Racism: The Most Violent Weapon in Human History

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

Stop denying that race doesn’t matter.

To claim that killings of Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Darius Simmons, Garrick Hopkins, Carl Hopkins, and countless others have nothing to do with race erases generations of white-on-black violence.

And before you trot out some example from history of an African American who killed a white person, or cite some FBI statistics (deflection is a form of denial), hear us:

The history of violence directed at African Americans is grounded in a history of systemic racism; efforts to protect slavery, irrational fear, segregation, Jim Crow, stereotypes and white privilege are all part of this history.  It is what binds together Emmett Till and Jordan Davis, what links together the countless incidents of lynching throughout America’s history with killings of Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride who were seen as “not belonging.”

white mobsThe history of the United States is one where whites have killed with impunity; the murder of African Americans has been carried under a culture that continues to sanction this violence. Our society has refused to hold white killers accountable within the criminal justice system. On the flip side, African Americans have historically and continually experience the opposite: the unequal brunt force of the criminal justice system.  Unlike their white counterparts, who have been let off the hook over and over again, blacks have been policed, locked up, lynched, and executed for s**t they didn’t do.  Just as those involved with countless lynchings and Emmett Till’s killers never faced consequences for killing black people, Michael Dunn and George Zimmerman have been left off the hook.

Race matters because of continued circulation of racial stereotypes. From Dunn’s views about “thug music” or Zimmerman’s profiling of Martin, or the belief from Theodore Wafer that Renisha McBride’s an intruder has everything to do with race.  How many different jokes about blacks and crime do you hear each day, either from popular culture or from friends?  How often do you confront media reports, video games, films, TV, or conversations that depict African Americans as dangerous, as “thugs,” as threatening criminals?

Michael Dunn

Michael Dunn

One cannot understand Michael Dunn, or George Zimmerman or countless others within a colorblind fantasy.  We must talk about racism, stereotypes and the history of criminalizing black bodies.  Research proves that whites, from college students to police officers, are more likely to misidentify a gun when in a black hand.  According to B. Keith Payne, “Race stereotypes can lead people to claim to see a weapon where there is none. Split-second decisions magnify the bias by limiting people’s ability to control responses.”  Racism thwarts many in white America from seeing how racism kills.

According Project Implicit,  “An analysis of more than 900,000 completed Implicit Association Tests (IAT) at the Project Implicit website suggested that more than 70% of test takers associated White people with good and Black people with bad…”   It is easy to dismiss race and racism but the daily consequences of American racism are real; the trauma and pain, the ongoing history of racial violence, and a culture that is more likely to see black criminality than black innocence.  Racism kills and so does denial.

Geraldo Rivera Blames TrayvonRace matters even in death.  How else can we explain the lack of concern society shows for the anguish of black parents who have lost a child?  The mantra of not speaking ill of the dead is rarely applied to black youth.  For all too many, that means routinely seeing the victims as criminals, as unworthy of sympathy and assumptions of innocence. Instead of being seen as victims, as someone’s son or daughter, someone’s friend that lost their life, they are turned into criminals deserving of death.  Writing about Emmett Till and Trayvon Martin, Eric Mann highlights the longstanding history of blaming black youth for their own murders:  [D]eep in the white American psyche” rests the controlling belief and script that sees “the impossibility of Black innocence.” Efforts to convict black youth for their own murders is engrained in the American fabric, enshrined in the history books, and centuries old in the script of white supremacy.  Racism continues to turn the victims of racism into criminals who either deserved to die or did something that resulted in their own death.

Whether citing school suspensions, problems with the law, drug use, clothing choices, being drunk, loud music, whistling, not listening to authority or simply their attitude, the presumption of black guilt, black criminality, and black pathology is reason for black death.  Don’t look at the killers or a history of white supremacy since the “victim” is in fact responsible for his/her death.  The message is clear: Don’t mourn for them; don’t seek justice for them since it is they (and their parents, their “culture”, and their community) that is responsible, not the killers, not the laws, not the gun culture, not the racism, and not America.

