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Rep. John Lewis Speaks Out on Trayvon Martin Murder

March 22, 2012
Press Release

Rep. John Lewis made this statement about the shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida:  

“This shooting is a tragedy.  It reminds me too much of what happened in the 1930s, 40s and 50s in this country when thousands of people of color were murdered without impunity simply because their lives were thought to be cheap. The death of Trayvon Martin has a chilling effect on black parents and their children, especially their sons.

“They realize that in the 21st century they may still live in a circumstance where the law is no protection, government authorities permit the worst violence, and little is done to enforce justice.  Hundreds and thousands of African American boys in Atlanta and other urban cities are killed, just disappear everyday.  Of all the violence we hear about on the news, we rarely hear the stories of these boys.  It’s as though no one even expects them to survive so their loss is not newsworthy.

“There are forces in America today who want to take us back.  They are suppressing voting rights across the country and encouraging legislatures like that in Georgia to expand the right to carry and use violent weapons.This tragedy is a reminder to all those concerned about justice that we cannot be complacent.  There is no door that closes, no wall that is built, no line drawn in the sand that prevents us from going back.  The only prevention is us. 

“We must get informed, know the history, be aware of current attempts to change progressive law.  We must advocate and struggle against regression and injustice and march in the streets if necessary to dramatize the need for justice.”