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The Zimmerman Verdict Is a Wakeup Call to Address the Deep and Structural Injustices in America

The legal argument that led to Zimmerman's acquittal could not exist without acceptance of racism as legitimate motive and Blackness itself as life threatening.

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Yes, we should  support efforts to bring Zimmerman up on civil rights charges and boycott the companies that fund groups like ALEC that are responsible for the law that made his acquittal possible.  We also need a DOJ investigation and suit to address the blatantly racist patterns in the application of stand your ground type laws and  extrajudicial killings in general.  We must also be more adept at leveraging  human rights tools at our disposal to take our efforts beyond the  limited framework of the Constitution and reimagine remedies at a macro-systemic level including, yes, even  reparations.

Ending this tragic history of murder and mayhem; ensuring that there are no more Trayvons or Oscars or Vincents or Addie Maes requires an upending of the deeply entrenched structures that led to their deaths in the first place.  Let’s hope that this latest wakeup call will inspire more of us to take on the deeper work of structural transformation to make tragedies like these a thing of the past.

Makani Themba is executive director of The Praxis Project.

 
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