As of July 6, 2012, George Zimmerman, a self-appointed neighborhood watch volunteer, had been released from jail for a second time while he awaits his second-degree murder trial for fatally shooting Trayvon Martin, an unarmed, 17 year-old black teenager, who Zimmerman said looked “suspicious” before shooting him in cold blood on Feb 26th. The nation responded to the tragedy with marches, petitions, and calls for his arrest.
For the Game Changers Project, a national media initiative to reframe the images and perception of black males in the media, the Trayvon Martin case hits close to home. Our mission is to uplift “higher narratives” about black males that turn the prevalent negative stereotypes and implicit biases against us inside out.
So when our Pittsburgh-based GCP fellow Jasiri X produced the video “A Song for Trayvon,” and it went viral, we asked him to match his video’s lyrics with legal questions and interview a regional ACLU director. The conversation reveals how deeply flawed our justice system is and how deadly stereotypes still are in 2012.