WASHINGTON, DC, February 28, 2013 - This Tuesday marked the one year anniversary of the shooting death of Sanford, Florida teen Trayvon Martin.
Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, continue to fight for justice and against the “stand your ground” laws which Martin’s killer George Zimmerman claimed as a defense for the shooting.
Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman, had spotted the teen as he walked back to his dad’s home after buying candy and iced tea from a local convenient store. Zimmerman questioned the 17-year old, thinking he may have been among those responsible for a string of recent burglaries in the housing development where Martin’s dad lived with his girlfriend.
A scuffle broke out and we know how that ended.
The news story turned into a case which turned into a movement complete with many people in social media, including government officials, celebrities and families dressing up in hoodies out of solidarity. Martin was wearing a grey hoodie at the time of his death and in a widely circulated photo. The supporters wanted to show they cared about what happened in this case and sought for justice.
But a year later, there are no more hooded avatars on Twitter. The frequent “Hoodies for Trayvon” vigils are no more. Most of the digital advocates of a year ago have moved on with their lives…and to other missions.
Since the killing, they may have signed a petition to yank a reality TV show off the air, or to protest the questionable name of a bag of potato chips.
More recently, they may have raised some stink and demanded The Onion do more beyond issue an apology as retribution for a tweet calling 9-year old Quvenzhane Wallis the c-word on Twitter Sunday night.
But alas, that is the world of digital advocacy, where people are quick to jump on a social media bandwagon and outwardly express their outrage for a wrong… but only for so long as the “movement” remains on the social media radar.
These days, signing a online petition to show others that one cares and sadly, and though they pale in comparison, are the equivalent of the 1960s sit ins, Freedom Rides and arm-locked protests of the Civil Rights era.
This week, we also saw an unprecedented and historic moment for the US Capitol. A bronze statue of civil rights icon who sparked the Civil Rights era, Rosa Parks, was unveiled just yesterday. The
Only, unlike the causes of the past, most causes today have a short shelf life. Most are quickly abandonedand not talked about again. Forgotten by the time the dinner bell rings.
After a few days, weeks or, in the case of Martin, months, the voices for advocacy fall silent…until the next time a politician, website or celebrity puts his ,her or its foot in the mouth…or another “Make Kony Famous”- like viral video becomes the “in” thing to get excited and “outraged” over.
But will anyone care and follow long enough to the ultimate outcome result or actual justice?
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