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Statement by latinos for Trayvon Martin

Solidarity can’t be ‘invisibilized’

Published Apr 11, 2012 9:23 PM

Following are excerpts from a statement by Latinos for Trayvon Martin issued at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, N.Y., on April 5.

We Latinos for Trayvon Martin, a coalition of Hostos professors, administrators and students are gathered [here] today because the history of this Latino institution demands we speak out. Hostos Community College is a college born out of the struggle of Latinos for educational equality and against American racism. Over 40 years after its founding we are called upon to denounce a despicable travesty of justice that has led to the murder of one of our children, uno de nuestros niños, Trayvon Martin.

We call on the Sanford, Fla., police, the Seminole County District Attorney’s Office, and the Florida Special Prosecutor’s office to expedite their investigations and indict George Zimmerman on felony homicide charges. If the Florida law enforcement cannot meet their obligation to its citizens of color, then we call on the Department of Justice to prosecute this incident as a civil rights violation. We also call on all Americans of good faith to contact their legislators and support the repeal of all “stand your ground” laws now practiced in 21 states.

Does anyone seriously believe that if Trayvon had been a white teenager killed by a Black assailant that assailant would be free? The Martin family have conducted themselves with nobility, but we insist the predator that killed their son be arrested.

Signals have been sent that vigilante-style terror is the call of the day. Zimmerman must be arrested so that we as a nation have some closure to one of the worse incidents of racially motivated violence in recent history.

We are troubled by the specter that some in the media have chosen to focus on the irrelevant issue of Zimmerman being Latino because of his Peruvian mother. However, the only relevant question is whether there is enough probable cause to indict him for his crimes.

We are also very disturbed by what we perceive as an effort to divide Black and/or Latino communities by implying that Latinos have remained “silent” on Trayvon’s killing. Only last week, many Latinos joined their African-American brethren in a march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala.

We remind the media that major statements have already been issued by the National Council of La Raza, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the National Institute for Latino Policy, and many other groups, yet our views have been ignored. We have not been silent, but we have been “invisibilized.” America, are you listening?