Affluenza DefenseWhite youth, on the other hand, even those who go on shooting rampages at in public places, even those who drive drink and kill people, who shoot first and ask question later, are regularly imagined as innocent, good, and all-American. Sometimes this takes place within the court of public opinion and other times within the courts.  We see this regularly in the aftermath of “mass shootings” at least those involving white perpetrators, in white communities, and with white victims. From James Holmes, who perpetrated a mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012, to Adam Lanza, who shot and killed over 20 children at a Connecticut Elementary School, society works to understand the backgrounds of these assailants and questions “why” and “how” these wholesome kids became evil.   Maybe it’s video games; or maybe its affluenza, or it could be mental health issues.  It’s never whiteness, it’s never racism; it’s never white pathology and ultimately that means little accountability

The effort to exonerate white shooters, from Lanza to Zimmerman, from Holmes to Dunn, embodies the power of race.  The failure to mourn Black Death, to protect black life, or the failure to understand the fear and anger reflects entrenched white privilege.  The yearning to cite Black on Black crime demonstrates the historic disregard for black life.

Khali Gibran Muhammad

Khali Gibran Muhammad

“It’s true that black-on-black violence is an exceptionally grave problem. But this does not explain the allure of the violence card, which perpetuates the reassuring notion that violence against black people is not society’s concern but rather a problem for black people to fix on their own,” writes Khalil Gibran Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at the New York Public Library. “The implication is that the violence that afflicts black America reflects a failure of lower-class black culture, a breakdown of personal responsibility, a pathological trait of a criminally inclined subgroup — not a problem with social and institutional roots that needs to be addressed through collective effort well beyond the boundaries of black communities.” Is it astonishing the black life is only valued when it can be used to deny white terror, to obscure solutions, and to otherwise blame EBW (everyone but whites). If black life was truly valued, we would all join those demanding justice for Jordan and Trayvon, those working to repeal stand your ground laws, those working to combat the insidious racial stereotypes that sustains anti-black racism.

If Black Death is such a concern for white America there are plenty of ways to get involved; to be a solution. There are plenty of organizations and individuals that are demanding justice for Mark Carson, Islan Nettles, Adrian Broadway, or Ricardo Sanes.  What are we doing for these victims, for countless others?    These are people, not talking points.

We do wonder where are the white leaders, whether Democratic or Republican, the organizations so concerned about gun violence, the media pundits, and those who like to obfuscate with “black on black crime” in addressing these killings? Where are the calls against Stand Your Ground, given its clear racial consequences?  Where is the support for those organizations and individuals that are challenging America’s pathological and destructive gun culture, or those working in communities like Chicago to combat injustice?  Where is the action and outrage about the violence that ravages Chicago or Detroit?  Where is the demand for something other than more police and lectures about sagging pants and fathers? Or do the concerns begin and end when trying to derail discussions about the continued history of racist violence that continues to plague this nation that continues to lead to deaths of Black Youth.

Stop racist violenceWe ask, what are we going to do about “white on white crime,” “black on black crime,” and the culture of violence that is ravaging communities? What are we all doing in the name of justice, in the name of every lost live?  What are we doing about permissive gun and mental health no matter the neighborhood?  We need to commit ourselves to having honest discussions about racism, inequality, and violence.  We must fight for justice for Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride, for Adrian Broadway and Mark Carson, for Jordan Davis and Darius Simmons.  Justice will remain an illusion as we refuse to recognize the ways that they and so many others are seen as criminals when alive, remaining as “violent thugs,” in worthy of blame and reproach in death.

If we want to stop the violence, maybe we should look in the mirror, and look at racism, the most violent weapon in human history.  To deny race is to deny this history. To ignore racism and refuse to deal is to allow for the most dangerous weapon to continue to kill and kill without any consequence and intervention.  To wipe clean this history is to erase the pain and trauma of racial terror.  And worse, to keep repeating it, over and over.

Stand up for what’s right

written by  JLove and David Leonard

See, Judge, ACT:

What white folks can do:

Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ is a national network of groups and individuals organizing white people for racial justice. Become a member and get involved directly: http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/

Don’t have time to organize?  At the very least:

-Sign up for ColorofChange.org and sign petitions demanding justice for all

-Donate to ColorofChange, SURJ and/or a multiracial group organizing around racial justice issues

-Post up on social media and circulate KNOWLEDGE so that your community is more informed; build an intentional community committed to justice, change, and accountability!

