Trayvon Martin on trial has been so deeply personal for me and my entire family in part because it is our story too. I thought about not writing it, to protect what little privacy we have left, but honestly, when these tragedies happen to you and they’re in the news, you don’t really have privacy in the traditional sense anymore because it’s already out there. And perhaps my story can help someone else understand how this affects the Black families these tragedies happen to.
My little brother, Clinton Robexar (pronounced “Ro-bear”) Allen was shot 7 times, unarmed, by Clark Staller, a police officer within the Dallas Police Department on March 10, 2013. He was 25. This was literally our worst nightmare come true. My brother is Black, tall – 6’1’’ and a former linebacker with tattoos. We feared those things not because my brother is or was a violent person, but because of how the wrong White person would perceive him, organize fear in his mind and the tragedy that might follow. They would not know that my brother’s tattoos were the names of family members and a pink ribbon to commemorate our mother winning her fight against breast cancer. They wouldn’t know that Clinton was the baby of the family and so absolutely lovable that everyone, from family members to schoolmates called him, “Big Baby”. Speaking of babies, Clinton has two twin boys who are only 19 months old.
How did I feel watching six women, Southern, most of them White and full of White privilege letting George Zimmerman walk? I threw up. Not metaphorically. Very literally. I vomited whatever I had eaten two days prior. I sobbed until I was exhausted. I got the news sitting at Clinton’s grave and just moaned, “It’s so unfair!Why? Why do some White people hate us that much, value us so little?” Everyone in my family was just broken about the verdict. We didn’t eat for two days. And the comments from juror B-57 just made me sick. “George’s heart was in the right place.” I wanted to say, “What about Trayvon’s heart – you know, the one, George blasted through?” George Zimmerman, a man whose ex-fiancée filed a restraining order against him, has been accused by a cousin of sexually molesting her for 10 years, a man who called the police 46 times in 2 years to report, amongst other things, children (Black presumably) playing in the street, still, somehow warranted enough compassion from her that he was “George”. A person. Trayvon, a 17 year old kid, with dreams of being an engineer, college and his junior prom ahead of him was just a “boy of color.”