DN Editorial: Innocents lost

Trayvon Martin isn't the only victim deserving outrage

Posted: March 26, 2012

WHAT DO we see in the face of Trayvon Martin that moved so many to march in this weekend's "Million Hoodie March" . . . and moved President Obama to imagine that Martin looked like the son he never had?

Certainly, the photo of Martin, slain by an armed neighborhood-watch captain as the 17-year-old walked home because "he looked suspicious," looks anything but suspicious: a face more boy than man, an open face of trust and youth.

But, we'd do well to look closely at that photo and ask what it is about Trayvon that looks different from the hundreds of other young black males who are slain in this city and other cities around the country.

In Philadelphia, over 90 percent of the juveniles slain in the past four years were African-American. Why don't we see the faces of these young victims?

Why are their deaths any less tragic? Why are we outraged by this single act in Florida and simply shrug at all the others?

The outrage that Trayvon's killing sparked across the country is fueled by the fact that he was unarmed and that his Hispanic killer claimed self-defense. The majority of black-male homicide victims are not slain by white or Hispanic males.

They are slain by black males.

Trayvon was obviously innocent; but we don't seem to presume the same innocence of the city's young black homicide victims, many of whom are guilty only of not living in a gated community.

Earlier this year, Mayor Nutter tried to bring attention to how many young men are lost to the nexus of guns, poverty and crime. The real crime is how low we set the bar for the survival of a generation of black men.

Activists have organized a prayer vigil for Trayvon Martin tonight at 6:30 in LOVE Park. We hope that the assembled remember that it's not just Trayvon who needs our prayers.

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