Trayvon Martin and the need for an independent human rights movement

The irrelevant, disconnected, abstract chatter that we see on the “mainstream” human rights listserves as it relates to issues that Black and oppressed communities are concerned with – and concomitant complete lack of substantive discussion about the Trayvon Martin case – demonstrates once again the need for a formation that centers the perspectives, interests and political objectives of human rights defenders from oppressed communities who are grounded in a radical understanding of human rights.

Mainstream formations dominated by middle-class lawyers seem to be unable to see” or understand the major impact that Trayvon Martin’s case is having in the Black community, and the progressive social change movement in general. Limited by their race and class perspectives (including “people of color” who have not dealt with their internalized white supremacist influences), and lacking any connection to grassroots organizations or popular social change networks, alliances or coalitions, they are unable to grasp when conditions are created that could allow for the advancement of a human rights understanding and framing that could influence the national discourse. Continue reading