by We’Ced Youth Media
Editor’s Note: Following last week’s Zimmerman trial verdict, We’Ced engaged in a series of lengthy discussions on the death of Trayvon, the trial itself and the message the entire experience sends to youth of color. After writing their thoughts and opinions, We’Ced decided to reach out to fellow young people in the community and get a better idea of the local reaction to this tragedy.
Jesus Perez, 18
When I first heard about the Zimmerman verdict I was checking my email on Yahoo. My immediate reaction to the verdict was that race played a major role in the decision.
I think that the Stand Your Ground law played a role in the verdict. It was legally used to free Zimmerman of charges. That does not mean the law is a flawless masterpiece. The law gives plenty of wiggle room. Most people can agree on what makes a situation dangerous, but it is upon the individual to tweak it enough to their standards. This is a major flaw in the law. It does not have criteria set in stone that must be met before one can take lethal action, such as someone wielding a gun, but then again every situation is different.
This trial sends a bad message to young people of color. It upholds the racial inferiority narrative of people of color that was more prevalent in the 1900’s and which we should have corrected by now. This verdict can be interpreted as the young man of color is guilty, whether he was a victim or not.
[pullquote_right]I found out about the Zimmerman verdict on Facebook. My immediate reaction was, “oh, wow, he’s not guilty! That sucks, no justice.” Then I started talking about it with my family and here at We’Ced and now I’m furious![/pullquote_right]
Lisbeth Vasquez, 16
I heard the Zimmerman verdict on Facebook but I had read some details on the case in an article I found on Google. My immediate reaction was shock! I thought there had to be a special reason that Zimmerman had the right to shoot Trayvon. I have been talking to my boyfriend Adrian about this case and we argue that if we see that all this is wrong why doesn’t the court see it?
I think that the Stand Your Ground law was just a justification for Zimmerman’s actions. If that law weren’t in place, Zimmerman would be in jail right now.
I think this trial makes people of color afraid. For example, you are going to be in fear of someone who might feel threatened by you and reacting to that by doing something to you with no legal repercussions. Also it gives the message that we still may not get granted the rights that a person with white skin has.
Ana Llimet, 16
I found out about the Zimmerman verdict on Facebook. My immediate reaction was, “oh, wow, he’s not guilty! That sucks, no justice.” Then I started talking about it with my family and here at We’Ced and now I’m furious! Zimmerman needs to pay for the young life he took!
The Stand Your Ground law was clearly protecting Zimmerman. Trayvon had iced tea and skittles on him, how was Zimmerman threatened? Zimmerman is a big guy so a punch from a 17 year old boy wouldn’t hurt him very much. How was his life threatened? This law is something people should be ashamed of. It gives the right to kill to someone who gets to get off by saying they felt their life was threatened.
I believe this trial will make young people of color afraid to be out. Trayvon just went to the store with a hoodie. I would think it would make young people feel they can be suspicious no matter what they do, even something as simple as walking down the street.
Austin Corpuz, 18
I heard about the verdict on Yahoo. My first thought was it was a surprising verdict. The evidence against Zimmerman to me seemed to be overwhelmingly against him. When the verdict was announced, my friends immediately started talking about it on Xbox Live.
I am certain the Stand Your Ground law played an important part of the case, more than how the media tried to include the race card in the trial. I believe the Stand Your Ground law has good intention, to defend yourself from danger. But with the incident with Trayvon and other controversial incidents involving Stand Your Ground, there needs to be changes by either removing, replacing or improving the law.
The verdict in this trial sends a negative message to young people of color because it shows that racial stereotypes are still around and with laws like Stand Your Ground, people may be killed “in the name of self defense.”
[pullquote_left]I believe the Stand Your Ground law has good intention, to defend yourself from danger. But with the incident with Trayvon and other controversial incidents involving Stand Your Ground, there needs to be changes by either removing, replacing or improving the law.[/pullquote_left]
Lisa Vazquez, 17
I heard about the verdict over Twitter, my timeline was full of rage from people of all colors and places. I didn’t really know what they were talking about until I read more into it and it refreshed my memory. Now that I know about the incident and case I’m enraged just like my Twitter followers were! I haven’t been talking much about it besides We’Ced or retweeting tweets I agree with on Twitter.
The Stand Your Ground law influenced the jury’s instructions for finding Zimmerman guilty or not guilty. This is a coward’s law because if you are feeling “threatened for your life” and you shoot and kill someone or harm them with lethal force you can get off with no jail time or charges. Recreants use this as an excuse for killing innocent people and walking away fat, free and happy.
There’s little hope. I believe it will take a civil outbreak to see drastic changes to where youth of color can walk down the street and not be feared or seen as threatening.
Veronica Sandoval, 18
I believe race did play a role in this decision because there was six female white women in the jury. There was people of color on the jury. Also when he called 911 they told him to not follow him but he continued to.
I believe this sends a message of racism to young people of color. This shows unfairness. This makes young people of color angry and want to rebel against authority.