Reflecting on the Loss of Trayvon and Chokwe-How Will We Honor Them?

Trayvon Martin wore a hoodie in the rain..In the world of Don lemon and Geraldo, maybe He should've had an umbrella instead2 years ago today we lost a young man by the name of Trayvon Martin..He was on his way home from the store when a racist man filled with hate and fearful of Black people ‘suspected‘ him of being ‘up to no good‘ because he was deemed to be out of place in the upscale neighborhood.

Disobeying police orders, George Zimmerman, a man with a criminal record and history of violence acting in the capacity of self appointed neighborhood watch captain, followed, this young brother and ultimately wound up killing him…

After Trayvon was killed that fateful night it took 44 days before Zimmerman was arrested and charged by a prosecuting team that for the most part did not want to try him and literally killed the concept of ‘justice’ during the trial.  They brought their C and D game to the trial vs their ‘A’ game thus revealing to their world the same bias toward Black people that Zimmerman had.

We should never forget what happened to Trayvon who was not only killed by Zimmerman but also saw his character viciously assassinated by many who can’t stand the fact that with each passing day they are losing their power and the world they once oppressively ruled.

We should never forget that the parents of Trayvon Martin lost their son…There are few things in this world more painful then losing a child… Reflect on that for a minute…

As we reflect on Trayvon, let us also reflect on the sudden loss of Chokwe Lumumba, a true freedom fighter and the recently elected Mayor of Jackson, Mississippi. Lumumba throughout his life, stood and fought tirelessly for justice and was shining light in a sea of madness. His election while ignored by many political pundits had ignited the masses who were excited about his bold plans for Jackson (The Jackson Plan: A Struggle for Self-Determination, Participatory Democracy, and Economic Justice )and the upcoming conference in May called Jackson Rising. His loss was a heartbreak for many.

Chokwe Lumumba

Chokwe Lumumba

How will we honor their deaths? Will we stand for justice like Chokwe? Will we value life and love and respect each other so we don’t have any more Trayvons, meaning young people who die tragically before their time? Or will today be just like any other day in America where we capitulate to the social and political engineering efforts of corporate tyranny?

For those of who are older, it would be a big loss if we don’t teach our youth the lessons learned around Trayvon and the legacy of Chokwe. Today is a day for reflection. Tomorrow is when we make a commitment to move forward in honor of two who are now with the ancestors..

Controversial Video Re-Enacts Murder of Trayvon Martin, Demands We Oppose Stand Your Ground Laws

Trayvon Martin wore a hoodie in the rain..In the world of Don lemon and Geraldo, maybe He should've had an umbrella instead

Trayvon Martin

Below is a new video to bring attention to the horrors of Stand Your Ground Laws which now exist in at least 26 states.. This is an eerie re-enactment of what took place the night Trayvon Martin was racially profiled and later shot and killed by neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman. It includes the infamous 9-11 call Zimmerman placed to police as well as words from witnesses after the shooting.

The PSA is from the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence which is urging Americans to “Stand up to ‘Stand Your Ground'” laws many of which are products of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council ) efforts. ALEC in many places are heavily financed by the far-right wing Koch Brothers.

For more information visit to sign a petition to your state legislators calling on them to oppose “Stand Your Ground” laws.

Refa 1 & Mark Anthony Neal Speak on Trayvon, Black Male Image & Hip Hop

Refa1 and Mark Anthony Neal

Refa 1 and Mark Anthony Neal

HKR ..The other day we sat down with two long time activist/ educators and Hip Hop practitioners, Refa 1 and Mark Anthony Neal to talk about media images of Black people and how it impacted the George Zimmerman trial and folks in general being profiled. We also talked about Hip Hop and how its being used and misused and the steps we must take to push back on corporate dominance.

Refa 1 who is a pioneering aerosol artist who spoke at length about the importance of us controlling our own images and narratives. He noted that Hip Hop started out being something that we controlled and we allowed it to be turned over to corporate entities who literally turned its meaning and message upside down. he talked about the work he’s been doing with Black writers from all over the world to reclaim image and to set new standards for others to follow. He also spoke about the importance staying connected to the hood and doing work in the hood so that folks who are easily influenced can see quality work right in front of them..