About the Authors

David Leonard is a professor in the Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race at Washington State University. http://drdavidjleonard.com/

JLove Calderon is a conscious media maker, social entrepreneur, and author of five books, including her latest: Occupying Privilege; Conversations on Love, Race, and Liberation. www.jlovecalderon.com

Black Panther Co-Founder Bobby Seal Speaks About Trayvon & Obama’s Speech

Bobby SealLOS ANGELES (Herald de Paris) — President Barak Obama said on July 19th, 2013 that Trayvon Martin could have been him 35 years ago. Oh how right he is.

In 1968, two days after Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered, { and to be portrayed in my feature film SEIZE THE TIME: The Eighth Defendant } Little Bobby Hutton was murdered by Oakland Police. Shot more than ten times. Bobby Hutton was our first member in my Black Panther Party after we wrote and finalized the TEN POINT PROGRAM. In fact Bobby Hutton was my part time after school assistant at the North Oakland Neighborhood Service Center, where I worked for the Department of Human Resources for the City Government of Oakland, California. I hired and took Bobby Hutton under my guidance. Getting him back in school. Teaching him to read better with an introduction of the Autobiography of Malcolm X.

I got Huey Newton to teach Bobby Hutton and several other youth basic points about the law and how to take an arrest so one dose not get extra charges resisting. Huey was in law school at the time. Hiring Bobby Hutton as my youth assistant became important to Little Bobby Hutton because he saw how I organized the summer Youth Jobs Program that also taught my One Hundred youth then a few introductory job skills. Getting the 18 year olds special class drivers licenses to drive the ten wheel dump trucks I would check out at the City Yard.

A year and a half later Bobby Hutton was the first Black Panther Party member murdered. In the Book Black Against Empire ( Political History of the Black Panther Party -by Joshua Bloom, UCLA & Waldo E. Martin, Jr. UC Berkeley – Jan 2013 ) the inquest on Little Bobby Hutton, one police person surprised the inquest by testifying that the other cops had literally “murdered Bobby Hutton” after Bobby Hutton had surrendered. Bobby Hutton walked out with his hands up and in between several policemen. One cop with his foot shoved Bobby Hutton in the back saying “run nigger.” Bobby Hutton, hands up stumbled forward a few steps and some five policemen all open up firing, shooting and murdering Little Bobby Hutton. I had been making plans with the Reverend Earl Neil to go to Dr. Martin Luther Kings funeral the night Bobby Hutton was murdered. Marlon Brando, Yes the movie actor, a very close friend of mine, had advanced all the money I needed to take my five member crew to Dr. Kings funeral.

The Stand your ground laws proliferated in more that twenty odd states is nothing more that armed vigilante laws allowing anyone regardless of color to profile and harasses, shoot and kill young black and brown youth, et., al.. We need a more profound progressive movement for greater people empowerment political representation to get rid of such Vigilante Profiling laws. For greater community control of police.

Thank you President Barak Obama.

Bobby Seale

Power To The All The People!


A Few Thoughts About Being on the Witness Stand and Rachel Jaentel

Rachel Jaentel

Rachel Jaentel

A few thoughts on Trayvon Martin‘s friend Rachel Jaentel... The minute that sister took the stand, jokes were flying around twitter about her looks and her weight… People were going in and saying nasty jokes about how Trayvon went out with Precious etc etc…

I’m sure the sista has heard such cruel jokes in real life more than a few times.. I can only imagine what sort defensive postures she’s adopted over the years to rebuff such remarks.. maybe she’s over aggressive, maybe she’s shy and stays low-key, maybe she makes lots of jokes, maybe she drowns herself in drink and drugs..who knows?

Hearing that she wanted to stay hidden and out of the public light had me thinking that was because she didn’t want to get the public ridicule.. It’s the type of mean-spirited ridicule that many had levied on Olympic champ Gabby Douglass when she was competing, one could only imagine what this sister, Rachel would’ve been dealing with if she had made herself public long ago..

On top of this, we still have someone who was a good friend to Trayvon who was the last to talk to him who lost him violently..To my knowledge, there weren’t grief counselors who went to Trayvon’s school and made sure his friends could process this sudden loss..

Like so many of us who come from the community, we are expected to suck it up, not cry and see the violent passing of love ones as some sort of truth about how tough we are and how tough are respective hoods are.. We ain’t supposed to need counseling, therapy or any sort of comforting to help get our mind right..

