Faith Leaders Demand Justice for Trayvon Martin
The Florida Council of Churches released a statement today expressing deep condolences to the family of Trayvon Martin and calling upon local law enforcement to investigate the case swiftly and fairly.
Martin was tragically shot and killed while visiting his father last month by a vigilante neighborhood watch leader who has been neither arrested nor charged despite evidence that severely undermines his claims of self-defense.
The statement reads:
On behalf of our churches, we wish to convey our deepest condolences to the family of Trayvon Martin. The promise of his young life in no way deserved to be ended by a gunshot within sight of his father’s front door on February 26, 2012. We pray for the family’s peace of mind in knowing of the love of God which surpasses death and for justice to be pursued in this tragic mishap so that it does not happen to another family anywhere in Florida.
Trayvon’s death was unwarranted. Florida should be a place where a person of any color can walk in a neighborhood without fear of violence or being presumed a suspicious threat. Florida should be a place where the use of deadly force is rare and uncommon. Florida should also be a place where the misuse of deadly force is not tolerated.
We call upon law enforcement in Sanford to pursue justice in this matter with deliberate effectiveness. The investigation into Trayvon Martin’s death should proceed swiftly without racial bias so that the matter is not continually tried in the media. The Martin family and the community at large need protection from vigilantism and assurance that Florida’s streets are open to all people without respect to the color of their skin. We call upon Sanford authorities to take actions that demonstrate both racial fairness and concern for the safety of the community.
The statement is signed by prominent Florida leaders in the Episcopal, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian (USA), AMEZ, and UCC churches among others.
The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, an organization representing progressive African-American congregations, is also weighing in on this issue, providing a fact sheet about the case and directing their members to a petition by Trayvon’s parents.