Parents of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis Share Their Loss at the United Nations

Sitting in meetings in the United Nation's ornate Wilson Palace by the shores of Lake Geneva in the shadow of the Alps seems an odd place to discuss racial discrimination in the United States.

But the problems of racial discrimination quickly hit home at an event earlier this week that hosted the parents of Travon Martin and Jordan Davis, two unarmed young black men killed by armed white men claiming to be acting in self-defense. Made all the more powerful as it came on the heels of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., their affecting and often harrowing testimony immediately erased the distance between Switzerland and the United States. It made the discrimination present and underscored the importance of the work being done here at the U.N.'s review of the U.S. record of racial discrimination.

The event hosted by the U.S. Human Rights Network came just before the start of the U.N. review of U.S. compliance with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD), which was ratified by the United States in 1994. Jordan's father and Trayvon's mother described their loss, unimaginable to any parent, with grace and a fierce determination to make sense of senseless acts. Recounting their families' memory of and love for their slain relatives, both parents expressed frustration and bewilderment over the failure of their sons' assailants and much of society to recognize the value of their sons' lives.

This theme of the devaluation of the lives of people of color ran throughout the comments of all of the speakers. They described their own and others‘ experiences, of immigrant child agricultural laborers working without the protections offered children in every other type of employment; black and brown women incarcerated for lengthy periods pursuant to unfair drug laws; black girls prescribed powerful and harmful psychotropic drugs based on behavioral expectations shaped by racial and gender stereotypes; families of color subjected to predatory, toxic mortgages; foreign workers subjected to virtual slavery by a severely flawed American guest worker program that invites labor trafficking and other abuses; and unarmed children shot after arguments about the volume of radios or for being perceived as a threat simply while walking down the street. Each instance described how people of color are denied their right to enjoy childhood, even their very right to life itself.

Civil and human rights are rooted in a belief in the fundamental value of every individual regardless of race or ethnicity. The advocates in Geneva appear before the United Nations in frustration and hope – frustration at the failure of the U.S. government to sufficiently assure the rights of all of its residents, and hope that pressure from the CERD Committee can assure American treaty compliance and affirm the fundamental value of all individuals.

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The article on Trayvon Martin/ Un meeting, indicates that it was basically racial etc, and disregards the findings of the court etc . Why? it also fails to make any mention of the troubled history and past that trayvon had, including problems in school, drug useage etc Why? Is this what the ACLU is all about? One sided biased reporting? I am considering joining, but these articles make me wonder what this organization really stands for??


Ah yes, let's take it before the UN. What can they teach us about tolerance. Maybe the Boko Haram delegation can show us how to burn Christians inside their churches. And the ISIS delegation can teach us to crucify those whose religion we disagree with. Or Pakistan where you can be stoned to death if you blaspheme the prophet. Oh, and is it Kenya where you can be sentenced to death if you convert to Christianity? Or is that Ethiopia? Yes ACLU, tell us which of those groups we should be emulating? Keep up that good work. My donation is in the mail!


Hey these thug niggers need to be shot. I mean come on. They are going to be on death row eventually anyway right?? Hey we have to live in constant terror of black people everyday.


CENSORED by the ACLU. How ironic.


Oh hell don't bring in crappy immigrants children into this conversation, I understand that you miss you child but you two can't be at the un, the United States is force accept multiculturalism while every other county lives full of racism without judgment, stop giving these fools money and send all those crappy latino immigrants and their children back because they never contribute anything to society unlike true great American citizens, black, white, and Asian


Might wanna recheck text on spelling of Trayvon?
(Within the article at least one time he's named 'Travon')

Martin Pitts

From the Martinshushu Blog:

Dateline: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 13, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri, America
by Martin Pitts

As part of his belief in non-violent resistance and civil disobedience, Martin Luther King, Jr. refused to cooperate with an evil system. Dr. King throughout his life always embraced peace and unconditional love for even his worst enemies. People in Missouri please remember what he stood for.

As a young freelancer many years ago I was hired to shoot and produce a news camera story for the old UPI (United Press International) covering a race riot near Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Early in the evening at the emergency station set up by the Sheriff's department, I witnessed this. I wanted to roll, but as soon as I raised my camera I was ordered not to film by deputies in uniform. One deputy cautioned me that it was a confidential operation. The men were going out in disguise to scout the area. I noticed the white men's faces were smudged with black. One man had a pellet pistol tucked into his belt. They also had two pellet gun rifles on the back seat of their unmarked car. The Ft. Lauderdale Sheriff, in person escorted the men to their car and sent them out on their unknown mission with smiling encouragement. In my naivety I didn't realize what was happening at that moment. Then I moved on to film as much as possible for the story of law enforcement curbing angry people who were roaming the streets causing trouble.

Eventually I discovered that the Sheriff sent out those undercover white cops in black face with pellet guns to shoot at and enrage the people on the streets. It was a stunt worthy of the worst political players in the civil rights times I had seen in New Orleans and all over the south when I was growing up.