So we have a 19-year-old girl, who is overweight, dark-skinned who is supposed to ‘have her mind right’ because those who were going in on her supposedly could’ve and would’ve if they were on the stand… Some the harshest judgement directed at Rachel were from so-called professional, academic types, the sophisticated folks who saw Rachel as more of an embarrassment vs someone who was good friend to Trayvon..She even had folks like Lolo Jones, the Olympic athlete who herself was ridiculed, weighing in and adding to the viciousness. She compared Rachel to the character Medea and has made no move to apologize even as she herself as recently as a week ago is still upset and battling with those in the media who said nasty things about her..

Instead of thinking of Trayvon and respecting the fact that this was his friend as overweight and as dark as she is, many were projecting their own insecurities and bias on him and her.. Again this all before she started to speak..

Now lets talk about being on the witness stand..Many who talked crazy and judged crazy have themselves never ever been on a witness stand.. Many have not been a reluctant witness.. I recall being on the stand several years ago for the defense and being questioned for two hours before the cross-examination started.. I was not spoken too or prepared by the lawyers as to what to expect.. I’m a public person, I think I’m fairly articulate.. I have education and I speak as journalist for living, so being before a crowd and answer questions off the cuff is second nature to me..

When you’re on the stand and the job of the lawyer cross-examining you is to discredit you, its one thing to know it in theory and intellectually, it’s a whole other ball game when it’s happening, especially if you never gone through it..I recall when on the stand, the prosecutor asked me a couple of questions and then out of left field he pulled up an article I had written and read a sentence which on its own made me sound crazy and foolish..

He set me up my asking if I wrote the article? I said yes, then he asked me if these were my words.. and read the quote.. I said yes and tried to explain and was immediately cut off.. In a harsher more stern tone of voice that made me feel like I was 6 years old, he repeated the question are these your word? Yes or No..

I tried to explain and was instructed by the judge to answer yeh or nay.. I answered slowly almost like Rachel.. ‘Yes I wrote those words’.. My mind-set was anger and wanting to let everyone know in the courtroom there was a larger context to what I was saying..

The prosecutor upon hearing my ‘Ye’s answer said to the court “this is the type of individual we are expected to believe, someone who thinks like this who will pen these words in an article…”

Next the prosecutor pulled up my MySpace page and read my status update.. All this caught me off guard.. I wasn’t on trial I was a witness for the defense.. and he read my status which was ‘NYPD are dipshits’. Again i was asked yes or no is this whats on my page..

I tried to explain, and was cut off which had me even more heated.. Then the prosecutor said something to the effect that my juvenile ramblings were not very becoming of someone of my stature and profession.. Officers of the law gave their life on 9-11 and are more professional than you..

I wasn’t asked a question, but I responded, very slow and deliberate with major attitude just like Rachel.. ‘I wrote that because the officers who you claim are professional shot Sean Bell 50 times and not one of those so-called professional officers apologized..”

The prosecutor without missing a beat said something to the effect that my ramblings had sullied my profession and he was glad I wasn’t covering a story he was involved in….then he dismissed me.. I started to answer back.. and was stopped by the judge..

With all that I know about media and public speaking experience, degrees etc..and the 20 + years in age I have over 19-year-old Rachel Jaentel, I let my emotions get the better of me.. especially when my words were twisted and ridiculed.. I was only on the stand for cross-examination for 20 minutes, not 5 hours like Rachel.. I wasn’t on TV and there weren’t newspapers around digging into my past or making fun of my looks..Nor was I traumatized because of losing a friend..

I was angry that they took my words out of context and was mad that they saw my MySpace status update and ran with that to try and discredit everything I said earlier during being questioned by the defense..

I share all this to remind folks, what seems easy and no big deal isn’t always the case.. All I had that day was my truth and I left feeling like I was the one on trial.. I’m sure Rachel felt that and whole lot more.. The closest thing I can think of that might make this experience a bit more relatable is when you get pulled over and have to deal with rude arrogant cop who treats like you like crap.. Some are able to bite their tongue and endure the humiliation, others lose patience and wind up arrested or even dead.

I think Rachael told the painful truth..and was made to feel like she was on trial in that court and still on trial in the court of public opinion.. Even the daughter of the defense lawyer was taking instagram pictures calling this sister stupid.. Rachel is seen as everything under the sun, but a good friend of Trayvon Martin who she lost to unwarranted violence..

