Friday, March 30, 2012

A Moment for Pause in the Case of Trayvon Martin

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators extends its deepest condolences to the family of Trayvon Martin. For parents, the grief caused by the loss of a child is unimaginable. And, the pain ripples beyond the family’s immediate community to touch us all.

Trayvon’s tragic end should bring us pause not for its uniqueness, but for its haunting familiarity. Whether the senseless death of a promising young man is due to racial violence or gang violence, one senseless loss is too many. Yet the African American community in particular, and American society in general have sustained tens of thousands of deaths—homicides that have cut short budding lives, homicides that have ripped children away from their parents, and homicides that have prevented our country from benefiting from the talents, contributions, and inventions of those individuals.

The National Black Caucus of State Legislators joins with so many others in calling for justice, and in demanding that Trayvon Martin and his family receive the full measure of protection afforded by the U.S. Constitution. At the same time, we are reminded of the countless other victims of senseless violence whose cases remain unsolved. Moreover, we are well-advised to reflect on those for whom safe neighborhoods have remained elusive. Let us mobilize for them as well.

Change will not come in one case’s disposition. It will not come in one family’s justice. We all have a responsibility to effectuate change, which will come through the collective and ongoing action of everyone uniting to ensure our communities are kept safe and protected by the laws afforded to all citizens. As legislators, we vow to do our part, knowing this commitment cannot be bound by election cycles, nor by life cycles, but must be embraced by each successive generation.


The National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) is a membership association representing over 600 African American legislators from 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. NBCSL members represent more than 50 million Americans of various racial backgrounds. NBCSL monitors federal and state legislation and initiatives and provides this information to its members. Each year, NBCSL members pass policy resolutions that directly impact federal and state policy. The organization focuses on U.S. domestic policy and is committed to policies that positively affect all Americans. Learn more at

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