By Charles Hallman
Organizers of Monday’s downtown rally in front of the Hennepin County Government Center estimated the peaceful crowd of all ages and ethnicities at between 3,500 and 4,000 people. “I’m supposed to be here with my people, elbow to elbow and cheek to cheek, side by side,” proclaimed local poet Tish Jones, who was among a host of speakers addressing the crowd before marching down South Sixth Street to Hennepin Avenue and returning to the Center. Another protest is scheduled for Saturday as part of a national day of protest over the Zimmerman verdict. (For more information about Monday’s demonstration, go to the MSR website at www.spokesman-recorder.com.)
Similar marches are being held all across the country. And despite last weekend’s jury verdict, the national NAACP has requested that the U.S. Justice Department resume its investigation in the Trayvon Martin murder case. Continue Reading →
By Charles Hallman
Demonstrations took place from coast to coast since the Zimmerman acquittal was announced last Saturday. Many Blacks have strongly reacted to the news, and expressed for many, a continued disappointment in the U.S. justice system that seemingly fails for Black people, especially when they are the victims.
“The justice system is unashamedly and unapologetically racist,” believes Rev. Brian Herron, pastor of Zion Baptist Church. He spoke to the MSR before he gave a prayer to start Monday’s rally before an estimated crowd of, according to organizers, between 3,000 and 4,000 people at the Hennepin County Government Center. “When I first heard the verdict, I was very angry. I was very upset and it affected me,” notes Alyia Waddle, Minneapolis. Continue Reading →
During the first week of July, some in America showed their true colors by once again viciously attacking, with malice aforethought, a 19-year-old Black woman, Rachel Jeantel. She was the last person to speak to 17-year-old Trayvon Martin just seconds before he was to die at the hands of George Zimmerman on February 26, 2012. Ms. Jeantel was born in the nation of Haiti but has been a resident of the United States since age three. But English is not her native tongue. It is her third language. How many languages do her tormentors speak? Rachel Jeantel is important for two reasons. First, she teaches us about the lessons of respect. Second, she brought credibility and truth to her testimony. Continue Reading →
By Michael Skolnik
We didn’t mourn with the family from the church pews when 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was sent to his homecoming with God. We had not yet heard of his name. We couldn’t stop the one shot fired on that drizzling night in Sanford, Florida on February 26, 2012. We, too, were watching LeBron, Kobe and D. Wade on our television. We didn’t raise our voices when the man who pulled the trigger was allowed to sleep in his own bed the night he ended the life of the young man from Miami. Continue Reading →
The recent killing of Terrence Franklin by Minneapolis police by shooting him in the back of the head five times and in the back twice fits the pattern of police abuse of their powers. Those of us who have been around or haven’t been lulled to sleep by talk of color blindness in our society know in our hearts that on occasion the cops abuse Black people in general and people of color in specific. We don’t know exactly what happened in that South Minneapolis basement, but I do know that the story the cops slipped to the Minneapolis Star Tribune does not make sense. It’s one of the most contrived and imaginative of all the grand and tall tales cops have spun to try to make their crimes sound reasonable. In other words, they are lying! Continue Reading →
If Barack Obama isn’t going to have Black issues high among his priorities, what was the point of America making such a big deal out of him being the first Black president? Indeed, why did Black voters turn out in record numbers to put him in the White House? Just for the sake of being able to swell up their chests and point with pride to the fact that for the first time in history there’s an African American politician in the country’s most prestigious office? Just as a hollow, cosmetic gesture? The nation’s affirmative action poster boy? Continue Reading →
The tragic bombing that occurred at the Boston Marathon cannot be looked at in only black and white terms. Conspiracy theorists and political hacks are having a heyday with this. I am content with saying I don’t know what exactly happened or why the bombing took place. History tells me that when one is dealing with the U.S. government and the free marketers, who place profit and power before people, almost anything is possible. But the bombing does raise some questions and some eyebrows! Like some other folks, the announcement that the authorities were looking for a “dark-skinned” suspect made me go, “Uh-oh.” It was a curious description considering that the suspects are really Caucasians. Continue Reading →
Two weeks ago we learned that the WNBA’s top overall pick is gay. Last week we learned that a longtime NBA veteran center is gay. Neither news item bothered me at all. However, what does bother me is what convinced Britney Griner to tell a reporter that she’s out of the closet and why it matters. Ditto for what convinced Jason Collins to exclusively speak about his sexuality to Sports Illustrated. Continue Reading →
What does Trayvon Martin’s murder have to do with gay civil rights protection? The quick answer: The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act (mostly known by Matthew Shepard’s name). The nation is outraged that in 2012 an unarmed, African American 17-year-old high school student can be shot dead by a neighborhood watch captain because his egregious offense was “walking while Black” in a gated community. By now you are familiar with the story — on February 26, Trayvon Martin left a 7-Eleven convenience store to head back home to his father’s fiancée’s gated community in the Retreat at Twin Lakes in Sanford, Florida. George Zimmerman, 28, of mixed ethnic descent (mother’s Peruvian, and father’s Jewish — he identifies as Hispanic) began following Trayvon and called the Sanford Police Department. Continue Reading →
Will entrenched injustices cut us to pieces?
The death of Trayvon Martin on February 26 was not just another event in America’s troubled and tainted history of abusing the rights of African Americans. The controversy surrounding his death highlights a pivotal time in the history of our race relations. For every Trayvon there are 50 other Trayvon Martin cases that are never addressed for a variety of reasons: The community is not organized; the community is not aware; the community is frightened and intimidated; the community receives poor and ineffective legal counsel; and our community is often at war with itself. Not enough in Black and White America recognize that where there is a spark there is a potential for a full-fledged inferno that burns away and obstructs the quest for justice. Continue Reading →