Mark Anthony Neal is a professor at Duke University in North Carolina and the author of several  books including his most recent one ‘Looking For Leroy Illegible Black Masculinities‘  He talked about the ways Black men and Black boys in particular are recognized and not recognized by society at large. In short we are often prejudged and boxed in to fit a certain type of narrative and stereotype.

Neal kicked off our interview by citing an example of how we react when we see a Black boy with  basketball vs a Black boy with a violin.  He explained that for many watching the Zimmerman trial, seeing a black boy as thug has become the norm leaving many with very little leeway to see us any other way. Black boy and Black men are seen as people who have to be contained , policed and controlled.  He went into further detail as to how that plays out in other situations above and beyond the trial.

Both Refa and Mark talked about ways in which we must reclaim our humanity and how its been systematically stripped from us.. We talked about the ways in which Hip Hop and culture can help us heal and repair our image..

below is the full interview with both men.. Take listen they drop a lot of knowledge.

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HKR-Refa 1 & Mark Anthony Neal on Trayvon, Race and Hip Hop

Florida Gov Refuses Black Students Demands on Zimmerman Verdict: Tells Them to Go Home & Pray

Dream DefendersA couple of weeks ago I raised the question and concern about the lack of national coverage and space being given to local organizers in Florida around those seeking justice for Trayvon Martin. While it was good that those with national platforms help shine light on the situation, it was equally important that those who did and continue to the day-to-day work be highlighted and supported for their work…One such group is the Dream Defenders. Make sure you get to know them..

Shortly after Trayvon was murdered and many of us had no idea this took place a group of Black college students started organizing and making a lot of noise.. Calling themselves the Dream Defenders, they did a 40 mile walk from the state capital to Sanford, Florida to bring attention to Trayvon’s murder and since then have been quietly but steadfastly growing and organizing.

Currently they have members all over the state.. They have been organizing in different communities around key issues impacting everyday Floridians.. Those issues range from ending voter suppression, ending the school to prison pipeline and making sure there are improved economic opportunities for folks..

Shortly after the Zimmerman verdict, Dream Defenders went to Florida Governor Rick Scott‘s office and started sitting in and spending the night. After 3 days of protests they had a meeting with the governor late last night. He listened to the Dream Defenders and turned down their demands one of which included him calling a special session to deal with the important issues around Stand Your Ground. They informed the governor that they intend to stay until he agrees to what they have laid on the table..

Dream DefendersEarly this morning, we did an interview with community outreach coordinator for the Dream Defenders, Jabiri Mickles. He gave us the full breakdown of the sit in and the overall political climate in Florida. He said for the most part things are very tense with many fearful that they are not able to protect themselves from George Zimmerman types.

I asked Jabari whether it was feasible for Black folks to arm themselves and under Stand Your Ground laws  start fighting back so one doesn’t meet the same fate as Trayvon Martin and most recently Jordan Davis. Mickles noted that less than 3% of Black folks get off using Stand Your Ground defense. That’s problematic and reflects the inadequacies of Florida’s justice system.

During last night’s meeting with Governor Rick Scott, when asked whether or not he would repeal the Stand Your Ground, he told the group to go home and pray. Mickles noted that they have prayed and now its time to go to work and get things changed.

He also went on to note the importance of not only getting the law repealed but also strengthening the political landscape. He went into detail as to how voter suppression is being carried out in Florida even before voter restriction laws were put in place. he noted that in many places there is a harsh climate of fear with many feeling there will be physical payback if they speak out.

Dream Defenders signs We also talked to him about the Dream Walkers which were undocumented Latino students who made national headlines a few years ago when they marched from Florida to the White House and literally sat in president Obama’s office demanding immigration reform.

Jabari explained he wasn’t sure if the Dream Defenders had hooked up directly with the Dream Walkers even though they both used the word Dream in identifying themselves. He did note that immigration reform is a big part of what they organize around and a number of immigrant rights organization work with and have members who are rolling with the Dream Defenders. He noted that folks should keep in mind, in Florida the face of the immigrant under siege is Black and not just Brown and  Mexican which how many around the country have come to know the battle around immigration. In short undocumented Black folks are being hunted down by ICE trucks and wannabe Minutemen types and vigilante border watchers..

