In the wake of the anniversary of the death of Trayvon Martin and the recent hung jury in the Jordan Davis murder trial, the University Social Justice Committee has issued a statement that deserves a wider audience. Take a look:
As a group of individuals committed to the affirmation of the dignity and value of all life, the Social Justice Committee of The New School is profoundly disappointed at the inability of a jury of peers to find Michael Dunn guilty of first-degree murder in his recent trial for shooting at four teenagers listening to music outside of a convenience store, killing one. Although he will face decades in prison for the attempted second-degree murder convictions of three of the young people at whom he shot, the family of Jordan Davis has been denied justice. The American people have once again seen how a preposterous law, erroneously named “Stand Your Ground,” emboldens blatant disregard for human life, especially the lives of Black youth. Only willful ignorance could blur the fact that a white shooter is more likely to be “justified” in the killing of a Black person than another white person–354% times more likely to be exact in a state with such a law. Even if one did not have the knowledge of Dunn’s explicitly racist sentiments expressed since the tragedy, there is no excuse for the assumption that Black youth are inherently dangerous, which was Dunn’s pitiful rationale for “fearing for his life.”
Furthermore, it is chilling that this ruination of justice occurred in the same month as the birthday of Trayvon Martin, and a week and a half before the two year anniversary of his murder at the hands of George Zimmerman, who infamously evaded justice by invoking “Stand Your Ground.” May this latest manifestation of the structural racism embedded within the criminal [in]justice system embolden us and every member of The New School community to do our part to educate one another, our families, friends, and society of the systems of oppression that operate around us and through us. ALL lives matter. May Jordan’s spirit live on through the work that we do to affirm that simple yet elusive truth.