Friday, March 23, 2012

¡Todos Somos Trayvon Martin!

Join us and STAND-UP for Trayvon Martin tonight as we Rally for justice. Gather with us at 5:00 P.M. at the Georgia State Capitol and let Florida Law know we will not tolerate this great injustice.

Fox News host, Geraldo Rivera, incited national outrage last Friday when he made a reckless statement on national television about the killing of Trayvon Martin. As one of the most prominent Latino journalists in the country, Geraldo should immediately apologize and set the record straight.

Speaking on Fox & Friends, Geraldo actually blamed Trayvon’s murder on the 17-year-old’s choice of clothing, saying:

I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was."

Geraldo was speaking about the hooded sweatshirt that 17-year old Trayvon Martin was wearing when he was followed and was gunned down by George Zimmerman. Geraldo went even further and implied that if “dark-skinned” kids don’t want to be attacked or racially profiled then they should stop wearing hoodies.

While Trayvon’s parents and the entire country are calling for justice, demanding the immediate arrest of Zimmerman, who is still free – Geraldo has decided to divert our attention away from the sad truth at core of this national tragedy: an innocent young man was killed in cold blood – not for wearing a hoodie – but for being a Black youth.

Blaming this tragedy on an article of clothing that is widely worn in this country (even by Geraldo himself) is irresponsible and works against those of us who are trying to teach our children that society needs to treat them with respect.

This moment offers us an opportunity to stand up for young men of color and to demand that their humanity be valued. Rather than perpetuate the stereotypes against young men of color, Geraldo can use his privilege as a public person and journalist to talk less about hoodies and more about how racism endangers our children.

Racism is at the center of this tragic incident. When Zimmerman described Trayvon to the police he referred first and foremost to his race, not to his hoodie: “he has his hand in his waistband. He’s a black male.” Martin was on a cell phone call with his girlfriend moments before his death, and she reported him saying that he put his hoodie up because Zimmerman had been following him.

Geraldo should have put the blame where it belongs – on Zimmerman and the gun-crazed and racist culture that creates and enables this violence. Instead, his comments divert from real tragedy in the name of sensationalist journalism.
Thanks y ¡adelante!
Arturo, Felipe, Favianna, Roberto, Ana, and the rest of the team

2010 to 2012: Bigotry or What?
Juan Williams told Bill O’Reilly, who a week earlier declared on The View that "Muslims killed us on 9/11,”  that he wasn’t comfortable around people dressed up in Muslim garb.  NPR fired him the next day.  FOX Noise immediately hired him.

Glenn Greenwald quotes Andrew Sullivan and dissects the bigotry.  

Williams’ trite attempt to glorify his bigotry as anti-P.C. Speaking of the Truth is inane, as his remarks were suffused with falsehoods, not facts:  as Sullivan points out, the minute percentage of Muslims who have committed acts of terror against the U.S. — including those on 9/11 — were not wearing “Muslim garb.”  Moreover, the very idea that those who wear “Muslim garb” are necessarily “identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims” is itself noxious:  does anyone who wears religious attire (a yarmulke or crucifix or Sikh turban) identify themselves “first and foremost” by their religion as opposed to, say, their nationality or individuality or any number of other attributes?  The bottom line here is that equating Muslims with Terrorism — which is exactly what Williams did — is definitively bigoted (not to mention demonstrably false).

Friends at have demanded justice for Trayvon Martin, a 17 year-old who was shot and killed by a self-proclaimed neighborhood watch captain when he was returning to his father's friend's home in a gated community in Sanford, FL. Latinos throughout the United States share in this outrage, as we know all-too-well the threat posed by racial profiling and racism. This tragedy is emblematic of the danger posed to Black, Latino and other youth of color by a climate of racism and injustice that prevails in many of our communities. We stand with the African American community which continues to be greatly impacted by race hate in this country.
We are demanding the Department of Justice to take over Trayvon Martin's case, arrest his killer, and launch an independent investigation into the Sanford police department's mishandling of the case. Presente members are being asked to stand in solidarity with this fight. Todos somos Trayvon! (We are all Trayvon!)

Three weeks ago, 17-year old Trayvon Martin was gunned down by self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman. Despite Zimmerman admitting to following, confronting, and killing Trayvon, he has yet to be arrested or charged with any crime.

Just minutes before Trayvon was killed, Zimmerman had called police stating that Trayvon looked "suspicious." Trayvon was unarmed and walking back to his father's home in Sanford, Florida when Zimmerman accosted him.

At the crime scene, Sanford police botched their questioning of Zimmerman, refused to take the full statements of witnesses, and pressured neighbors to side with the shooter's claim of self-defense. As it turns out, Sanford's police department has a history of failing to hold perpetrators accountable for violent acts against Black victims, and the police misconduct in Trayvon's case exemplifies the department's systemic mishandling of such investigations. And now, the State Attorney's office has rubber-stamped the Sanford police's non-investigation, claiming that there is not enough evidence to support even a manslaughter conviction.

Walking home from the store shouldn't cost you your life, but when Black youth are routinely assumed to be violent criminals, being randomly killed is a constant danger. Before Zimmerman decided to get out of his parked car gun in tow to pursue Trayvon on foot that night, he called the police to identify Trayvon as a "suspicious person" apparently because he was wearing a hoodie and walking too slowly in the rain for Zimmerman's liking. Despite being instructed not to follow Trayvon, Zimmerman proceeded to confront and fatally shoot the boy in the chest within a matter of minutes.

The case has been compromised from the beginning. When Sanford police arrived on the scene, Zimmerman was first approached by a narcotics detective not a homicide investigator who "peppered him with questions" rather than allowing him to tell his story without prompting. Another officer "corrected" a witness giving a statement that she'd heard Trayvon cry for help before he was shot, telling her she had heard Zimmerman instead. And beyond the questions of professional competence or even the police's disregard for the facts, Florida's notorious "Shoot First" law takes a shooter's self-defense claim at face value incentivizing law enforcement not to make arrests in shooting deaths that would lead to murder charges in other states.

Sanford has a history of not prosecuting when the victim is Black. In 2010, the white son of a Sanford police lieutenant was let go by police after assaulting a homeless Black man outside a downtown bar. And, in 2005, a Black teenager was killed by two white security guards, one the son of a Sanford Police officer. The pair was arrested and charged, but a judge later cited lack of evidence and dismissed both cases.

Trayvon's family and hundreds of thousands of people around the country are demanding justice. Please join us in calling on the Department of Justice to take over the case, arrest Trayvon's killer, and launch an independent investigation into the Sanford police department's unwillingness to protect Trayvon's civil rights. It takes just a moment:
Rashad, Gabriel, Dani, Matt, Natasha, Kim and the rest of the team. 
March 19th, 2012

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