Bernice King calls out a scary double standard in America in one strongly worded tweet.

What does it mean to look "suspicious"?

It's a question a lot of Twitter users are asking on what would've been Trayvon Martin's 23rd birthday.

In case you need a refresher: Six years ago, Florida resident George Zimmerman — who was on local neighborhood watch duty after a string of local robberies — called the Sanford Police Department to report Martin for being "suspicious."


Martin, wearing a hooded sweatshirt, was walking home to his father's fiancee's house after buying a bag of Skittles and Arizona iced tea from a local convenience store. Minutes later, Zimmerman fatally shot him.

He was 17 years old.

Photo by Jessica McGowan/Getty Images.

Unfortunately, Martin's is just one name in a long list of young black men shot and killed after being labeled "suspicious."

As some Twitter users pointed out, it's a racial double standard that doesn't apply to his white counterparts:

But perhaps the most poignant remark in tribute to Martin's legacy came from Martin Luther King, Jr.'s daughter, Bernice.

On Feb. 5, the day after the Super Bowl, King took to Twitter to point out a troubling double standard in our reactions to mayhem erupting on the streets.

Philadelphia Eagles fans celebrated their Super Bowl victory by flipping over cars, toppling light poles, stealing trees, looting gas stations, and burning property — but despite all that violence, many media outlets brushed off these violent acts as being merely "rowdy."

Meanwhile, when civil unrest broke out in Baltimore after Gray's death in 2015, public officials, political commentators, and members of the U.S. public decried "rioting" protesters.

According to reports, cars and buildings were set on fire. The windows of local businesses were smashed and some were looted. But as King pointed out, those riots erupted out of a continuing trend of young black people being punished by extrajudicial killings and a system that fails to provide their family and communities with any justice.

Of course, the riots in Philadelphia weren't met with the same level of nationwide condemnation as the ones that took place in the aftermath of Gray's death or the verdict that set Zimmerman free.

Martin's death — and Zimmerman's eventual acquittal — helped give birth to the Black Lives Matter movement to fight against the trend of young black lives being systemically targeted and killed.

After hearing reports of the riots after the Super Bowl, Hank Newsome, president of Black Lives Matter New York, lambasted the hypocrisy in statements made to Newsweek on Jan. 5.

"Somehow, it seems there's a line drawn in the sand where destruction of property because of a sports victory is OK and acceptable in America," Newsome said. "However, if you have people who are fighting for their most basic human right, the right to live, they will be condemned."

As Twitter user @StarrburyMike suggested on Sunday evening, it's time to hold all Americans — especially those in positions of power — accountable for this racial double standard.

Simon & Garfunkel's song "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has been covered by more than 50 different musical artists, from Aretha Franklin to Elvis Presley to Willie Nelson. It's a timeless classic that taps into the universal struggle of feeling down and the comfort of having someone to lift us up. It's beloved for its soothing melody and cathartic lyrics, and after a year of pandemic challenges, it's perhaps more poignant now than ever.

A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

But British singer Jacob Collier recently added his own layered harmony tracks to it, taking the performance to a whole other level.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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