Below is our Hard Knock Radio interview w/ Jabari Mickles of the Dream Defenders

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HKR-intv w/ Jabari Mickles of the Dream Defenders

Boots Riley of the Coup Speaks on Zimmerman Verdict & the Tone of Recent Protests

Boots Riley of the Coup

Boots Riley of the Coup

HKR 07-17-2013: Yesterday we caught up with long time activist and artist Boots Riley of the Coup and had a great dialogue on Hard Knock Radio about the George Zimmerman verdict and the subsequent demonstrations that have kicked off all over the country in the aftermath.

Boots laid out his thoughts on this and connected it to larger pictures that are in play all over the planet.. We talked at length about the protests and the tone they have taken and how they compare to protest in other parts of the world. We also talked about what should be some possible end goals especially if one perceives the justice system to be beyond repair. Boots of course noted the importance of not seeing the issues around seeking justice for Trayvon Martin in isolation, but instead as something that is systemic requiring us to have deeper analysis and long-term goals for fundamental change.

We also talked about Boot’s new album ‘Sorry to Bother You’ and his upcoming shows in the Bay Area this weekend..

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HKR Boots Riley-on Trayvon and Demonstrations

100 young Black activists respond to the George Zimmerman verdict

Screen shot 2013-07-15 at 8.18.57 AM

jasiri x hood

Jasiri X read the statement crafted by the 100 Black Youth leaders in response to the Zimmerman verdict.

Over the weekend in the City of Chicago over 100 Black Youth from all over the country came together for a convention put together by the Black Youth Project.. Their mission was to identify key issues in their community and develop long and short-term strategies for dealing with them. Many of the participants  in attendance were there because they had already proven to be effected grassroots leaders in their communities so in essence, this weekend saw a whose who of incredible young minds determined to improve their respective communities..

This weekend’s Black Youth Project Summit was planned months in advance happen to occur the same weekend that the George Zimmerman trial wrapped up and a verdict was read. Needless to say the folks BYP100 had lots of keen insight and heartfelt emotions around the outcome.. They wasted no time in laying out plans of actions both to respond what they felt was a grave injustice. They also issue in incredible statement underscoring their collective position..

Pittsburgh artist/ activist Jasiri X who was one of the elders in attendance helping the BYP100 came on our radio show Sunday morning to share his thoughts and music. He also read off the statement these 100 youth put together.. Below is a link to the interview and statement being read.. Below that is the actual text.. Please reflect and find ways to encourage more folks in our community to address their pains and aspirations

HKR-Jasiri X intv on Black Youth project 100 statement

100 young Black activists respond to the George Zimmerman verdict

To the Family of Brother Trayvon Martin and to the Black Community:

May this statement find us in the spirit of peace and solidarity.

We know that justice for Black life is justice for humanity.

Our hope and community was shaken through a system that is supposed to be built on freedom and justice for all. We are your sons and daughters. We are the marginalized and disenfranchised. We are one hundred next generation leaders. We are the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100).

We see the hopelessness of a generation that has been broken trying to find its place in this world. We understand that we need to turn anger into action and pain into power.

As we waited to hear the verdict, in the spirit of unity, we formed a circle and locked hands. When we heard “not guilty,” our hearts broke collectively. In that moment, it was clear that Black life had no value. Emotions poured out – emotions that are real, natural and normal, as we grieved for Trayvon and his stolen humanity. Black people, WE LOVE AND SEE YOU. We mourn, but there’s hope as long as love endures.

Trayvon was manifested from ancestral excellence. The salt water falling from our eyes now, is not different from the salt water we were trafficked on then. If the soil of the United States could speak, before saying a word it would cough up our blood. Choking frantically, crust-curdling with the gore of a oppressed peoples it has been force-fed. White supremacy has water-boarded it with the remnants of its genocide of us.

This moment reminds us that we can’t look to others to see our value but we have to recognize our own value. In spite of what was said in court, what verdict has been reached, or how hopeless we feel, Trayvon did NOT die in vain. A mother should never have to bury her son. However, his death will serve as the catalyst of a new movement where the struggle for justice will prevail.

