Recently, God blessed and allowed me to see the age of 18. Normally, I don’t get all excited about birthdays; however, I realize that 18 is a big deal. It is even more of a big deal if you’re an 18-year-old African American male, because the odds are not in your favor to succeed. Although many of us move onto college, many other black males end up in jail or in the graveyard. We must constantly fight statistics and labels that the media gives us.
Becoming eighteen is the starting point. The first hurdle we must overcome to disprove the comments of our naysayers. We must show them that we our more than the “thugs” they label us as. Sadly, not all of us will make it so see this magnificent day.
Last year, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was killed because he looked like a “thug”. George Zimmerman, a 28-year-old male who shot and killed Martin, was not threatened by Trayvon because he was armed. He wasn’t threatened by Trayvon because he had committed some vicious crime, but he was threatened by Trayvon because he was black.
Trayvon was a good student who had dreams and aspirations. He wanted to finish school. He wanted to enjoy life and accomplish his dream, but all of that was taken away from him. Not only do these labels and statistics cripple African American males from succeeding life, but they kill us as well. So what should we do? Shall we just sit back and let these naysayers and cripplers win? HECK NO! We will stand up and continue to make strives of success. We will continue to prove these naysayers wrong. We continue to push on.
As I sit here, eating my skittles and drinking my sweet tea, I am making a stand. This is not just a tribute to Trayon Martin, but to every African American male who has dreams. This is a tribute to all of those who have turned eighteen, and a tribute to those who weren’t given the opportunity. This is our motivation.
Push forward my brothers, and remember we aren’t who they say that we are.
Happy belated birthday Trayvon, lost but never forgotten.