By Parisienne & Open Book
Almost 53 years ago on August 28th, 1963 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his famous I Have a Dream speech to over 250,ooo civil rights supporters at Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. King described his dreams of freedom and equality arising from a land of slavery and hatred. Today with the majority of young black men housed in prison in the US. Is it possible what happened to Rodney King and Trayvon Martin the extreme and fatal results of discrimination and repression of black men in America?
On February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin during a confrontation between the two. George states that Trayvon jumped out of the bushes and ambushed him and that he shot Trayvon in self-defense. The case has since gone to trial and on July 12, the sheriff’s office in Sanford, Florida asked people not to riot whatever the outcome may be.
Ironically, Zimmerman’s prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda used Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech in his closing arguments arguing that star witness Rachel Jeantel should be taken seriously, regardless of her “unsophisticated” testimony,
How close are we to realizing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.s dream today? In a recent book by Michelle Alexander entitled The New Jim Crow Law: Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Here are a few facts regarding racial progress in America:
- There are more African Americans under correctional control today — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.
- As of 2004, more African American men were disenfranchised (due to felon disenfranchisement laws) than in 1870, the year the Fifteenth Amendment was ratified prohibiting laws that explicitly deny the right to vote on the basis of race.
- If you take into account prisoners, a large majority of African American men in some urban areas, like Chicago, have been labeled felons for life. These men are part of a growing undercaste — not class, caste — a group of people who are permanently relegated, by law, to an inferior second-class status. They can be denied the right to vote, automatically excluded from juries, and legally discriminated against in employment, housing, access to education, and public benefits — much as their grandparents and great-grandparents once were during the Jim Crow era.
“In an article addressing the status of contemporary African Americans, Alexander said, “The clock has been turned back on racial progress in America, though scarcely anyone seems to notice. All eyes are fixed on people like Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey who have defied the odds and achieved great power, wealth and fame”. Alexander sees the masses of ordinary African Americans as being relegated to the status of a “racial caste,” even though the official approach to dealing with minorities has been redesigned to avoid explicit use of racial attributes. According to Alexander, forms of “racial control” in the United States evolve as required by changing political circumstances and contemporary standards, with the policies of the current criminal justice system replacing Jim Crow laws, which in turn had replaced slavery. Alexander aims to mobilize the civil rights community to move the incarceration issue to the forefront of its agenda and to provide factual information, data, arguments and a point of reference for those interested in pursuing the issue.”
Saturday, July 13, 2013 George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges in the Trayvon Martin case. Its sad it took Trayvon Martin’s life in order for people to finally see something has to change. Here are a few peoples reaction to the verdict.