Saturday night, when the verdict came down, it was difficult to be a concert because there was so much pain. And that morning I was on a conference call to 5:30 in the morning with young folks worldwide who were just expressing pain and agony, went down to the White House with some Alphas and Deltas and others and non-Greeks gathered because they had just an expression of outrage; last night on a conference call 2,000 folks, same thing.
This should be this generation’s Emmett Till. This death of Trayvon Martin should be the spark, the catalyst, that causes this generation of young people to stand up and say this is going to go from a moment to a true movement. Because there are other Trayvon Martins out there. Jordan Davis’s trial is coming up where he was shot and killed by a guy firing his gun into a SUV and declaring “Stand Your Ground.”
This is when black folks, this is when mothers and fathers need to stop shielding their children from the pain and agony of racism and bigotry and let them know that no, you need to feel the pain. It needs to burn in your belly; it needs to be in your heart. It needs to be seared in the minds of people today just like Emmett Till’s murder was. I’m not saying it was the exact same circumstances, but guess what, two black kids are a dead as a result.
So, how do we begin to mobilize it? I believe that we need to have a 21st century student nonviolent coordinating committee. We need to have the young folks in Detroit, in New Orleans, in Charlotte, in Chicago, in Sanford, in all of the cities across the country saying how are you mobilizing on the local level.
That means not just voting, not just registering, but it also means when it comes to peer pressure, when it comes to dealing with black on black violence. When it comes to dealing with education, economics. Because the reality is we have a future generation that now is scared to go to the store to buy some candy because they might be labeled and racially profiled by a George Zimmerman and they might not come home to see their family as a result.
And so we can stay in here and go to work and be mad. We can have bitterness, and rage, and anger, and we can have fire and theory. But as Doctor King said, you must use that and transfer it into a powerful force that will cause America to say, oh, my God, we have rekindled something in this generation that we thought we had long ago buried.
And so what should the final motivation be for us, Tom? The same thing the Tuskegee Airmen said. When they said we will fight to the hour, to the minute, to the second we will fight, we will fight, we will fight.
And as long as we sit here and just be mad and don’t transfer it into a true movement, then we going to have the same conversation in a year, in five years.
Now is the time for this generation to say it happened to Emmett Till and our ancestors didn’t lie down and take it. It happened to Trayvon, we shouldn’t lie down and take it.