The killing of Trayvon Martin all too blatantly illustrates the fact that suburbs are often places where fear, paranoia, and racism continue to go unchecked. This needs to change now. Year after year, the suburbs are becoming ever more demographically diverse, as black and brown folk are displaced from city centers due to the lack of affordable housing, etc. Unfortunately, despite the significant demographic shifts that have taken place over recent years, many suburbs (and many suburban residents) have yet to confront either their blatantly white supremacist histories or the subsequently prevailing cultures of fear and paranoia. We need to get to know our neighbors rather than fear them. We need to encourage everyone in our neighborhoods to use public space–for walking, exercising, playing, communicating, relaxing, eating, etc.–rather than harassing them for it. We need to ensure that our civic institutions (particularly the police, the schools, and the hospitals/clinics) treat all our children with a common sense of care, respect, and decency, regardless of their skin color or how much money their parents do or do not have.
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