Later in the night the riot got worse and worse ending with massive police presence and suppression. In this case, there were no murders, but there was a lot of blood and a lot of local TV coverage. That same Sheriff ran as a republican for the U.S. House a couple of years afterward, and he won handily.

I'll never forget my last shot for the story at the local police station where an old black guy who worked there in maintenance came to work as usual at six o'clock. He trudged out and slowly raised the American flag just as the sun was rising.

They liked that shot a lot at UPI in Europe, and they cynically questioned me from the London office about what it means to me. I told them I was just the cameraman and they would have to decide that themselves. The Editors also sent me highest compliments for the scenes of a burning middle school that I shot. They really liked the action of the firemen wrestling with giant hoses and axes and the bright red lights of the engines.

The next day, after I had returned my equipment, I drove back to the location. I found kids that swore they had been shot with pellet guns in the night of the riots. They showed me welts on their arms and legs and backs confirming what I had seen that terrible night.

What happened that night in Florida re-taught me a harsh unforgettable lesson in American politics. People with absolute power are inevitable in their rancid abuse of their position.

When are we ever going to learn?

Just like long ago Ft. Lauderdale, it appears the events in Ferguson, Missouri are being manipulated by both the media companies covering and unseen political and law enforcement people in power on the ground there. The stories will send jarring messages to a lot of regular people watching TV and reading the news threads on their computers.

Many of those people will say, "Well, I knew it. Who wants to vote for either side in this! The black people are rioting, and almost as bad, the cops look like scary military. All of this unrest is disgusting. It makes me think, I'm not gonna vote at all in November. Forget all those horrible, do nothing politicians!" To the folks at Heritage Foundation and Americans for Prosperity this is very, very good news. To all the tea party people this is the best of all possible outcomes.

Like that Sheriff many years ago in Florida, the votes will go to the solid powerful players who look like they are taking care of violence and mayhem in our little town America, Ferguson, Missouri.

Any American Citizen who votes for any republican this fall 2014 must be either asleep or self-destructive.

Here's one idea we can use to help save some lives and help end corruption and brutality by police in our nation. Every on-duty cop in America should wear a GoPro camera or an iPhone next to their badge to give us an unbiased witness to any kind of violence or other abuse of power. And make that off-duty whenever a weapon is carried!

Copyright ©2014 Martin Pitts



Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't a Court determine that Trayvon Martin was the aggressor? Did he not assault Mr. Zimmerman including slamming his head into the concrete sidewalk? Is that considered "innocent?" Or does the ACLU only believe what it wants to believe?


Wow, this is astounding. Trying to paint the USA as "racist"? I wonder did they tell the United Nations how their son got all the way to his back yard that night, then turned around and went back looking for that "creepy ass cracker"? Did they tell the UN how the most of the Western news stations made it a point to eliminate that fact from the narrative?


A country divided, a world separated, a race marginalised. Unfortunately these are still truths that exist. Racism still runs rampant in our communities and media, while people subscribe to blissful ignorance. It is easier to ignore the issues than to fight for them. Fighting takes thought, passion, hope, courage and strength. We see true strength in those who choose to step forward, to stand up, fight for their beliefs and seek justice; we see this now with the families of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis' who have chosen to come forth and fight to end the violence and inequality that led to the deaths of their children.

While they fight, the rest of us have failed. We have failed to stand behind them and failed to support them. Posting on Facebook or social media claiming support is not the same as standing beside them on the streets. We are all people, our skin colour does not define us nor should it separate us. It does not matter if you’re Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, etc. we are all human and we should all fight for each other, not against each other. It's a sad day to think that despite the years of evolution we still fail to see each other as equals. Slavery ended hundreds of years ago and yet we still see the residual effects in the unequal opportunities for minority races in today's society. Through society continuing to oppress minority races we have perpetuated and encouraged poverty and crime. We are no better now than we were in the days of segregation we merely hide it under a vail of ignorance and false claims of 'equal opportunity for all'. We are failing as a country to enforce the singular principle that we were built on: freedom.

Beyond just this issue of race lies another one, that of human rights. No person should be subjected to the use of brutal force. Every individual has the right to trial, the right to have their voice heard instead of silenced. Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis were just a two of the many voices silenced too soon. They, like any individual, had the right to a fair trial for their 'suspected' crimes but were denied that right. Justice should be brought to their families and pressure should be put on local and national law enforcement to stop the use of brutal force. Innocence until proven guilty. It is not the duty or right of a single man to play judge and jury, it should not be the choice of single man to take an individual's life. May the lives lost find solace in knowing that their deaths will not be in vain and justice will be found. May these two children rest in peace, their lives lost too soon. It is time that the discussion begin, it is time that we make changes and evolve. It is time that we begin to practice what we have for so long preached: equality.


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