By Cynthia E. Griffin
Special to the NNPA from Our Weekly
Feb. 26 will mark one year since then-17-year-old Travyon Martin was gunned down by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch coordinator in a gated community of Sanford, Fla.
Martin was visiting family in the area and was walking back from the store when, despite requests by local police not to do so, Zimmerman began following Martin because he appeared “suspicious.”
By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
Two stories topped news coverage in the African American press in 2012.
One, the re-election of President Barack H. Obama.
Two, the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.
The President’s November win came after almost a year and half cycle of political operations by both major political parties and a cost an estimated $2.5 billion spent by Democrats and Republicans seeking the White House.
By Dr. Julianne Malveaux
George Zimmerman, the Florida man who killed Trayvon Martin, told Fox News personality Sean Hannity that the events that occurred on February 26, 2012 were “God’s will.” What a cynical manipulation of our Creator, to suggest that the massacre of an African American teenager by a crazed vigilante is the will of God. Actually, if one wants to know about God’s will, one might simply to go to the Ten Commandments, the sixth of which is quite explicit: Thou shall not kill.
George Zimmerman has proven himself to be a multiple liar. He called himself destitute while collecting tens of thousands of dollars from a website that was formed to fund his defense. A judge put him back in jail for that lie. He declined medical attention the night he killed Trayvon, and then showed up the next day with bumps on his head, but no evidence of who put them there. This is the equivalent of a drunk driver fleeing the scene of an accident and turning himself in sober the next day. Now, Zimmerman faces a camera from an undisclosed location because he fears death threats, faking sincerity and regrets but saying that Trayvon’s death is God’s will.
Trayvon Martin’s death is not God’s will but Zimmerman’s, and the will of those legislative vigilantes who have passed “Stand Your Ground” laws in many states. Trayvon’s death is the will of those who have peddled these vigilante laws all over the nation. Just as Zimmerman has manipulated God’s word, he has also manipulated the truth, and he ought to be ashamed.
NEW ORLEANS, LA
After attending the opening ceremony for the 37th Annual National Association of Black Journalists Convention and Career Fair, the family of Trayvon Martin and their legal team held an exclusive news conference to respond to the firing of Sanford, Florida Police Chief Bill Lee on Wednesday June 20.
Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte announced the firing in a statement, noting Lee had lost the confidence and trust of officials in his handling of the killing of Trayvon Martin. Bonaparte said he “determined the Police Chief needs to have the trust and respect of the elected officials and the confidence of the entire community.” Under Lee’s direction, Sanford police decided not to arrest George Zimmerman, who fatally shot the 17-year-old Martin.
By Kanya Stewart
Outlook Staff Writer
On June 12, the people of Sanford, Fla. and surrounding areas will have the opportunity to express their concerns about how protected and safe they feel as residents of the State of Florida in regards to its justifiable use of force laws.
Sanford, will be the first official meeting that will allow public comment to be presented to Gov. Rick Scott’s Task Force on Citizen Safety and Protection, which was formed in light of the Feb. 26 death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was killed by Sanford neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman. Zimmerman alleges he was “standing his ground” under Chapter 776 of Florida Law.
The 19-member task force, which has been assigned to review Chapter 776 for its intent and implementation, met on May 1 at the Florida Department of Transportation Headquarters in Tallahassee to outline its mission, scope and guidelines during an administrative meeting.
The confessed killer of Trayvon Martin, 17, pleaded not guilty Tuesday afternoon (May 8) during a Sanford, Fla., court arraignment. George Zimmerman, whose non guilty plea had been filed earlier by his attorney, did not attend the arraignment nor his attorney, Mark O’Mara.
The next court date is 8:30 a.m., Aug. 8 when a trial date will be set unless Zimmerman’s attorney asks for a continuance. Zimmerman remains free at an undisclosed location after posting $150,000 bond. Judge Kenneth R. Lester addressed Zimmerman’s case moments after taking the bench.
Zimmerman, 28, has claimed he was acting in self-defense when he shot Trayvon Martin to death with a single gunshot on Feb. 26 during an altercation in a Sanford gated community. Zimmerman was taken into custody that night but released when Sanford police did not charge him with committing a crime. For more than six weeks, Zimmerman remained free as national protests escalated led by Martin’s parents and civil rights groups.
