Dani Robbins

Trayvon Martin and Me

In Leadership on March 28, 2012 at 12:07 pm

I created this blog to further the discussion and collective wisdom on a variety of non profit management issues, but today I want to do something a bit different. Because while it’s true that I am a non profit management consultant, I am that because at my core, I am an advocate for the downtrodden, the underdog, the ignored, and the underserved.  I have spent my career trying to make the world a better place for victims, for the homeless, for underserved children, for minority communities and for the larger community. 

The Trayvon Martin murder feels very personal to me.  He could have been one of my Club kids; he could have been one of my friend’s kids, under a different type of discrimination, he could have been one of my kids. 

My heart is breaking over Trayvon Martin’s death; over the  seemingly dozens or hundreds or thousands of other cases like it; over the parents who have to teach their children how to move through the world as African Americans and over the children that have to learn that lesson.  It is breaking for the African American men across the county who think it’s their job to make other people feel safe, and for the people who feel afraid simply because of someone’s skin color (or faith, or ethnicity or whatever makes us “other”).  It is even breaking for the people who are ignoring this case because they think it doesn’t apply to them, because we all know that tomorrow it may.

Mostly, my heart is breaking because we can’t protect our children. 

When I worked in the Boys & Girls Clubs movement, I talked about changing the way our children perceive their place in the world and how the world perceives our children; I am still talking about that today. 

Since Trayvon’s infuriating, tragic, senseless death, I have found myself continuing to search for a way forward for our country.  For a way to let this loss be our line in the sand and the place we say no more. 

We are not moving forward fast enough when it comes to addressing the issues of race in this country.  We cannot stand by while more people cower and more sales clerks leer and one more child bears the burden of racial injustice.

We cannot bury any more children. 
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  1. I've felt very much the same way for the last few days, Dani.As more and more news comes out about arrest records, 911 calls, etc about both Trayvon and the shooter, I can't help but keep circling back to one simple fact . . . "a child died doing something that countless other children do every day." I have been fighting hard to not go into blame mode because there are too many fingers to point.I am upset and I want to see justice done.Keep up the great work that you're doing with non-profit organizations. Your work keeps the social safety net from developing too many holes in it. Your work makes a difference to all of the Trayvon's out there.~Erik Anderson

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  2. Thanks for your post Dani. I really appreciate the work you have done through your entire professional life improving the world we all share.For me, the question to ask is how do each of us use this opportunity to identify the prejudice in our own thinking. It may be about race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or other. If each one of us just becomes aware of when we are thinking and acting based on prejudice – millions will change. It is hard work to really look in the mirror and scrutinize the thoughts we find embarrassing and yet, do you find yourself crossing a street when a certain type of person is headed toward you? Do you tell jokes? Do you think people are less than you? If so, you have an opportunity to address this thinking in yourself. As Gandhi said, "be the change you want to see in the world".I appreciate all of the work people are doing to change others and to change the systems. Many of us are not in a position to make this change a personal focus right now and yet everyone can make a small personal change in their personal lives. Volunteer to help a group of people that you avoided. Talk to a homeless person about their story, volunteer at a food pantry, go to a nursing home. Your small change will make an impact on those around you.

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