LOS ANGELES – Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles is deeply saddened, outraged, and disappointed by the verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman, who stalked, shot, and killed Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old African American boy. On Saturday, July 13, 2013, a jury acquitted George Zimmerman of any wrongdoing. Our hearts go out to the family of Trayvon Martin, who has suffered this unspeakable injustice, and we support the call by the NAACP for a federal investigation into whether civil rights or other federal laws were violated in Trayvon Martin’s killing.
As a civil rights organization, we believe the case illustrates the pervasiveness of racial prejudice in our society and our legal system and the unique history and ongoing struggle of African Americans against racism and oppression. For the Asian American community, this painful tragedy echoes the infamous case of Vincent Chin, a young Chinese American man who was killed in 1982 by men who harbored racial prejudice against Japanese and Japanese Americans. During the trial, Chin’s killers argued that Chin was the aggressor and that they were merely exercising self-defense against him, despite the fact that the killers hunted down Chin before beating him to death with a baseball bat in a parking lot. Chin’s death invigorated the Asian American civil rights movement that continues to this day. The death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman remind us that the struggle for racial justice is far from over and that all communities must stand together to call for justice for Trayvon Martin and his family.
This statement does not reflect the position of all the Asian Americans Advancing Justice affiliates.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles is the nation’s largest Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) legal and civil rights organization and serves more than 15,000 individuals and organizations every year. Founded in 1983 as the Asian Pacific American Legal Center, Advancing Justice – LA’s mission is to advocate for civil rights, provide legal services and education, and build coalitions to positively influence and impact Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and to create a more equitable and harmonious society. Through direct legal services, impact litigation, policy analysis and advocacy, leadership development and capacity building, Advancing Justice – LA seeks to serve the most vulnerable members of the AANHPI community while also building a strong AANHPI voice for civil rights and social justice.