By Kanya Stewart
Outlook Staff Writer
The opponents of Florida’s 2005Fla. To Study ‘Stand Your Ground’’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law have a new opportunity to have their concerns heard during upcoming statewide meetings that will allow citizens to express their concerns about safety and citizen rights and laws in Florida.
On April 19, Gov. Rick Scott announced that the Task Force for Citizen Safety and Protection would hold its first organizational meeting May 1 with 19 additional members. Members were not appointed, but were selected through an application process. Their vocations range from attorneys and legislators to neighborhood watch members and law enforcement officers.
The task force will meet under the Sunshine Law and will thoroughly review Florida Statute Chapter 776, which contains the provisions of the “Stand Your Ground” law for its intent, application and will also review other laws, rules and regulations that relate to citizen protection and public safety.
The task force, which the governor’s office describes as a “diverse” and “qualified” group, was created in March in response to protests concerning the controversial death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. Martin was killed in late February by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watchman who cited the “Stand Your Ground” law as justification for shooting the unarmed teen.
However, activists around the country say that Zimmerman misused the law because he racially profiled the teen. Scott promised that the task force would convene as soon as the investigation into Martin’s death was complete.
By Marc H. Morial
President and CEO
National Urban League
Last week, the civil rights community and Americans of conscience won a major victory against the corporately-funded conservative policy group that supported the “Stand Your Ground” law responsible for delaying the arrest of Trayvon Martin’s killer. This same group is behind dozens of voter ID laws that are jeopardizing the voting rights of millions of Americans.
On April 17, after an exodus of major corporate sponsors, prompted by pressure from a coalition of progressive and civil rights organizations, including the National Urban League, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) officially ended its involvement in these issues, saying in part, “We are eliminating the ALEC public safety and elections task force that dealt with non economic issues…”
Corporate support, which ranges from $7,000 to $25,000 in annual dues to the organization, began to wither in the wake of the public outcry against Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, which shields a gunman from prosecution simply by claiming a suspicion that his or her life was in danger. George Zimmerman made that claim to Sanford, Fla. police officers who incredulously did not arrest him following the February 26 shooting death of the unarmed, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Compiled from various news and wire sources
Angela Corey, the special prosecutor investigating the death of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin announced Wednesday evening that George Zimmerman, who told police he shot Martin in self defense, has been charged with second-degree murder. Zimmerman will plead not guilty to the charges, according to his attorneys. He faces up to life in prison if convicted.
Zimmerman arrest came almost two months after he fatally shot the 17 year old Miami native. Trayvon's parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, solemnly watched Wednesday's news conference in Washington on a small television. As Corey read the charges, the slain teen's parents held hands and watched. “Thank you, Lord,” said Benjamin Crump, the family's attorney as he patted Martin's knee. Neither of Martin's betrayed any emotion as they watched.
After the charges were announced, Fulton said she was thankful for the outpouring of public support. “I just want to speak from my heart to your heart, because a heart has no color," she said. "It's not black, it’s not white, it's red, and I want to say thank you from my heart to your heart." The Rev. Al Sharpton, one of the more prominent supporters of the Martin family, said the case would not have progressed without "the nameless, faceless people, black, white, Hispanic and Asian ... who
said 'take another look at this'."
By George E. Curry
Most people are asking whether Florida’s ‘Stand Your Ground’ law should apply to George Zimmerman, the 28-year-old neighborhood watch captain who killed an unarmed Trayvon Martin. That’s the wrong question. A better one is, given the circumstances, did the law protect Trayvon when he physically confronted Zimmerman? In a word, yes. Looking at the 2005 law from a different perspective – through the eyes of 17-year-old Trayvon instead of Zimmerman – is critical because the debate over what happened on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. is being misframed.
Some facts are undisputed: Trayvon was walking home from a nearby 7-Eleven store, where he had purchased a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona iced tea, when he was spotted by Zimmerman, who was driving a SUV. Zimmerman dialed 911 and reported seeing a suspicious Black male in the gated townhouse community. Though he had no proof, Zimmerman claimed that Trayvon appeared to be high on drugs. When Zimmerman confirmed that he was following Trayvon, the 911 operator specifically told him to stop following Trayvon and that police officers were on their way to the scene. Instead of following instructions, Zimmerman continued to follow Trayvon.