Instead of a moment of silence, we raise our voices together. As Audre Lorde said, “our silence will NOT PROTECT US.” We are young leaders standing on the shoulders of our ancestors, carrying the historical trauma embedded in a legal system that will NOT PROTECT US. We are the legacy of Black resilience that compels us to fight for our lives.

We continue to call out Black Love, Black Power and Black is Beautiful in the face of continued devaluation of Black life. We affirm a love of ALL Black life, no matter if we are in hoodies or business suits, incarcerated or in boardrooms, on welfare or in the WNBA, on the corner or in the White House. We declare the fundamental value, beauty and power of ALL Black people. The poet Claude McKay once said, “Though far outnumbered, let us show us brave…we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack. Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!”




Beyond November Movement

July 14, 2013


Contact information:

Farajii Muhammad

Kai M. Green


Black Youth Project (BYP100) is 100 young black activists from across the country convened by the Black Youth Project to mobilize communities of color beyond electoral politics.

Why is There So Much Hype About Riots After this George Zimmerman Verdict?

Trayvon Martin signSo as the jury deliberates for a second day around this George Zimmerman trial, talk about Rodney King style riots breaking out is being amped up..

News anchors and pundits along with the police are showing up on TV looking all somber telling us to please keep it peaceful and stay calm no matter what the verdict.. I think I saw a news report with Reverend Al Sharpton telling us not to gloat if Zimmerman is convicted..Seemingly every Civil Rights leader from Jesse Jackson to NAACP head Ben Jealous has been dragged before the cameras to plead for folks to trust in the justice system, even if it far too often, leaves us on the short end of the stick.

In preparing for this possible urban unrest, community leaders have gone out and tapped young people to do anti-violence PSA’s where they plead for peace. The whole scene reminded me of what was done on the days leading up to the Oscar Grant verdict which took place July 8th 2010.. Folks in the Bay Area may recall this PSA shown below:

This is what’s being done now around the Zimmerman trial:

Several protesters lie face down on the ground in front of of riot

Protesters lie face down on the ground in front of riot cops

With respect to this threat of riots/civil unrest, let’s unpack that for a minute. My experience over the years of covering uprisings during the Oscar Grant Movement, the Occupy Movement, various the DNC and RNC Conventions from 2000 on up, to several G20 and G8 summits has led me to the conclusion that we should always be asking the following questions; 1-Who is pushing the assertions that riots are imminent and how are they pushing it? 2-Who stands to benefit the most from the threat of unrest? (key word ‘threat’)  3-What’s the political, economic and social agenda if any, attached these threats?

Personally I think the riot talk is being hyped up to the financial benefit of two main outfits which are corporate media and the Police.. Both thrive off of fear, confusion and mayhem..

In the case of news outlets, a riot is the ultimate reality tv that falls in line with its tried and true modus operandi “if it bleeds it leads’..Trust me many of those anchors and pundits may be sitting up in their cushy chairs pleading with you to stay home, but their overall coverage and over the top on air banter is designed to push emotional buttons, ignite and incite..

OscarGrantChaos in the streets equals ratings, hence if there ain’t some windows being broken and fires being lit after this verdict comes down, you’re gonna have some disappointed news outlets..

The other outfit that benefits from all this riot talk are the police..You start talking riots and civil unrest, it becomes an all hands on deck operations. This means cops are called in on their day off while others have their vacation days cut..

Everyone is put to work as the departments deploy extra patrols and increase surveillance and intel gathering of anyone and everyone who they think might be down to set it off after the verdict is read..

In preparation for the best believe many departments are dusting off the law books and seeing how they can push the legal envelope.. This means they may do explore everything from mass arrests to pre-emptive raids and detaining of key organizers to shutting down entire blocks and neighborhoods to setting up enclosed ‘protests zones’ and ‘free speech cages’. Many are going over crowd control and kettling strategies

All this is happening to the tune of massive overtime pay for law enforcement.. This is on top of them busting out new weapons, new vehicles and new Star wars-type storm trooper outfits..

