Monday, July 29, 2013

In Defense of My People

Every since George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin, we have been demanding for justice. For us, the unjust verdict in the George Zimmerman case is not the end of the discussion. We are demanding that the Department of Justice bring federal charges against that killer. We are demanding an end to racial profiling. We are demanding the elimination of Stand Your Ground laws around the country. Such laws are a license to hunt and kill black people.

To avoid a real discussion about those issues, the right is desperately trying to change the subject from one about justice into one about black pathology. Instead of addressing our call for social justice, conservatives are demonizing black people. The right is not genuinely concerned about "black on black" violence and other problems plaguing the black community. They are only reinforcing negative stereotypes about black people. The right is simply blaming the victims.

Don Lemon is the latest negro to engage in victim blaming. Despite his claims to the contrary, Lemon is deflecting attention away the previously stated issues at hand. The other day, Lemon went on seven minute rant trashing his own people on national television before a largely white audience. According to his myopic viewpoint, all of our problems stem from sagging pants, using the N word, littering in our neighborhoods, dropping out of school and the high percentage out of wedlock births. Lemon's segment included video of Bill O'Reilly ranting about violence in the black community. Violence, high drop out rates and high out of wedlock birthrates are merely symptoms of systemic problems such as poverty, unemployment, inferior schools and war on drugs.

Ending poverty is not national top priority. We always hear politicians talk about protecting the middle class. Politicians rarely talk about waging a war of poverty. Poverty is a breeding ground for a multitude of problems. Many poor men are less likely to marry because they simply do not have the financial means to maintain and sustain a family. When one is poor and unemployed and living in an environment that saturated with drugs and guns, one is more likely to resort to selling drugs in order to survive.

As 2Pac says in his song Change, instead of waging a war on poverty, the government is waging a war on drugs. That war is essentially a war on black people. As Michelle Alexander notes in her book The New Jim Crow, African Americans do not use or sell more drugs than whites. More specifically, on page 4 of the introduction, Professor Alexander states, "Studies show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates.10 If there are significant differences in the surveys to be found, they frequently suggest that whites, particularly white youth, are more likely to engage in drug crime than people of color.11" However, the police focus their efforts in the black community thereby exacerbating the problem of mass incarceration in our community. Mass incarceration contributes to the destruction of the black family. A man cannot be there for his family if he is in jail.

Moreover, America has not made improving poor inner city schools a top priority. Instead of treating the high African American dropout rate as a national disaster, it is viewed as a problem in "the black precincts". The federal, state and local governments must build an infrastructure to encourage young black students to finish high school. We must give our children the tools they need to attend college or trade schools. When people are educated and employed, they are less likely to engage in criminal activity.

If conservatives truly cared about black on black violence, they would do several things. They would support background checks for gun purchases. They would fight to close gun show loopholes that allow our streets to be flooded with guns. The easy availability of such weapons fuels the carnage in Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore and other urban centers. They would support Rep. Robert "Bobby" Scott's Youth Promise Act, a "long term, evidence based and locally based" plan to reduce violence by addressing the root causes of the problem. Finally, they would stop blocking job creation bills. How can you take care of your family when you do not have a job?

Until Don Lemon, Bill O'Reilly and other are willing to address the root causes of violence, they need to shut the hell up. Don Lemon, why didn't you rant on and on about poverty, unemployment, gun control, inferior schools and mass incarceration?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

President Obama, Trayvon Martin and Racial Profiling Part 2

A couple of days ago, the President delivered a powerful speech regarding Trayvon Martin and racial profiling. In the video below, I analyze the President's bold speech.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

President Obama, Trayvon Martin and Racial Profiling

Good morning. Yesterday, the President gave a candid, impromptu speech about Trayvon Martin, racial profiling and Stand Your Ground laws. For that, I salute him. Later, I will analyze the speech. What did you think about the speech?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Eric Holder: We Must Stand Our Ground!

Good morning family. President Obama has taken some heat for that disappointing press statement following the verdict in the George Zimmerman case. However, Attorney General Eric Holder has boldly spoken out against racial profiling and Stand Your Ground laws. In addition, the Department of Justice is investigating the Zimmerman case. So, for now, I will give the President a pass.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Justice for Trayvon #J4TM: The Struggle Continues

When I heard the George Zimmerman verdict, I was stunned and shocked. I was speechless. I am still outraged. I can't watch the news for awhile. I am appalled by Zimmerman attorneys' gloating and revolting proclamations. I am sickening by the Zimmerman team's demonic grins. They look like devils to me.

