Intern Corner: Justice for Trayvon Martin & The OCA National Convention

Justice for  Trayvon Martin by Steven

When the Trayvon Martin murder happened, it struck me as yet another crime against people of color that some refuse to acknowledge as racism. However, it was the verdict that exempted George Zimmerman from murder that felt like a slap in the face.  When these hate crimes happen, it reminds me of the bias that individuals still hold, though I would always respond with the hope that justice will somehow address oppression. But when our “justice” system fails to declare these actions as crimes, I am reminded that our institutions actually protect racism.

As an LGBT youth of color, I know what it feels like to hear students yell homophobic and transphobic comments as teachers watch without action. In many ways, we live in microcosms of institutionalized hate at our schools. It crafts experiences that led me to understand why someone like David Phan would commit suicide and why believing the justice system would be on Trayvon’s side is still idealistic. As someone who is LGBT and someone who is AAPI, I marched in solidarity with Trayvon Martin and his family because people need to understand that our struggles stem from the same source. Until our system can support those it currently marginalizes, our experiences will still be marred by the hate it perpetuates.

 

OCA National Convention by Elizabeth

Today I am tabling at the OCA Advocates National Convention, a gathering of Asian Pacific Americans from all over the country. I am stationed with all the other organizations and companies in the exhibition hall, and my first conversation of the day was with defense agency employees discussing border security.  Other exhibitors are interested in recruiting more AAPI LGBT employees. Conversations like these are why this conference is taking place.

Most passersby have been signing postcards for immigration reform, which we will deliver to Congress and President Obama. We even got some signatures from Montana! Everyone wants to know what immigration reform looks like in the House and how a bill will pass. A lot of people are asking us what the “Q” in “LGBTQ” means. It is so inspiring to see so many communities here today, working in solidarity.