workers.org July 26, 2012 Page 3
THE CLASSROOM& THE CELL:
Conversations onBlack Life in America
Mumia Abu-Jamal& Marc Lamont Hill This book delves into theproblems of Black life inAmerica and oers real,concrete solutions.Order at: www.freemumia.com/?p=684
& the Black Freedom Struggle
An anthology of writings from Workers World newspaper. Edited by Monica Moorehead. Includes:
COVER GRAPHIC: SAHU BARRON
Racism, National Oppression& Self-Determination
Black Labor from Chattel Slaveryto Wage Slavery
Black Youth: Repression & Resistance
The Struggle for Socialism Is Key
Domestic Workers United DemandPassage of a Bill of Rights
Imani HenryAvailable at Amazon.com & bookstores around the country www.workers.org/reparations
Black & Brown Unity: A Pillar of Struggle for HumanRights and Global Justice!
Alabama’s Black Belt: Legacy of Slavery,Sharecropping & Segregation
Harriet Tubman, Woman Warrior
Are Conditions Ripe Again Today? Anniversaryof the 1965 Watts Rebellion
Racism & Poverty in the Delta
Haiti Needs Reparations, Not Sanctions
Another slapagainst Trayvon Martin
By Monica Moorehead
The struggle for justice for Trayvon Martin, the mur-dered African-American youth, recently made headlinesagain. The 17-year-old Martin was unarmed when he
was stalked and fatally shot by George Zimmerman, a
self-proclaimed neighborhood watch person, in a gated
community in Sanford, Fla., on Feb. 26.Zimmerman used the “Stand Your Ground” law to jus
tify the killing by saying that Martin attacked him rst,
and therefore he had the right to self-defense. The San-
ford police accepted Zimmerman’s version of the events
when he was brought in for questioning and decided notto arrest him.This injustice sparked major outrage, initiated by social media throughout the U.S. and other parts of
the world. Led by Black youth — like in Miami where
Martin attended high school — national protests, largeand small, grew on a daily basis and forced the Semi-
nole County District Attorney’s ofce to arrest and jailZimmerman on second-degree murder charges on April20. Less than a week later, Zimmerman was released on
$15,000 bond.In early July, the same judge who set the original
$150,000 bail revoked the bond, claiming that Zimmer
-man and his spouse had lied about their income, failingto reveal large donations made by right-wingers through
Zimmerman’s website. Bail was then set at $1 million.Zimmerman was freed on $100,000 bond on July 6 after
spending one night in jail. No trial date has yet been set.
On July 13, the Federal Bureau of Investigation re
-leased photos of the hoodie worn by Martin the nighthe was shot, which depicted the gunshot wound. In its
report, the FBI claims Zimmerman was not motivated
by racism to kill Martin, but by fear of the hoodie he was wearing. The report was based on interviews with those
who knew Zimmerman.
‘Your hoodie made me do it!’
Investigator Chris Serinone told the FBI that he “be
lieved that Zimmerman’s actions were not based on
Martin’s skin color, rather based on his attire, the totalcircumstances of the encounter and the previous bur-glary suspects in the community.” (cnn.com, July 13)
The FBI is part of a larger federal investigation thatthe U.S. Department of Justice is carrying out at therequest of Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin. His parents and their lawyer, Benjamin Crump,adamantly maintain that Zimmerman racially proled
Martin. While hoodies are a popular form of dress for youthof various nationalities and social strata, there is a nega-
tive stigma connected to Black and Latino/a people who
wear them. In the minds of many in U.S. society, which isriddled with white supremacist attitudes, hoodies worn by youth of color are synonymous with gang member-ship.
In essence, the FBI report is an attempt to evoke pub
lic sympathy for Zimmerman, by saying he was justied
in shooting Martin because he felt threatened by the youth’s clothing. The report helps to lay the basis for
Zimmerman’s acquittal even before the trial begins.
The tragic shooting of Trayvon Martin is not an iso-lated incident. It is part and parcel of the broader issue
of racial proling of youth of color, who are branded as
being a threat to society. In reality, these youth are hor-ribly disenfranchised, especially if they lack jobs andeducation.This raises the question of who is the victim and whois the aggressor. Nine times out of 10, youth of color areseen as the aggressors, and therefore, it is more or lessaccepted to “get them before they get you” — whether by
police brutality, incarceration or vigilantism as in Zim
-merman’s case.The courts, the police and the laws under capitalismcannot be relied upon to bring justice for youth like Tray- von Martin, which would mean a guilty conviction for
Zimmerman. The progressive movement must not only continue to support the Black community’s demand for
justice for Martin, but take it a step further by joining in building and sustaining a movement to demand jobs, not jails and police terror for all working-class youth.
Political prisonerMumia Abu-Jamal on
’Trayvon & thewar against Us’
Taken from a June 17 audio columnat prisonradio.org.
For a brief moment in time, the name and fate of
Trayvon Martin broke through the daily media fog andtouched the lives of tens of thousands of people, moti- vating them, mobilizing them and moving them to takedirect action against the gross inaction of the state.
Youth across Florida walked out of high schools andtook to the streets. People in dozens of cities marched,
seemingly spontaneously, against the non-action of thestate. Why?
Because for many of these teenagers, they sensed theunsaid truth: It could’ve been them.
It could’ve been them.Those kids pushed the state to act, if only to pre- vent the movement from growing more and more andspreading like kudzu in the Southern sun.
And these protests against anti-Black violence take
place amidst the greatest institutional violence against
Blacks since the height of the civil rights movement. By
that, I mean the silent assault of mass incarceration,or what law professor, Michelle Alexander, terms “the
New Jim Crow” (Last year, she authored a book by that
title). And it matters not that Trayvon’s killer wasn’t a cop(as is usually the case). He was an informal auxiliary to
a system that polices Black life and holds their every act
under suspicion.The South, for centuries, was an armed white army, where every white male was empowered by law and
custom to control Black life, by any means necessary.Trayvon was judged guilty of walking while Black, asare many, many Black and Latino/a youth every day.
No matter what the result of the Trayvon Martin case(I happen to think acquittal is down the line), the New
Jim Crow pecks at Black, Brown and poor lives daily,
destroying any future they may’ve once dreamed of having.
But what we learn from Trayvon’s case is that protest
works, for without these protests, there would’ve beenno case.That lesson must translate to the vast social injusticeof the prison industrial complex.
When more Black men are in chains today than atthe dawn of the Civil War, when slavery was legal; or
when the South African system of apartheid was in fullswing, protests, mass protests, are a necessity.
Boots Riley backs sit-in
Supporters of the
School sit-in gatheredfor a “Celebration and
Convergence for Public
Education” on July 15.
Police had evicted sit-
in participants on July 3. The event was heldacross the street from
the school at Splash PadPark, where the Peo
-ples’ School has contin-ued to conduct classes.Speakers discussed how
to ght the attacks onpublic education. Po
litical activist/performers, including Boots Riley and
Jabari Shaw, headlined the event.
The Oakland Unied School District plans to moveadministrative ofces into the school during the week
WW PHOTO: MONICA MOOREHEAD
March 21, Union Square, New York City.
of July 16. Lakeview sit-in activists have requested thatthe Alameda Labor Council sanction a picket line at the
school to prevent the move.
— Report & photo by Terri Kay