That’s some food for thought…

-Davey D-

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-

It Ain’t EZ by Dlabrie w/ San Quinn, Keyanna Bean and Aviel

D'Labrie San QuinnA year ago a young innocent black teenager named Trayvon Martin was killed because of the color of his skin, the cowardly killer has been thus far protected and coddled by the “law”.

Trayvon would be getting ready for prom and graduation and instead his parents mourn. RACISM and the attempted holocaust of Black people in America still exist in various ways (much of the damage has already been done) this is one of them although may seem suddle and coincidental to sum. ITS NOT ITS HISTORY REPEATING ITSELF..

As if there needs to be any more proof of the Black struggle in the US i guess we must still SPEAK LOUDLY and ACT even LOUDER to fight these types of injustice. dont think for a minute that slavery, black poverty, crack epidemic,, the mass incarceration of black people, the black death rate and Trayvon are not all directly related. Obama or not these things are often swept under the rug or dismissed as Conspiracy Theories.

So if hearing it from Malcolm, Angela , Bobby, Rosa , Nelson , 2pac , Queen Latifah wasn’t enough you gonna hear it from me too til im gone RIP Trayvon Martin and fuck Zimmerman and every other Zimmerman out there rather neighborhood watch, cop, teacher ,government official , confederate flag waver, kkk, skinhead, or just plain regular bitter racist around the way if you got problems with Black people then you got problems with me and all my fam and that includes all my people of many beautiful backgrounds and nationalities.

Its never been JUST A BLACK THING but divide and conquer works very well!! On this day dont get wrapped up in rhetoric and dont turn apathetic. Just play your role and acknowledge whats really going on here!! If i hear one more person blame rap and nba players and the illuminati and gangs IMA GO CRAZY JUST WAKE UP AND CALL IT WHAT THE FUCK IT IS!! WE AINT GOIN OUT LIKE TARGET PRACTICE & SHEEP!!



As We Watch the Trayvon Martin Case, All of Us Should Know Marissa Alexander

As we look at the drama surrounding the Trayvon Martin case, we encourage folks to connect the dots and pay attention to other cases to get an idea on how justice is elusive for some and the working quite well for others.. Yesterday we saw how George Zimmerman was granted bail after giving a half-hearted, insulting, insincere apology to the Martin family for profiling, stalking and eventually killing their son..

What we didn’t hear about was a how an African-American women who in the course of protecting herself from an abusive husband who beat her while she was pregnant, shot a gun that she legally owns into the air. No one was hurt, but she is now looking at 25 years. Yes indeed, you read that right, facing 25 years.. Her name is Marissa Alexander, she lives in Florida, is a mother of 3 and everyone should know her name and her case.The person who prosecuted her case is Angela Corey, the prosecutor in the George Zimmerman case.

Here’s a letter that was written on her behalf laying out the details… As you read this letter ask yourself the following questions:

Where is the NRA on this case? Don’t they have supporters who come to the aid of people like Alexander, a legal gun owner who used a law they designed to protect herself, or was she supposed to actually shoot her husband?

Where’s the folks behind ALEC who pushed for Stand Your Ground Laws, not just in Florida but in other states around the country?

Where are all the folks speaking loudly about the injustice around Trayvon, but silent on Marrissa Alexander, because they choose to see Trayvon in isolation and not connected to the larger system of continual injustices impacting Black people and people of color all over the country?

Here’s the letter….

April 3, 2012

Dear Supporters:

On August 1 2010, my premature baby girl, born nine days earlier, was in the Baptist South N.I.C.U. fighting for her life and I would too be fighting for my life in my own home against an attack from my husband.

My name is Marissa Alexander, I am a mother of three children, but at the present time, I am not able to be with them due to the following circumstances.  I am currently sitting in the Pretrial Detention Facility in Jacksonville FL, Duval County awaiting a sentence for three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon with no intent to harm.

Before my life changed drastically on that August afternoon, I was in the perilous position of leaving an abusive relationship with my husband who has history of violence and documented domestic abuse towards women.  Our history included one which required me to place an injunction for protection against violence and was active during the month of August 2010.