I recall during the Oscar Grant and Oakland Occupy Movements, police would hold press conferences warning fearful residents of ‘outside agitators’ and anarchists. They would then bring in as many as 500 cops from 17 different jurisdictions to the tune of 500k to one million a pop..

Police Riot gearThis scenario is playing out in cities all over the country. From Oakland to New York to Chicago to Houston.. Police in Sanford, Florida are not the only ones gearing up for ‘civil unrest’. It’s big business and a lot of folks are fixing to get paid..

The biggest irony to all this all this is while the focus and concern on riots is directed at Black folks who are continuously being demonized, civil unrest may actually come from far-right wing nuts who support George Zimmerman and feel a conviction will be a blow to Stand Your Ground Laws..Black folks do not have a monopoly on civil unrest..

This country has a sordid past where we seen angry white mobs set off some of the most devastating riots’ in history with Black people as their target. from Tulsa to Chicago to Atlanta to Bensonhurst, BK to Boston to Howard Beach.. Even in the riots most associated with Black unrest, large numbers of Black folks were killed often at the hands of the police who used the occasion to go off..We saw this during the Watts Riots in 65 to the Newark and Detroit uprisings in ’67 to Rodney King unrest  in ’92. Many of us deemed those deaths as target practice.. The recent HBO documentary about all those killed by police during the Newark Riots gives a serious breakdown on this.

In recent years we’ve seen a major increase in the number of Black people killed or brutalized by the police. According to the latest reports from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, every 28 hours a Black person is killed by police.  You don’t think that hostility won’t play out during a Rodney King style riot?? All one has to do is look at what unfolded during Katrina when there were threats of riots and mayhem to see how the police and folks in power get down.. There were all sorts of killings both by police and vigilante types..

tea-party-gun-advocateOver the past few years we’ve seen the uncovering of plots with white supremacist attempting to find ways to set off some sort of race war.. We’ve seen a rise in militia types who feel like this country is set to collaspe with Black and Brown folks as the blame. This is coupled with the anger and vitriol we’ve seen by Tea Party types who have shown up with guns in tow on to presidential campaign rallies and congressional townhall meetings that they’ve disrupt, who down to bring the ruckus..

During this George Zimmerman trial we’ve had a number of prominent conservative leaning journalists from Geraldo Rivera to Joe Scarborough hawking the ‘Trayvon was a hoodie wearing thug who got what he deserved‘ narrative and that if Zimmerman doesn’t get off its an indication are country is falling. Many have embraced such rhetoric to the point that in all honesty instead of just having a traditional Civil Rights leaders calling for peace, maybe we need to see folks like Pastor Rick Warren or the head of the NRA Wayne LaPierre doing PSA calling on folks to be peaceful and respect the verdict.

What’s also ironic is with many of these so-called riots we’ve seen in recent years from the one in Austin, Texas in May of 2009 when police killed a sleeping Nathaniel Sanders to the recent unrest in East Flatbush, Brooklyn after Kamani Gray was gunned down, they pale in comparison to the unrest we see breakout after sporting events.

Compare the unrest in Oakland after the Oscar Grant verdict in 2010 to the mayhem that engulfed neighboring San Francisco after the Giants won the World Series this past year.

Compare the unrest that occurred on the Penn State campus when went students went buckwyld after learning head coach Joe Paterno was fired with the lack of unrest in Detroit a few weeks ago when a mistrial ‘verdict ‘ came down for SWAT Team member Joseph Weekley who was accused of killing 7 year old Aiyana Stanley Jones while he was ‘showing off’ for a Reality TV show.

Compare the reaction to verdicts of injustice to high profile cases like Sean Bell or Amadou Diallo where officers were acquitted for shooting un-armed men to the riots in the streets we saw after the Lakers Beat the Celtics in 2010 or after the crazy riots in Vancouver after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup. Where was the nationwide calls for peace or even Anti-riot PSAs from the respective sports stars?

Penn State Riots

Penn State Riots

What’s going on right now with all these impending riot warnings seems like another attempt to resurrect the scary Black Boogey man..It’s the continued demonization of Black folks at all costs.  It was done during this trial where Trayvon Martin‘s character was called into question and he was depicted as a weed smoking violent prone thug vs George Zimmerman who actually has an arrest record, a criminal past and a history of violence.. It’s being done now with the goal of planting fear in the minds of many..

