The Killing of Trayvon Martin: What Can We Do to Avoid Another Tragedy? | Not in Our Town

The Killing of Trayvon Martin: What Can We Do to Avoid Another Tragedy?


Getty Photo, Peaceful Protest after Zimmerman Verdict
Sourced from A woman participates in a candlelit vigil in New York after the Zimmerman verdict announcement on July 15. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
By Patrice O'Neill
It's been a staggering weekend here in Oakland, CA. As the Zimmerman verdict in the Trayvon Martin killing was revealed, our community was revisiting the 2011 killing of Oscar Grant in jam-packed theaters screening the new film, Fruitvale Station. Protests and vigils are being held across the country, both peaceful and not.  
In an exchange on CNN on Sunday, while one commentator suggested people should avoid "pulling the race card," but Mo Ivory quickly responded this way: "You don't have to pull the race card. It's out. We live with it everyday. We wake up and it's out."  
No matter how you feel about the verdict, the conversation on race and profiling is front and center on the table.
Racism remains a present-day challenge, being felt every single day by a massive number of Americans. In the New America Media piece, "How Do I Explain Martin Verdict to My Kids?" David Muhammad struggles with how he can talk to his children about the Zimmerman verdict, and decides he must be straightforward in his belief that racism played a role in the tragedy.
The question is WHAT CAN WE DO in our communities TO AVOID ANOTHER KILLING LIKE TRAYVON MARTIN'S? How do we open the discussion about the every day intolerance that can turn deadly if it is not checked?  
Over the next few days, we'll be sharing thoughts, ideas and strategies from the NIOT community in response to the Trayvon Martin killing and George Zimmerman verdict. Look for perspectives from our team, including a set of action tools from Not In Our School Director Becki Cohn-Vargas.
What can you do in your community to open a dialogue with police and community members, parents, students, clergy and civic leaders?  Please join the conversation, send us your thoughts and experiences to share here on  or our page at  
Patrice O'Neill is the executive producer of Not In Our Town/The Working Group


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