A slew of activists who demonstrated at the multiple marches on Washington that took place on Saturday, Aug. 24 and Wednesday, Aug. 28 wore shirts and waved signs emblazoned with a photo of a 17-year-old boy from Miami Gardens, Fla., that has become all too painfully infamous. Alongside the image, usually in bold lettering, was a call to action in support of “Trayvon’s Law.”
In the wake of the nation-shaking Trayvon Martin tragedy that culminated on July 13 with a not guilty verdict for defendant George Zimmerman, the NAACP responded by enacting a set of laws and initiatives aimed at ensuring that an incident like this never repeats itself.
“Trayvon’s Law will serve as the foundation for community advocates as they work to end laws and practices that contributed to his death and to create new policy that will prevent future tragedies,” said NAACP President and CEO Ben Jealous shortly after Trayvon’s Law went public.
According to the organization’s six-page outline, “Trayvon’s Law is a set of bills that focus on ending racial profiling, repealing Stand Your Ground-type laws, creating law enforcement accountability through effective police oversight, improving training and best practices for community watch groups and mandating law enforcement data collection on homicide cases involving people of color.”
Some of the specific injustices the NAACP hopes to address under Trayvon’s Law include abolishing police officers’ ability to collect data based on racial profiling, Stand Your Ground laws and the school-to-prison pipeline, in which minority students comprise high rates of suspension, expulsion or contact with law enforcement. Another component of the bill is intended to empower community watch groups to ensure police officers are in compliance with the law.
The manifesto goes on to suggest that while some of the primary initiative’s sub-components are suited for state-level governments, others would fare better at a grassroots level.
There has yet to be any significant push by any government branch to manifest Trayvon’s Law, but there may be some indication of a general movement against unjust law enforcement. Last week, activists in New York City earned a recent victory when the City Council overturned Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the Community Safety Act, a pair of legislative measures intended to curb the prevalence of NYPD officers wrongfully profiling civilians.