By feeding into that narrative of young African-Americans as the main instigators and sole participants, what gets overlooked is the fact that in many civil disturbances including the Rodney King uprisings which we are told we need to prevent, folks from all sorts of racial and ethnic backgrounds were running around kicking up dust and in the mix. We saw that during the Oscar Grant protests.. We saw that during the uprisings in London and France.. We sure as hell saw that during the Occupy, Anti-war and Anti-Globalization Protests.

What also gets lost is that many times there are no riots after any number of controversial trials.

If there is any sort of unrest after this George Zimmerman trial because he’s acquitted it won’t be only Black folks out in the streets. It’ll be folks of all stripes who are upset with a justice system that they perceive as unfair.. If there is unrest perhaps we should be exploring ways to repair a broken justice system that has left many with broken spirits and broken hearts vs worrying about broken windows which are easily replaced..

Jasiri X: George Zimmerman is a ‘Creepy Azz Cracka’

George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman

I’m Loving what Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X just did around this George Zimmerman’s what he had to say:

I decided to put my thoughts about the Zimmerman trial, the ruling on the Voting Rights Act, and Race in America into a 16 bar verse:

Oh you was born black welcome to the curse race

Oh you was born brown you sure this is your birthplace

This is America the home of the white man

Where every other American gets a hyphen

People of color police shoot us on site man

And then be like damn I was just frightened

See just the color of my skin is intimidating

Here I’m a criminal just based on my pigmentation

We need God our only mass is incarceration

We need Jesus cause these preachers got the heart of Satan

They toast to our death celebrating with ice cream

Vanilla with the cake cone must be a white thing

They wanna stop us from voting well what do rights mean?

If the end result of our struggle can just be wiped clean

And Zimmerman is a creepy ass cracka

A racist child murdering liar and bad actor


Day 1: Prof Kim Ellis aka Dr Goddess Report back from George Zimmerman Trial

Professor Kimberley Ellis aka Dr Goddess believes that the devastation of the earthquake has profoundly moved Wyclef and inspired him to a embrace a 'higher calling' of service for his country

Professor Kimberley Ellis aka Dr Goddess

Day one of the George Zimmerman trial in Sanford, Florida was an eventful one. Its shaping up to be a trial that will define race relations and confidence in the justice system for a generation that was too young or not around during the OJ Simpson trial which was almost 20 years ago..You can see all the shenanigans being pulled by the defense attorney to either cause mass confusion by muddying the waters so that the aggressor becomes the victim and the deceased who is Trayvon Martin is made to be the aggressor.

During the proceedings which was peppered with the defense making ‘Knock Knock’ jokes and the prosecution opening up with colorful language used by Zimmerman, we saw the defendant looking like he was about to fall asleep at any moment. It was a pitiful sight to say the least, but one that seems designed to draw sympathy from the all-white female jury.

We caught up with Professor Kimberely Ellis aka Dr Goddess who is covering the trial for Sirisu XM’s Make it Plain show.. She gave her insight and analysis of today’s case..Check out our Hard Knock radio interview below..

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We Can Honor Trayvon By Making this George ZimmermanTrial Really Mean Something

George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman

As everyone watches this Trayvon Martin/ George Zimmerman trial, please note there will be a lot of inflammatory stuff said and revealed leading to a lot of emotion and discussion.. That of course is understandable.. However, we need to keep in mind.. this trial will be used by many in positions of power as a distraction.. So first and foremost, let’s be sure to keep our eyes and ears open for other things taking place..In other words pay close attention to new laws and policies that allow clamp down on our freedoms and even our rights to appeal…

That leads me to my second point.. we must remember George Zimmerman is not a police officer..He’s a guy who tried to act like one.. but he’s not an officer, thus the shooting of unarmed Black people every 28 hours by police as reported by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement doesn’t suddenly end with a Zimmerman conviction.. Him going to jail will not have a chilling effect on police officers. It will not change the way DAs mishandled police brutality cases. It will not handle the way judges come down on side of the police…

Remember the DA in this case prosecuting Zimmerman, Bernie de la Rionda was appointed by state attorney Angela Corey.. This is the same Ms Corey sent Marrisa Alexander to jail for 20 years for shooting a gun in the air to scare off husband who had a restraining order and was threatening to bet rid of Corey.. If anything it may make her a hero leading us forgetting she has dirty hands..

