials accountable. They help communities organize to make sure their voices are heard and respected by local, state and federal elected officials and government agencies. Get connected. Feel free to contact me to learn how you can become active in your local community.
- Show up in DC on August 24. This year our nation will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. We want you to be there to support this movement. We need you to be in the number so we can make a mighty statement to our elected officials and the world. We want them to know we will not tolerate any kind of injustice and we know that it does still exist. Get more information on the march.
- Give to the Trayvon Martin Foundation. Russell Simmons, the NAACP, IMPACT and many other organizations are encouraging us to support the Trayvon Martin Foundation’s work by donating. The mission of the foundation is to:
- Assist surviving families who grieve and suffer after tragically losing a loved one
- Advocate for crime victims and their families
- Help amend the Stand Your Ground law in Florida and other states with this or similar laws
- Educate young people on conflict resolution techniques
- Increase public awareness against all forms of profiling
I leave you with this thought:
It was the power of the people in the Montgomery Bus Boycott that resulted in the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that segregation on public buses is unconstitutional and in 2012 it was the power of the people that got George Zimmerman arrested. It will be the power of the people that continues to fight and win the battle against injustice. In each case the people were lead by the younger generation. This is our time. This is our movement. We have to use the new tools we have to win this war.
Are you ready to fight?
Brandi N. Williams is a fist-in-the air social activist. An Accredited and experienced public relations practitioner, bicentennial baby and hip-hop music lover Brandi, also known as Mizz Bea, uses her nearly two decades of industry experience, knowledge and love of black culture and history to bridge the divide between the streets and the suites.