In an unprovoked jealous rage, my husband violently confronted me while using the restroom.  He assaulted me, shoving, strangling and holding me against my will, preventing me from fleeing all while I begged for him to leave.  After a minute or two of trying to escape, I was able to make it to the garage where my truck was parked, but in my haste to leave I realized my keys were missing.  I tried to open the garage but there was a mechanical failure. I was unable to leave, trapped in the dark with no way out.  For protection against further assault I retrieved my weapon; which is registered and I have a concealed weapon permit.  Trapped, no phone, I entered back into my home to either leave through another exit or obtain my cell phone.

He and my two stepsons were supposed to be exiting the house thru the front door, but he didn’t leave.  Instead he came into the kitchen that leads to the garage and realized I was unable to leave.  Instead of leaving thru the front door where his vehicle was parked outside of the garage, he came into the kitchen by himself.  I was terrified from the first encounter and feared he came to do as he had threatened.  The weapon was in my right hand down by my side and he yelled, “Bitch I will kill you!”, and charged toward me.  In fear and desperate attempt, I lifted my weapon up, turned away and discharged a single shot in the wall up in the ceiling.  As I stood my ground it prevented him from doing what he threatened and he ran out of the home.  Outside of the home, he contacted the police and falsely reported that I shot at him and his sons.  The police arrived and I was taken into custody.

I was devastated and would continue to be for months following the incident.  I had to appear in court all the way up until trial as I plead not guilty and know that I acted in self-defense.  I believe my actions saved my life or prevented further harm, but preserved that of my husband who was completely irrational, extremely violent, and unpredictable that day.

Florida has a self-defense law and it includes the right to stand your ground.  Below are the facts of my concern with the incorrect way the law was applied and ultimately the injustice in my case.

·        The alleged victim, my husband, under sworn statement in November 2010, admitted he was the aggressor, threatened my life and was so enraged he didn’t know what he would do.

·        The alleged victim, my husband, was arrested for domestic violence two times, once for abuse against me.  The attack against me was so violent; I ended up in the hospital.

·        Prior to my arrest, I told the office I was in fear for my life due to the prior violence against me.  I also told the officer there was a domestic injunction in place to protect me against abuse from the alleged victim.  This information was written in detail by the officer in my arrest report, but ignored for some unknown reason.

·        In July of 2011, a hearing was held, where I along with the alleged victims testified as it relates to the stand your ground law and its immunity from prosecution.

·        After the hearing, Judge Elizabeth Senterfitt denied my motion, citing that I could have exited the house thru the master bedroom window, front door, and/or sliding glass back door.  The law specifically states: No duty to retreat.

·        My attorney entered a standing objection on the record to the ruling and we proceeded to trial.

·        During that time, Angela Corey, our State Attorney met with the alleged victims.  I also along with my attorney met with Angela Corey, John Guy, and then prosecutor Christen Luikart.  I justified my actions to them and the truth as I have told it has remained the same.

·        Knowing our prior domestic abuse history, Angela Corey was hard pressed for the minimum mandatory, which provisions allow for prosecution to wave those stipulations.  I was not guilty, nor did I believe that was fair and just under the circumstances.  She also allowed for those same provisions in the State vs. Vonda Parker, same charges different circumstances which did not include self-defense.

·        Florida uses a law commonly known as 10-20-life as a sentencing guideline when a felony takes place with the use of a weapon.  Under this statute, my felony charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon without intent to harm carries a twenty year mandatory sentence.

·        Stand your ground law has been applied in multiple recent incidents, the following is just a couple of incidents.  Carl Kroppman Jr was allowed to use this law to avoid being arrested/charged during a road rage incident on the Buckman Bridge in Jacksonville, FL in August of 2011.  Marqualle Woolbright of Ocala, FL avoided murder charges due to the stand your ground law when he shoot and killed someone.

I am a law abiding citizen and I take great pride in my liberty, rights, and privileges as one.  I have vehemently proclaimed my innocence and my actions that day.  The enigma I face since that fateful day I was charged through trial, does the law cover and apply to me too?

A step further and more importantly is in light of recent news, is justice for all include everyone, regardless of gender, race or aristocratic dichotomies.  I simply want my story heard, reviewed and the egregious way in which my case was handled from start to finish serve as an eye opener for all and especially those responsible for upholding judicial affairs.

