(Brooklyn, NY) I am truly devastated by the tragedy that occurred this February 26, 2012. On that day, Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17 year-old was gunned down by George Zimmerman under the guise of Florida’s “Stand your Ground” law. Today, I wear my hoodie in solidarity with my fellow Senate and Assembly colleagues in his honor. It’s embarrassing that decades after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, America is still plagued with the after effects of slavery, segregation, and racism. Although it seems like long ago that African-Americans were treated as second class citizens, this negative connotation still remains – whether it be in the unfair policies of “stop and frisk”, being followed in a store for suspicion of possible theft, being treated like animals at our parades, or in this case for “walking while black” - our black men continue to be treated as second class citizens.
It is time for us to take a stand and reignite the movement for equal treatment of those that are being treated as less than. Versions of the “stand your ground” law exist right here in our state – “stop and frisk”. Of the 685,724 New Yorkers that were subjected to stop and frisk last year, 88% were innocent and the only common theme was that the majority of those stopped were Black or Latino. I have sponsored legislation (S.6407 and S.6695) to create an independent inspector general on the local and state level in order to establish oversight and accountability for similar incidents that may occur in our state. I am also a sponsor of S.1496 which outlaws racial profiling and a cosponsor of S.1872 (Espaillat) which creates a private cause of action for racial profiling. I call on the Governor and Leader Skelos to bring these bills to the floor for a vote this legislative session.
Additionally, I call for the arrest of George Zimmerman, a thorough investigation and if appropriate, prosecution of this case to the full extent of the law.
Rest assured, I will do all that I can to help this family and families similarly situated receive justice and to deter any reoccurrences of such a horrific incident.
About Senator Kevin Parker
Senator Kevin S. Parker is intimately familiar with the needs of his ethnically diverse community that consists of 311,000 constituents in Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood, Ditmas Park, Kensington and Borough Park. He is the Ranking Member of the Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee, and the Chair of the New York State Senate Task Force on New Americans