The bottom line is in the larger scheme of things Zimmerman is powerless. Yes, today with all the emotions surrounding this case, he symbolizes injustice and hopefully he’s convicted and punished. But again just like the OJ trial didn’t end police terrorism in LA or systemic racism in the department.  A Zimmerman conviction will not change policies like Stop and Frisk or even Stand Your Ground..It wont stop the people and organizations like ALEC that are behind those laws.. It won’t change the attitude of police who we saw just last week in Florida who feel they have a right to choke 14 year old boy holding a puppy  in front of his mother because they didn’t like the ‘dehumanizing’ look given to them..Read about that HERE.

This Zimmerman trial has the potential to be a stepping stone to major changes, but that’s only if we follow-up and don’t make the mistake of thinking the movement to end injustice ends with a Zimmerman conviction.

We talked with Michael Skolznik of Global Grind who is down in Sanford and in our conversation he noted that fortunately he has seen the political will of folks willing to step up and go beyond this trial. He noted that since Trayvon, there has been a lot of mobilizing around Stand Your Ground, and even though it’s not a defense being used by Zimmerman, folks were able to organize around the country stop any new Stand Your Ground laws from being passed.. That’s the first time this has happened in 8 years.

Trayvon Martin's parents

Trayvon Martin’s parents

Skolznik also noted that this Trayvon case also helped spotlight the insidious nature of Stop and Frisk and that while it’s a law that’s still on the books, the procedure has been put on trial and work will continue to end it once and for all.. He also noted that he and many others have drawn courage from Trayvon’s family and that the commitment to honor them and their son is to remain involved above and beyond the outcomes of this trial.

This was a point also shared by Cephus Johnson aka Uncle Bobby who was the uncle to Oscar Grant a young unarmed man killed by police in Jan 2009. Uncle Bobby who is also in Sanford at the courthouse noted that the hardest challenge facing the family will be the constant dehumanization of their son. It’s what the Grant family had to endure and its an overriding problem facing Black people in general. This climate of fear and suspicion has had deadly consequences and national dialogue about reversing these types of perceptions is surely needed. He noted that the movie ‘Fruitvale’ which will be coming out while this trial is unfolding will be important because it will help remind us that Trayvon like Oscar Grant was a human being who was dearly loved by his family and the community.

Lastly we should be pushing to hold media outlets accountable or at least start redirecting our attention to outlets that give us a fairer shake.. Remember many outlets minimized Zimmerman’s criminal past including his domestic violence issues but ran to the goal line on Trayvon being suspended for holding an empty weed bag.. Trayvon hadn’t been in trouble with the law like Zimmerman…Remember a Zimmerman conviction doesn’t get fools like Geraldo Rivera, who accused hoodie wearers as thugs,  off the air.

Trayvon Martin signAlso many media outlets while reporting on Zimmerman refused to connect the dots to larger issues. Very few made the connection of Zimmerman being a vigilante killer to the rash of vigilante killings directed at Brown folks going on at our borders. This toxic climate of killing those we deem ‘un American and threatening was ignored..Heck very few even connected the vigilante killing by Zimmerman to the rash of killings that took place in New Orleans after Katrina.

Even more egregious is many outlets while rallying up the masses around the murder of Trayvon and how unarmed Black men were unfairly being killed, those same outlets and pundits refused to bring to light the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement report which came out in the wake of Trayvon being killed and showed how pervasive such killings were happening.. At the time many were fearful that discussions that brought up the police would anger Police Unions and thus have impact on 2012 elections.. Well November is behind us there should be no excuse for ignoring that report now..

There are some hard conversations around Race, racial profiling and the overall disregard and disrespect for Black life.. As this trial unfolds, lets step to the plate and have them. Let’s push for real change to improve our lot no matter what goes down with George Zimmerman.

-Davey D-