The threat that day was very real, imminent, and the battery on me occurred minutes before the decision I made to protect myself.  That decision was a last resort, necessary and a reaction to the continued threat on my life.  I am a believer that grace allowed for my response to be carried out in a non-lethal manner.  This prevented the imminent threat and harm a non-fatal tactic, but not against an unknown attacker, rather my very own husband.  That was by far the most difficult position to be in nine days after giving birth to a six week premature infant.  My heart goes out for my two stepsons and always has had a hurt and sincere empathy for them being subjected innocently to that trauma.

The law states that I was justified in standing my ground and meeting force with force up to including deadly force, but political views and concerns states otherwise in the 4th circuit court.

So my last questions and valid concerns are what was I supposed to do that day and the stand your ground law who is it for?


Lincoln B. Alexander Jr on behalf of Marissa Alexander

You can get more info on this case my going to: http://justiceformarissa.blogspot.com/

An Incredible Commentary: I am NOT Trayvon Martin

This woman goes in a drops lots of gems on this commentary around Trayvon Martin… She addresses the issue of race, white privilege and activism in the wake of Trayvon’s murder.



and to the middle class, white, socially concerned activist who wears a shirt emblazoned with those slogans, you are wrong.

I know you wear that shirt to stand in solidarity with Trayvon, Troy, and other victims of injustice. The purpose of those shirts is to humanize these victims of our society, by likening them to the middle class white activist wearing it. And once we’ve humanized the victims, this proves to us the arbitrariness of their deaths and thereby the injustice at play.

But the fact of the matter is that these men’s deaths are anything but arbitrary. The fact that the real Troy Davis and Trayvon Martin and countless other victims of oppression are buried under 6 feet of cold dirt while we middle class white activists are alive, marching, and wearing their names is an indication that our societal system is working exactly as it’s intended.

A more accurate t-shirt to display on my white body would be “I AM GEORGE ZIMMERMAN.” Zimmerman and I were indoctrinated in the same American discourse where we learned that the “other,” particularly black men like Trayvon and Troy, were less human and were to be feared. Society taught me that as a little white girl, I must preserve my purity and goodness, and that the presence of young single males threatened it. Society taught me that being in the presence of a BLACK man compounds that threat exponentially. I have been taught that male, black, bodies are an immediate threat to my safety and the well being of society as a whole, and Zimmerman was taught the same damn thing. We’re all taught it.

I look at George Zimmerman and think, “there, but for the grace of god, go I.” Had it not been for a decent education, intense critical thinking, and some truly excellent parenting, I would never have questioned the societal norms that Zimmerman and I were both taught, and I would have ended up feeling his attack on Trayvon was justified, just as he did, and the state of Florida does.

If we are to effect real change in the wake of Trayvon’s murder, we have to realize this. Realizing that you more closely resemble a homicidal oppressive force than a helpless victim is a really uncomfortable thing to do. I know. But wanting to identify with the victim is weak, and immature when it is not an accurate representation of reality. Real change is effected when we own up to our actions, our privilege, and our complicity with the system that murdered Trayvon and countless others.

Us privileged activists have to realize just how easy it is to be Zimmerman, and work to change this. Subvert stereotypes. Make it harder for others to buy into the bullshit that we’re fed our whole lives about race, class, gender, and other people by identifying and critiquing these messed up norms. Force adults to confront these norms, and raise children without indoctrinating them with the same old bullshit. Use your privilege to actively dismantle this messed up system. Listen to marginalized people like Trayvon’s family and Troy’s family and insure them access to the discourse. Listen to them, stand in solidarity with them. But do not, I repeat, DO NOT claim to be them.


Looking Beyond the Hoodie, even as Bobby Rush is Booted off the House Floor

Today Congressman Bobby Rush from Chicago got kicked off the House Floor for wearing a Hoodie. He like many others had dawned the attire to bring attention to the case surrounding Trayvon Martin. It was a noble gesture. It helps keep the case in the spotlight, but this has got to go beyond Hoodies. Too many of us are focusing on that and not some of the larger issues at hand.

For example, all of us should be asking; ‘whats the story behind Sanford Police Chief Bill Lee?’ Most of us protesting around Trayvon don’t  know his name. All we know is the police chief stepped down and very few of us are bringing him up in conversation and demanding he be brought to task? He’s just as guilty as George Zimmerman.

