Comments: Week of February 14, 2022


“After Trayvon,” January 31–February 13

Art: Deborah Roberts

In a special issue marking the ten years since Trayvon Martin was killed, New York examined what has changed, what hasn’t, and whether Black lives are any safer a decade later. Longreads praised how “a collection of outstanding contributors tell the story of BLM’s first 10 years … At various points, contributors branch off into essays, telling deeper stories about the controversies, symbols, and individual lives that have molded BLM’s legacy. This is an essential historical document and a creative triumph.” Journalist Kenya-Evelyn said the issue was “a powerful yet sobering unpacking of where we are and what we have/haven’t learned in the decade since Trayvon Martin’s murder — esp how movements are co-opted by individuals and institutions more focused on the appearance of, than actual reform.” Business Insider’s Edith Honan called it “urgent, thoughtful reporting from beginning to end,” and reader DeBraun Thomas noted, “The articles are powerful, but what sticks out most to me is the timeline. Both Trayvon and Emmett Till sparked movements, and the history happening now is similar to what many are fighting not to be taught.” In a letter to the magazine, digital subscriber Jess Davis wrote, “Rare is the occasion these days that I want to bring more paper into my house, but I’m going to seek out a paper copy of the 10-year look back at BLM and save it for my daughter to read when she’s older.” And attorney Benjamin Crump, who represented Trayvon Martin’s family, wrote, “This powerful list of events and countless Black deaths in the decade that followed his unjustified shooting reminds us why we must continue our fight for change!”


“The Grief Never Ends,” January 31–February 13

Photo: Joshua Rashaad McFadden

To open the issue, Derecka Purnell chronicled how Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother, found her painful place in American history. “This piece takes great care with the weight of what it carries,” wrote the Reinvention Lab’s Elisabeth Booze. Piper Kerman, author of Orange Is the New Black, called it a “must-read,” and Amanda Misiko Andere praised the story as “powerful”: “It’s rare for a week to go by that I don’t think about & pray for Sybrina & Trayvon. There’s something about her spirit that is so fierce & humble. Her faith strengthens mine. Our liberation is connected.” Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García tweeted, “This conversation with his mother is heartbreaking, powerful, and necessary.” Other readers singled out the way Purnell connected Trayvon’s killing to the history of racist violence in America, including Emmett Till’s murder. Astra Publishing House’s Alessandra Bastagli said, “What @dereckapurnell does so well, always, including here, is balance a complex, thoughtful, 3-dimensional profile w/ recent & not so recent history, policy & a singularly personal framework.” Riya Saha Shah of the Juvenile Law Center tweeted that she appreciated how the story “weaves together the shared pain of Sybrina Fulton and Mamie Till-Mobley, which fueled their activism in the wake of unimaginable grief,” while Martina M. Jackson said, “This is hard to read. Especially because I have a little Black boy. And I don’t want to steal his carefree childhood away from him. But I am waiting for when he no longer is seen as a child but seen as a threat. These are the truths of raising Black boys. My heart aches.”


“The BLM Mystery: Where Did the Money Go?” January 31–February 13

Sean Campbell investigated the messy leadership and murky finances of the Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation. Ayesha A. Siddiqi “appreciated how well reported and balanced this was. It was really clear on the difference between specific figures and groups vs. the larger cause, which is tricky given how many people are primed to discredit the latter.” Mark Johnson-Lewis wrote, “As someone who has been a part of the nonprofit industrial complex for more than 2 decades, this is a hot mess.” The Washington Examiner’s Andrew Kerr chided, “Once again, conservative media is a year ahead of legacy/liberal press on a major story. Glad to see @NYMag scrutinizing BLM’s finances, but I broke much of what’s covered here in spring last year.” And for Reason magazine, Robby Soave wrote, “These are damning descriptions of an organization that led such an important — and well-funded — social movement. BLMGNF has some explaining to do.”

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Comments: Week of February 14, 2022