Questions, disbelief was the order of the evening when six females, a jury of Trayvon Martin’s peers, with more swiftness, than most could perceive, found his assailant innocent on all counts. Freed to walk back into his life – justice done – the “rule of law” prevailed – religious beliefs satisfied?
Those that felt justice was denied let it be known with various and continuous reactions to the verdict across the country.
The Rev. Barbara A. Woods speaks of justice in her column, Faith of a Mustard Seed, on page 7 of this week’s Nashville PRIDE. When making reference to the column, she said, “The Call for Justice is as old as the Old Testament Prophets. Martin Luther King, Jr. was grounded in The Prophets in his helping to facilitate the great ‘March On Washington’. Most important for me is his use of the Prophet Amos. My Column ‘Faith Of A Mustard Seed’ is now concerned with the ‘Justice Theme’ in the Book of Romans. Most revealing is the extensive use of the word ‘Justice’ in Paul. Hard to see because the translators have taken this word and split it in two; when all the time ‘Justice and Righteousness’ in the New Testament is one and the same.”
Below are reactions to the not guilty verdict handed down by the predominately white female jury caucus:
The Nashville community hosted a peaceful rally on July 14, to honor the life of Trayvon Martin, organized by Rasheedat Fetuga. “My hope is that the community will grow to be more proactive in knowing our state laws; in challenging laws that are unjust or even just lacking and begin to work together here in our city and state toward racial healing and peace for our youth.” Fetuga said, “This verdict represents a tragic miscarriage of justice. We need all Americans to demand immediate actions to advance civil rights in our nation,” said Barbara Arnwine, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Issues.
Marian Wright Edelman of the Children’s Defense Fund said reaction was swift and strong. “The reaction to the not guilty verdict from George Zimmerman’s jury was swift and strong. Young people poured onto the streets in peaceful protests in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and Washington, D.C. By 3 a.m. more than 100,000 people signed an online petition urging the Justice Department to pursue civil rights violation changes against George Zimmerman.”
The American Federation of Teachers (ATF) President Randi Weingarten said, “While we believe in the rule of law and the jury has spoken, the implications of the acquittal are profound. It is very disappointing that a racially profiled, unarmed African-American young man wearing a hoodie can be shot dead and there be no consequences for the perpetrator. This case reminds us that the path to racial justice is still a long one, and that our legal and moral systems do not always mesh.
“The disposition of this case is the antithesis of what we teach our children in school — that the law protests innocent victims and that no one has the right to take the law into his or her own hands. Everyone’s child matters, We pray for the strength of Trayvon’s parents and loved ones in this difficult time.”
Black conservatives comment, Project 21 black leadership network, on not guilty verdict, when assailant faced charges of 2nd degree murder and manslaughter in the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin in Sandord, Florida. Derryck Green said, “The jury ruled – considering the evidence presented – rightly in my opinion … It is not justice for Trayvon … It is simply justice.”
Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange,org, the nation’s largest on line civil rights organization with more than 850,000 members, said, “Tonight, as George Zimmerman walks away without penalty, the verdict sends a clear message about the minimal value placed on the lives of young Black men and boys everywhere, And it is also a clear lesson about the power of culture and media to shape negative perceptions and attitudes, with grave consequences. Since Trayvon’s death, widespread media coverage has perpetuated inaccurate and dehumanizing stereotypes of Black youth – the very kind of depictions that have served to excuse unprovoked violence against young Black men by and boys for years.”
The American Civil Liberties Union executive director Anthony D. Romero, said, “… our thoughts are with Tracy and Sybrina Martin, whose young son was taken from them far to soon. “Last night’s verdict casts serious doubt on whether the legal system truly provides equal protection of the laws to everyone regardless of race or ethnicity.”
Alan Jenkins, executive director of The Opportunity Agenda, stated: “Whatever the jury’s verdict, two things are clear: First, George Zimmerman acted on pernicious racial stereotypes when he suspected, followed, and killed an unarmed seventeen-year-old boy, Trayvon Martin. Second, the same stereotypes underlie too many decisions by police, employers, and others in our society, denying African-American young people and others the promise of equal opportunity for all.
“We all carry around stereotypes and we have a shared responsibility to overcome them, by committing to equal opportunity, by acting on evidence instead of bias, and by requiring training, guidelines, and accountability for people in power. If George Zimmerman, as a neighborhood watch member, had that commitment, training, and guidance, this tragedy might never have happened,” said Jenkins.
Malanie L. Campbell, president and CEO of the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation (The National Coalition) and convener, Black Women’s Roundtable, issued a statement revelment to the verdict. “The National Coalition and Black Women’s Roundtable joins with The National Urban League, National Action Network, NAACP, National Council of La Razza and others asking the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to pursue a federal criminal civil rights investigation. We are urging the DOJ to examine the civil rights violations we believe were committed by George Zimmerman in connection with the death of Trayvon Martin, including the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
In wake of this verdict and the recent Supreme Court decision to strike down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act there is a renewed fervor to mobilize for the 50th Anniversary March on Washington (50th MOW) to advocate for jobs, justice, peace and freedom..”
Demonstrations are planned for 100 cities this Saturday, July 20, to protest Zimmerman’s acquittal for murder and manslaughter in connection with the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin