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The question on many a mind is whether Zimmerman can get a fair trial. But the question plaguing me is why the Trayvon Martins of the world are not afforded a fair trail before execution. Before there was Martin, there was Rodney King and Amadou Diallo and many an unknown victim of prejudice.
As a matter of fact, I became aware of Martin’s murder because someone sent an email to me asking whether his killing was this generation’s "Emmett Till moment". When people ask this question, they are already conceding legal defeat. Till was killed when he was 14 years old in 1955 while visiting Money, Mississippi. Till was from Chicago and didn’t know the ways of the south. He committed the “crime” of flirting with a white woman. He paid for that with his life when he was kidnapped from is grandfather’s home by two armed white men, beaten, tortured, and murdered. His corpse was later found bloated and disfigured in the river. The picture of Till in his casket, famous for being published in Jet magazine with his mother’s permission, garnered national attention. His murderers where put on trail and, as expected, acquitted. Some time later, they confessed to the murder to a journalist once assured that double jeopardy meant they could not be tried again.
I expect much of the same for Martin’s case. I fear that legal pundits will say that the evidence the police bothered to collect is inconclusive, that any potential jury pool has been tainted. And then there is the issue of Florida’s “stand your ground” law absolving people of crimes against those they fear. In 1950s Mississippi, Jim Crow public segregation laws demanded the acquittal of Till’s murderers. In 2012, we have stand your ground and a general acceptance that young black men bring violence upon themselves to shield justice from light and provide cover for those who meet out vigilante justice.

• Pamela Merritt (aka blogger Angry Black Bitch) ponders George Zimmerman’s possible upcoming trial, and the concept of justice
Photograph: Yunus Emre Caylak/Demotix/Corbis

    The question on many a mind is whether Zimmerman can get a fair trial. But the question plaguing me is why the Trayvon Martins of the world are not afforded a fair trail before execution. Before there was Martin, there was Rodney King and Amadou Diallo and many an unknown victim of prejudice.

    As a matter of fact, I became aware of Martin’s murder because someone sent an email to me asking whether his killing was this generation’s "Emmett Till moment". When people ask this question, they are already conceding legal defeat. Till was killed when he was 14 years old in 1955 while visiting Money, Mississippi. Till was from Chicago and didn’t know the ways of the south. He committed the “crime” of flirting with a white woman. He paid for that with his life when he was kidnapped from is grandfather’s home by two armed white men, beaten, tortured, and murdered. His corpse was later found bloated and disfigured in the river. The picture of Till in his casket, famous for being published in Jet magazine with his mother’s permission, garnered national attention. His murderers where put on trail and, as expected, acquitted. Some time later, they confessed to the murder to a journalist once assured that double jeopardy meant they could not be tried again.

    I expect much of the same for Martin’s case. I fear that legal pundits will say that the evidence the police bothered to collect is inconclusive, that any potential jury pool has been tainted. And then there is the issue of Florida’s “stand your ground” law absolving people of crimes against those they fear. In 1950s Mississippi, Jim Crow public segregation laws demanded the acquittal of Till’s murderers. In 2012, we have stand your ground and a general acceptance that young black men bring violence upon themselves to shield justice from light and provide cover for those who meet out vigilante justice.

    • Pamela Merritt (aka blogger Angry Black Bitch) ponders George Zimmerman’s possible upcoming trial, and the concept of justice

    Photograph: Yunus Emre Caylak/Demotix/Corbis

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    Let us take a moment to grieve for Trayvon Martin, whose life was so brutally taken. Then let us move from moment to movement, and revive the struggle for a more perfect union. That would be a fitting legacy for Trayvon. Read Jesse Jackson’s powerful words on why we must do more and seek answers in the aftermath of Trayvon’s death to make sure his death was not in vain.
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    One can only speculate as to Zimmerman’s intentions. Efforts to create a crude morality play around this shooting in which Martin is sanctified and Zimmerman is pathologised miss the point. Zimmerman’s assumptions on seeing Martin may have been reprehensible but they were not illogical. Black men in America are more likely to be stopped, searched, arrested, convicted and executed than any other group. With almost one in 10 black men behind bars there are more of them in prison, on probation or on parole today than were enslaved in 1850. To assume that when you see a black man you see a criminal is rooted in the fact that black men have been systematically criminalised. That excuses nothing but explains a great deal. Gary Younge's take on Trayvon Martin. Read the rest here
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I am Trayvon Martin.
So are you. And so is any human being who has ever felt cornered, in a dark and desolate alley, between life and death. Add the grim reality of skin color in America, and you have the disastrous spectacle of 250lb George Zimmerman, 28, pursuing 140lb Trayvon, 17, until that man-child is screaming “Help!” – and then gasping for air after a bullet from Zimmerman’s 9mm handgun had punctured his chest.

Kevin Powell explores what it means to be black in America today and the importance of learning lessons from his tragic death.
Photograph: AP

    I am Trayvon Martin.

    So are you. And so is any human being who has ever felt cornered, in a dark and desolate alley, between life and death. Add the grim reality of skin color in America, and you have the disastrous spectacle of 250lb George Zimmerman, 28, pursuing 140lb Trayvon, 17, until that man-child is screaming “Help!” – and then gasping for air after a bullet from Zimmerman’s 9mm handgun had punctured his chest.

    Kevin Powell explores what it means to be black in America today and the importance of learning lessons from his tragic death.

    Photograph: AP

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