Sandford Florida Police Chief Bill Lee

Why was Chief Sanders and his department so sloppy with the initial investigation? Why didn’t they follow standard police procedure of collecting evidence like; keeping Zimmerman’s  gun and running ballistic tests or checking to make sure Zimmerman wasn’t high or drunk? We need to know why Standford police didn’t notify Trayvon’s family for after he was killed and his body was in the morgue.. Martin’s father found out after he filed a missing person’s report. We are just finding out that one of the early investigators wanted to charge Zimmerman with manslaughter. Why wasn’t that allowed to happen?

We need to know what’s the deal with State Attorney Norman R. Wolfinger, why didn’t he press charges? We need to know if there’s a connection with George Zimmerman’s dad Robert Zimmerman a former magistrate and the lawmakers here in Florida?

All of us should be asking those questions and when we see a Congressman like Bobby Rush wearing a hoodie on the house floor, he is not only asking those questions but ideally if he’s being escorted off  the floor it’s because he’s attempting to hold hearings where many of those questions can get answered.


We need to see Rush and other members of the Congressional Black Caucus hold more briefings and hearings like they did with yesterday’s  Protecting a “Suspect” Community: Racial Profiling & Hate Crimes. We need to see hearings on police misconduct. We can start with the frequent leaks coming from the police departments designed to smear Trayvon’s name. In many states, including Florida, they have in place a Policeman’s Bill of Rights. In many places those Policeman’s Bill of Rights make it difficult to get a hold of personnel files to review complaints against an officer  (I’m not sure if Florida has the same provisions as California where officers are shielded).

In any case all of us need to continuously connect the dots.. Trayvon’s killing can’t be seen in isolation to last week’s brutal vigilante killing of Shaima Alawadi in Lakeside California or the ‘drive by’ shooting death of Rekia Boyd by an off duty Chicago cop who claims he saw a man standing next to Boyd draw gun. Boyd was an innocent bystander yet her shooting was deemed justified even though the police found no weapons on the scene.

These incidents and scores of others need to be investigated. We need to make sure that these incidents are not connected to a larger more sinister plan of action. Are we experiencing co-ordinated and deleibarte terrorist attacks or are people just angry and acting out? Hopefully Rush and the CBC can lead the charge on Capitol Hill and start to really dig into those questions while we start looking into this amongst ourselves in our communities.

Lastly, lets not get caught up in the hoodie thing as if Black people are only suspicious when wearing them.. Try driving a nice car and your suspicious… Try walking around a nice department store and your suspicious.. Try cashing a large check and your suspicious..

Racist People are suspicious of President Obama, with or without a hoodie

This suspiciousness is rooted in racist people holding on to the notion that Black people not being in ‘their place‘ when they do something that defies stereotypes. This is why we see the racial attacks on President Barack Obama who is constantly under suspicion..We already seen the disrespect directed to him by business mogul Donald Trump, who demanded to see the President’s birth certificate. Even after it was shown, we now have Arizona sheriff Joe Arpiao conducting an investigation to make sure it’s not fake..

Sadly we are suspicious of each other..Long after this Trayvon/ Zimmerman thing dies down, even if he’s arrested and convicted, many of us are still gonna be running around not trusting the Black repairman, the Black lawyer, the Black accountant.. Black men will claim they can’t trust ‘skeezing, gold digging sistas and sistas will say they can’t trust these ‘trifling scheming azz’ men..and nobody trusts the kids..How do we intend to change that?.

Not to digress too much… Again we must be clear and push forward with justice and the dismantling of institutionalized racism and oppression as a goal. Our hoodies have got to be connected larger political agenda or understanding. Are we wearing a hoodie to show solidarity?  If so, who or  what are we in solidarity with? Are we wearing the hoodies as an act of defiance? If so what exactly are we defying?   All of us should learned the lesson of what happened after Obama got elected. His historic victory was quickly erased by this onslaught of racist killings all over the country. From Oscar Grant to Trayvon and beyond. If we’re not mindful of this, we will quickly find ourselves back at square one even if Zimmerman is carted off to jail for life or given a death sentence. Bottom line: What good is a symbol if its not connected to a larger politic and plan of action?

written by Davey D