Trayvon Martin’s Memphis Connection

Posted on April 17, 2012 by


Shelby County Criminal Justice Complex, 201 Poplar Ave, Memphis, Tn. 38103

We have an indictment for second degree murder in the Trayvon Martin case, and the defendant has been jailed to await his trial. The war is not over, but the initial battle has been won, and won with the weapons of voices raised in protest and the persistent will of the people.  The momentum of this public achievement must not be wasted. We must strike while the iron is hot. It is time now that we turn our attention from TrayCity, USA to the vast problem of crime and violence in all urban areas across this nation. It is time to focus our resources on what goes on in our communities of colour. We must have our own answer to “How many must die?” before we take the initiative to stop the scrounge of urban violence. This is our responsibility only. Historically Black neighborhoods have never been able to rely upon city officials or civil servants to keep them safe; surely what we have witnessed in the Trayvon Martin murder instructs us that we cannot look to them now. If we are to be safe in our own ‘hoods, then it is up to us.

In Memphis, Tennessee, Danny Muhammad has come forward with a great deal of passion about this subject. His inspirational fervor deserves an equally arduous response. Danny knows Orange Mound; his life and life works have been about that historic place so full of wonderful  black cultural heritage.  He has a plan for reducing crime, violence, and blight in that community, approaching the solution by stimulating
Again,Trayvon Martin’s tragic saga of sacrifice is more than enough to make us wake up and realize that we

as Black Americans are “in this alone” and there’s no calvary coming.  Let’s forget  those days of dependence when looking to police and public officials to save us from ourselves resulted in protracted disappointments.  We can bring change to our present condition and return to the glorious days of our fathers when we commanded our own neighborhoods and thereby controlled our own children’s lives. And we can go beyond that, to control of community education, community trade and commerce, and general community well-being.economic opportunity and physical growth.  At some point in time, we must listen to someone with a plan so that we can end things that bring to our communities shame and harm. Here is a concerned citizen with a practical plan. Isn’t it time to listen?

The question has arisen, “Why all the outrage about Trayvon and nothing said about the thousands of homicides annually in the Black community perpetrated by Blacks?” We could also ask “Why no outrage about the recent race-based killings of six Black men by two white boys?”  The answer is really simple; the defendants in that case were charged immediately and have now pled guilty.  The outrage about George Zimmerman was the absence of investigation or charge; Zimmerman walked away from murdering Trayvon. The ostensible impunity of killing a Black boy created the outrage and suspicion, compiled with the arrogance of supremacy shown by Zimmerman and the law enforcement officials who trivialized the death of an unarmed child. All of this galvanized the collective spirit of America to see the evil of and to fight for an end to racial hatred, profiling, injustice.

Danny does want us to take a look at these issues.  What can we do collectively to make our communities safe, most importantly, with each other? How can we return to feeling “at home” in our neighborhoods where everyone has everyone else’s back? When will we see urban inflight instead of blight? Where can we most strategically use our trade and commerce to advance our own communities?   Memphis is far behind other major cities when it comes to progress in areas of social ethics, senseless crimes, poverty, racial hatred/division, and equal economic opportunities.  We must also literally clean up our city using tools at hand like government, community programs, and religious organizations.  Clean living spaces are not government responsibility alone; everyone is responsible for the space they inhabit. We all benefit from cleanliness in body and mind.  We must end the idea that racism is Memphis’ sole problem; it is not.   There are many problems to be listed in Memphis’ great failure in the first decade of the 21st century.

Let’s get with Danny and listen to his plan.