PJC Statement about George Zimmerman's trail and verdict

The Peace & Justice Center is committed to the promotion of nonviolent resolutions to conflict through awareness, education, and outreach.  We are shocked and saddened by the case and subsequent verdict concerning the late Trayvon  Martin, which condone our culture of violence and reveal flaws and inconsistencies in the legal framework that facilitates democracy.

We call upon Americans to support a culture built upon empathy, where all citizens can feel safe no matter their race, class, or gender, and in which all citizens can expect and demand equal access to and treatment within our justice system.  We condemn the use of Stand Your Ground to excuse murder, and maintain that it is time for careful reflection and adjustment concerning the acceptance of violence in our culture. We ask that those who have power in our society commit to fight for the rights of our invisible and unheard citizens, insofar as only when we are all heard can we ensure that we will always be heard by our government.

We call upon Americans to recognize the damaging stereotyping that we engage in every day as a form of violence that is detrimental to society as a whole, and furthermore to realize that the failure to achieve justice in the case of Trayvon Martin threatens the civil rights of all citizens in this nation.  To this end, we ask that communities use this travesty as an opportunity to engage in dialogues surrounding race in our nation, and that individuals reflect upon their role in aiding or eliminating racial profiling, stereotyping, and violence.

We advocate access to education on nonviolent solutions as an alternative to a system where guns equate safety and violence settles conflicts.  We call upon citizens of Burlington to make this a safe space for residents of all identities, and to encourage nonviolence in this community.