For once, I allowed myself to believe in the criminal justice system. I allowed myself to hope. I thought that perhaps an all white southern jury would render a fair and just verdict. I thought that maybe those mothers on the jury would sympathize with another mother, Sybrina Fulton. As mothers, I thought that they would feel Ms. Fulton's pain. I thought that maybe they would value Trayvon's life. I was wrong, so wrong.

The defense closed their case by having a young white woman testify about young black teenagers burglarizing her home. She testified about hiding in the closet terrified and with her infant as the burglars roamed around in her house. She testified about how George Zimmerman talked to her and helped her purchase a new lock to secure her home. Her testimony was designed to serve two purposes. The first purpose was to reinforce the jury's fear of black men. The second purpose was to help rationalize and justify George Zimmerman's racial profiling of Trayvon Martin.

Unfortunately, the jury embraced the defense team's fear mongering and subtle racism. Despite all of George Zimmerman's lies, the jury accepted his false narrative as the gospel truth. Sadly, Trayvon Martin joins the ranks of Emmett Till, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo and Rodney King.

I reject the assertion that the prosecution did not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. That jury simply chose racism over reason. Obama is right about one thing. The jury has spoken. Their message was loud and clear. Through their despicable verdict, they said that it is acceptable to assume that all young black men and boys are dangerous criminals. They said that it is acceptable to hunt unarmed black boys. They said that the right to self defense is reserved for white people. They said that it is a capital offense for a black person to even think about self defense.

They told the world that black life is worth less than a piece of fecal matter. They told the world that Trayvon Martin was not a precious human being. They said he is not our brother or our son. They said that he is a deposable nigger. Once again, we are reminded that a dog's life has more value than a black man's life. So, no. I will not be politically correct. I will never say that I respect the jury's decision. They were wrong as hell. Most intelligent and conscientious people realized that.

That is why the people continue to rally around the country for justice for Trayvon. The struggle for justice continues. Thousands of people are peacefully marching and rallying in New York, Newark, Boston, Los Angeles and other cities around the country. The bloggers will continue to blog about this issue. We care about this issue because we are all Trayvon. He is our brother. He is our son. He is our nephew. We will not let that young brother die in vain. I pray that his death will be a catalyst for a new movement for social justice.

Here are some very practical things that each one of us can do. First, as the great Pan Africanist Kwame Ture always said, join a social justice or political organization in your local community. In order to fight injustice, we must be organized. The best way to organize is to join an organization. Remain active in those organizations. There is strength in unity. We must unite with other like minded individuals. Second, participate in peacefully Justice for Trayvon marches and rallies in your local community. Join the March on Washington on August 24, 2013. The U.S. Department of Justice and whole world must see our outrage. Third, sign the NAACP's petition urging the Department of Justice to file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman. Fourth, we must lobby to eliminate Stand Your Ground laws around country. We must fight for stricter gun control laws around the country. A person who assaults a police officer should not be allowed to own a semi-automatic handgun. A person who engages in domestic violence should not be allowed to own a semi-automatic handgun. Such people should not be allowed to join neighborhood watch programs. Finally, we must take our civic obligations seriously. We must register to vote and vote in every election. We must elect mayors who make civil rights a top priority. We must respond to every jury summons and get on these juries. If we don't, all white juries will continue to render unjust verdicts.

Despite our great disappointment, we cannot allow ourselves to be discouraged. We must remain vigilant and engaged. We have come too far to give up now. The struggle for justice continues.

This article is cross-posted on This Week in Blackness.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Justice for Trayvon Martin #J4TM: The State Delivers A Powerful Rebuttal

Good afternoon family. Today, the prosecution delivered a powerful rebuttal in the George Zimmerman trial. I encourage everyone to listen to D.A. John Guy's rebuttal.

Why the Jury Should Convict George Zimmerman

Disclaimer: As usual, the views expressed in this article are my and my alone. They do not reflect the views of my employer, associates, advertisers or friends.

