Protests were held across Florida and the nation on Saturday, July 20th, to protest the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin.
The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported on Saturday’s protest, “Their chant said much the same thing: ‘No justice, no peace.’ We’re not going to stand by and let this man go free,’ said Trevor Harvey, president of the Sarasota County chapter of the NAACP, which is lobbying the Department of Justice to charge Zimmerman with civil rights violations.”
GulfNews.com reports, “In Miami, more than 200 people gathered for a vigil. ‘You can’t justify murder,’ read one poster. Another read ‘Don’t worry about more riots. Worry about more Zimmermans’.”
KIRO TV reports, “In Miami, Tracy Martin spoke about his son. ‘This could be any one of our children,’ he said. ‘Our mission now is to make sure that this doesn’t happen to your child.’ He recalled a promise he made to his son as he lay in his casket. ‘I will continue to fight for Trayvon until the day I die,’ he said. Shantescia Hill held a sign in Miami that read: ‘Every person deserves a safe walk home’. The 31-year-old mother, who is black, said, ‘I’m here because our children can’t even walk on the streets without fearing for their lives’.”
Are the protesters calling for unequal rights rather than equal justice under the law?
BizPac Review noted, “Shortly after President Obama surprised reporters Friday with a 20-minute statement on George Zimmerman, Trayvon Martin and race relations in the U.S., Zimmerman’s defense team responded with a statement of their own.”
The Zimmerman defense team response states in part:
“This case has given the nation an opportunity to have a candid conversation about race. We would like to contribute to this discourse. Our President has clearly indicated he is willing to contribute to the discourse. As we begin this conversation, we want to say this: we cannot talk about race in sound bites. Before you cast an opinion about what the President said, be sure to listen to his comments in full. Before you judge George Zimmerman or disparage the verdict of the citizen jury, understand the facts in full. Agree not to listen to just what meets your predisposition, but to accept what exists.”
Read the full statement here.
Have race relations come full circle under America’s first black President?
Florida has a history of tragic events following the death of Blacks. Some have lead to riots. The City of Miami, in1980, saw blacks riot there and again in January 1989 and October 1995. The cause of the riots by local Blacks were against alleged cases of police brutality by the Miami Police Department and competition with Cubans, Haitians and other Latinos. Riots during 1991 in Overtown, Miami occurred in the heavily Black section against Cuban Americans, alike earlier riots there in 1982 and 1984. Finally, in 1995 citizens of St. Petersburg, Florida witnessed a riot caused by protests against racial profiling and police brutality.
Are Saturday’s protests not unlike what Florida has experience before? Historical themes in Florida are: Hispanics vs. Blacks, Blacks vs. the law and Blacks vs. profiling.
In each case the protests, some turning violent, are founded on the idea Blacks need special protection. Is this the resurgence of the “politics of retribution“? Former Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young once characterized riots in the city as “Not riots, but ‘rebellion’.” Are we raising a new generation of Black demagogues like Young?
Tamar Jacoby, author of Someone Else´s House: America’s Unfinished Struggle for Integration (1998), argues that since Martin Luther King, Jr., although blacks have made enormous economic, political, and social progress, a true sense of community has remained elusive.
Does the politics of retribution make our communities better or worse?
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