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Zimmerman found “not guilty”

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George Zimmerman trial

In my recent St. Louis column (which has to be written a week in advance),  it was clear that I was cushioning my readers for a crash landing on the air field of American justice. The news of the verdict was not surprising but like a loved one who you know is dying, when that moment comes it still brings a gut-wrenching emotional response.

For black folks, we read the verdict clearly: black life has no value.

Now comes the part of how we translate that reality into the daily life of a people under seige from many different directions.  We gotta mobilize/organize beyond the angry protests.

Somebody “Fixin’ to be killed”

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A Review of

We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement

 

Mississippi: Armed SNCC members abduct white night riders and release them after giving them a warning. A white cop gets knocked unconscious by a black man for slapping a 14-year-old black girl. Armed brothers do a citizens’ arrest when ambushed by the Klan and deliver one of the attackers to his father, the chief of police.

Before you start to romanticize about the good ole days, I should remind you that life in the South for black folks was dangerous and volatile. Any challenge to the traditions and system of white supremacy was met with raw violence. And Mississippi? Well, there’s a poignant reason why Nina Simone penned a song titled, “Mississippi Goddam.” People – mostly black – lost their lives in the freedom struggle as they fought to break down barriers to voting, employment, public accommodations and other aspects of life that were forbidden to African Americans because of racism. This is the backdrop for We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement by Dr. Akinyele Umoja. Read more

Trayvon Martin: Opening day to justice

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George Zimmerman trial

It’s been over a year since Trayvon Martin came into our living rooms. The black teen was gunned down by George Zimmerman, a self-styled vigilante, as he made his way back home from the store. A national outcry to the killing is the reason why there’s a trial.

This shouldn’t be seen as a slam-dunk. Three big reasons: one is that Trayvon can’t tell his story;  two is that we have a basically white jury of women; and three is that the Stand Your Ground is also on trial (and Florida loves it racist laws). There is plenty of circumstantial and forensic evidence that should prove that Zimmerman’s life was not in jeopardy and that, in fact, he was the aggressor. Over the years, I have been in many courtrooms and witnessed less than just outcomes. Read more