All of the naysayers are assuming that George Zimmerman will walk away free. Juries are unpredictable. So, I will not make any predictions. I will say this. I hope that the jury convicts Zimmerman of second degree murder or manslaughter. For me, this case is not complicated. If Zimmerman was black and Trayvon Martin was white, none of these pundits would be blabbering about reasonable doubt.

§ 782.04(2), Fla.Stat. states that:
To prove the crime of Second Degree Murder, the State must prove the following three elements beyond a reasonable doubt
1. (Victim) is dead.
2. The death was caused by the criminal act of (defendant).
3. There was an unlawful killing of (victim) by an act imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind without regard for human life.

An “act” includes a series of related actions arising from and performed pursuant to a single design or purpose.
An act is “imminently dangerous to another and demonstrating a depraved mind” if it is an act or series of acts that:
1. a person of ordinary judgment would know is reasonably certain to kill or do serious bodily injury to another, and
2. is done from ill will, hatred, spite, or an evil intent, and
3. is of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.
In order to convict of Second Degree Murder, it is not necessary for the State to prove the defendant had an intent to cause death.

FL ST CR JURY INST 3.7 states that:
A reasonable doubt is not a mere possible doubt, a speculative, imaginary or forced doubt. Such a doubt must not influence you to return a verdict of not guilty if you have an abiding conviction of guilt. On the other hand, if, after carefully considering, comparing and weighing all the evidence, there is not an abiding conviction of guilt, or, if, having a conviction, it is one which is not stable but one which wavers and vacillates, then the charge is not proved beyond every reasonable doubt and you must find the defendant not guilty because the doubt is reasonable.
Trayvon Martin, a teenage boy, is dead. His death was caused by George Zimmerman's criminal act, shooting Trayvon Martin in the heart. Zimmerman acted with a deprived mind. A person of ordinary judgment would know that shooting someone in the chest is reasonably certain to kill or do serious bodily harm to another. Obviously, shooting someone in the heart shows an indifference to human life.

George Zimmerman acted with ill will hatred, spite and evil intent. Zimmerman racial profiled Trayvon Martin because he was a young black male. Zimmerman has a long history of calling the police on African Americans. That man views young African Americans as a menace plaguing his community. When he saw Trayvon Martin, he automatically assumed that Trayvon Martin was a criminal who was "up to no good." Trayvon Martin was not doing anything wrong. He was not committing any crime. He was just walking from the store after purchasing Skittles and iced tea. Buying candy and a beverage should not be a capital offense. He was unarmed.

Zimmerman did not know anything about Trayvon Martin. Yet, he assumed that Trayvon Martin was a criminal. Zimmerman's assumption was based primarily on the color of Trayvon Martin's skin. Despite not knowing Trayvon Martin, Zimmerman referred to Trayvon Martin as a "f***ing punk" and one of the "a**holes" who always get away. Zimmerman was determined to make sure that Trayvon Martin did not get away alive. Those words and his history are evidence of ill will and hatred of young African American men and boys. In his closing argument, defense counsel essentially acknowledged that Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin. Defefnse counsel Mark O'Mara said that all of people arrested for burglaries in the area were African Americans. Essentially, O'Mara is arguing that was reasonable for Zimmerman to profile Trayvon Martin since Martin was a young black man.

To justify his actions, Zimmerman claims that he acted in self defense. I do not buy it. I hope that jury does not either. Here is the legal standard for a self defense claim.
Fla. Stat. Ann. § 776.012 (West) states that:
A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other's imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:
(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony.

George Zimmerman is the one who got out his car and starting following Trayvon Martin at night in the rain. Trayvon Martin was the one running from Zimmerman. Obviously, Trayvon was the one who was in fear. George Zimmerman is the one who ran after Trayvon Martin. On the 911 call, you can hear Zimmerman running. George Zimmerman is the one who continued to pursue Trayvon Martin even though the 911 operator specifically told him "we do not need you to that." Instead of listening to the 911 operator, wannabe cop Zimmerman decided to play the roles of judge, jury and executioner.

Rachel Jeantel's testimony supports this account. While talking to Trayvon Martin on the phone, Jeantel says that she heard a bump and the sound of wet grass. She heard Trayvon Martin say, "Get off." That indicates that George Zimmerman was the aggressor, not Trayvon Martin. At that point, Trayvon Martin, not George Zimmerman, was the one who reasonably believed that he had to defend himself. You cannot claim self defense if you are the aggressor. If Zimmerman stayed in his car, Trayvon Martin would still be alive.

I reject George Zimmerman's account for several reasons. Zimmerman took 18 months of mixed marital arts training. Yet, he expects us to believe that he was helpless. He claims that Trayvon Martin punched him between 20 and 30 times, and banged his head into the concrete sidewalk over and over again. Yet, according to the State's expert witnesses, Zimmerman's injuries were insignificant.

Furthermore, Zimmerman claimed that Trayvon Martin covered Zimmerman's bloody nose and mouth. Yet, none of Zimmerman's blood was on Martin's hands and sleeves. Martin is right handed but there were no injuries on his right hand. If he repeatedly punched Zimmerman, there would probably be some injuries on his right hand. According to the State's expert witness, the Zimmerman struck his head once.

Zimmerman claimed that Trayvon Martin jumped out of the bushes. There is one problem. There were no bushes where the incident occurred.

The prosecution made another powerful point. If Trayvon Martin was on top of Zimmerman with his legs covering Zimmerman's waistband, how was Zimmerman able to reach his gun? Zimmerman claimed that Martin grabbed his gun. However, none of Martin's DNA is on the gun or the holster.

Again, there is yet another inconsistency. Zimmerman said that he did not know about Florida's Stand Your Ground law. Yet, he studied self defense law and got an A in the class. As the prosecution said, Zimmerman knew how to shape his story in a away to support his false claim of self defense.

Moreover, I am convinced that Trayvon Martin was the one screaming on that 911 tape. As one of the witnesses testified, the screams sound like a boy's voice, not a 28 year old man's voice. Of the people testifying about that tape, Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon Martin's mother, was the most creditable. Her dignified demeanor and emotional testimony was compelling. George Zimmerman's parade of witnesses were not believable for a couple of reasons. First of all, Zimmerman acknowledged that the voice on the tape did not even sound like him. That alone trumps his parade of biased, self interested witnesses. Two of Zimmerman's witnesses are profiting from the Zimmerman trial by selling books and they plan to make donations to George Zimmerman. Clearly, they are biased. Zimmerman's uncle's testimony was not creditable. I find it difficult to believe that he immediately recognized Zimmerman's voice when he heard the screams on the news.

In sum, I do not see any reasonable doubt. I have an abiding conviction of guilt. It does not waver or vacillate. Since Zimmerman's story lacks credibility due to many inconsistencies and since Zimmerman was the aggressor, I would reject his self defense claim and enter a verdict of guilty. That killer is guilty in my eyes.

Even if the jury does not think that the State proved that Zimmerman committed second degree murder, they can and should find him guilty of manslaughter. West's F.S.A. § 782.07 states that:

(1) The killing of a human being by the act, procurement, or culpable negligence of another, without lawful justification according to the provisions of chapter 776 and in cases in which such killing shall not be excusable homicide or murder, according to the provisions of this chapter, is manslaughter, a felony of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, s. 775.083, or s. 775.084.

For a manslaughter conviction, the State does not have to prove that Zimmerman acted with ill will, spite or hatred. Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin without legal justification. At the very least, the jury should convict Zimmerman of manslaughter.

As the President Obama said, "If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon." When I see Trayvon, I see my nephew. When I see Trayvon, I see my brother. I see myself. I hope that Zimmerman does not walk. I hope that he ges to jail for this crime.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Justice For Trayvon: The Prosecution Rests

Yesterday, the prosecution rested its case. Trayvon Martin's mother and brother testified that Trayvon Martin was the one screaming on that infamous 911 call. Associate medical examiner Dr. Shiping Bao testified that Trayvon lived for 1 to 10 minutes after being shot. Dr. Bao testified that Trayvon suffered in pain during his last moments of life. Dr. Bao also testified that Trayvon was unable to move or talk after being shot in the heart. After Dr. Bao testified, the court heard and denied defense counsel's motion for an aquittal. Then, the defense called George Zimmerman's mother and uncle to the stand to testify.

In my latest YouTube video, I share my opinions about the case.

What do you think about the George Zimmerman trial?

Monday, July 1, 2013