Every 28 Hours

Trayvon Martin against the backdrop of others killed by police or vigilantes. Image courtesy: socialistworker.org

Trayvon Martin against a backdrop of others killed by police or vigilantes.
Image courtesy of socialistworker.org

Last month, the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the murder of Trayvon Martin stunned communities throughout the U.S. and around the world. The gross miscarriage of justice which allowed Zimmerman to face no consequences for stalking and murdering a teenage boy prompted outrage, confusion and sadness. Trayvon Martin was the latest victim in a lengthy history of racist terror against Black people in the U.S. From the horrors of enslavement, to Jim Crow era lynchings, to present day policing and vigilantism, Black bodies in these United States are haunted by the ever-present threat of assault.

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The School to Prison Pipeline

Image courtesy of thinkprogress.org

Image courtesy of thinkprogress.org

….this is the crime of which I accuse my country and my countrymen, and for which neither I nor history will ever forgive them, that they destroyed and are destroying hundreds of thousands of lives and do not know it and do not wish to know it..it is their innocence which constitutes the crime.-Michelle AlexanderThe New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

It is glaringly evident that lower-income youth in urban areas are at a greater disadvantage than their affluent peers with regards to educational resources. One needs only to walk by these underfunded public schools to see the wired windows, relatively barren recreational courts and the heavy presence of police officers patrolling the grounds. High school graduation rates for Black and Latin@ students further reveal the wide disparities in the U.S. public school system along socioeconomic and racial lines. Rather than being placed on a path toward academic success, large numbers of Black and Brown students, especially males, are channeled to the prison system through so-called “zero tolerance” policies implemented in schools across the country. The school-to-prison pipeline refers to the policies and practices that push neglected students into the juvenile detention and incarceration system. Sadly, students of color are often stigmatized with labels like “at-risk,” conveying a narrowed perception of their potential and resigning them to failure before they have been given the chance to excel.

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