Adding to protests in the death of Trayvon Martin, a 17-year-old African American boy shot to death last month by half white, half Hispanic neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in Florida, Asian American leaders collectively spoke out about the incident Tuesday, in addition to .
Protests and rallies have occurred across the nation as people have called for the arrest of Zimmerman, who has claimed self-defense in the altercation he had with the unarmed teen. Zimmerman has yet to be arrested or charged with a crime.
The Orlando Sentinel reported new information Monday about claims Zimmerman and witnesses made to police that Martin attacked Zimmerman as he walked back to his SUV. Shortly before, Zimmerman had called police to report seeing a “suspicious” person (Martin) in the neighborhood and tried to follow him on foot and then said he lost track of Martin and tried to return to his car.
"This case is a chilling reminder of the ongoing specter of racial prejudice and discrimination--and that justice is often elusive for those who are considered 'suspicious' or 'other,'" the The Asian American Center for Advancing Justice (Advancing Justice) said in a statement Tuesday.
Advancing Justice is comprised of the Asian American Institute (AAI), Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), Asian Law Caucus (ALC), and Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC), who has worked with closely on matters like helping Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders become US citizens.
Congresswoman and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) Chairwoman , said the following about Trayvon Martin in a statement last Tuesday:
“Trayvon Martin was an unarmed victim killed in a senseless act of violence. A thorough investigation is the only way we’ll ever know exactly what led George Zimmerman to shoot Trayvon. Letting questions go unanswered sets a dangerous precedent for vigilante behavior and people acting irresponsibly on misguided and heavily prejudiced suspicions.
We have seen similar cases of violence in communities around the nation and must confront these examples whenever and wherever they occur. I am glad to hear the Justice Department has made the right decision to investigate Trayvon’s murder. Americans of all backgrounds deserve equal protection under the law, and I join my Congressional colleagues in emphasizing how important this investigation is.”
Advancing Justice also recalled the high-profile case of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American who was beaten to death in 1982 by two men who thought he was Japanese. The men never served jail time.
"We call upon federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to devote the full extent of their resources to investigate and prosecute the killing of Trayvon Martin so that history does not repeat itself, said Advancing Justice. While there was no justice for Vincent Chin, 30 years later, we demand justice for Trayvon Martin."
Rep. Chu also referenced the Chin incident during a public statement in .
What do you think the Trayvon Martin situation shows about race relations? Do you think racism played a part in Trayvon's Martin's death?