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"Walking While Black: The Killing of Trayvon Martin." By Amy Goodman

Democracy Now! on March 22, 2012 18:11

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    By Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan

    On the rainy night of Sunday, Feb. 26, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin walked to a convenience store in Sanford, Fla. On his way home, with his Skittles and iced tea, the African-American teenager was shot and killed. The gunman, George Zimmerman, didn’t run. He claimed that he killed the young man in self-defense. The Sanford Police agreed and let him go. Since then, witnesses have come forward, 911 emergency calls have been released, and outrage over the killing has gone global.

    So, while the police and State Attorney Norm Wolfinger have defended their inaction, a democratic demand for justice has ricocheted around the country, prompting a U.S. Justice Department investigation and leading Wolfinger to promise to convene a grand jury. The Rev. Glenn Dames, pastor of St. James AME Church in nearby Titusville, has called Martin’s death “a modern-day lynching.” His demand for the immediate arrest of Zimmerman was echoed by the organizers of the “Million Hoodie March” in New York City, named after the often racially stereotyped sweatshirt Martin was wearing in the rain when he was shot.

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has called for the removal of Sanford Police Chief Lee. NAACP President Ben Jealous, recounting a mass meeting in a Sanford-area church Tuesday night, quoted a local resident who stood up and said, “‘If you kill a dog in this town, you’d be in jail the next day.’ Trayvon Martin was killed four weeks ago, and his killer is still walking the streets.”

    With his gun.

    Award-winning journalist and Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman records a podcast in conjunction with her weekly column, which you can read in full here:

    For more information, visit


    11 timed comments and 7 regular comments

    • BeigeBabyDahl
      BeigeBabyDahl at 4.17 on June 18, 2012 18:33

      that B/S wanna be apology so he can get out of jail was pathetic!!!! When did you finally decide he was a kid? when you were watching him...following him....when he was supposedly sitting on George's chest...when he approached him asking him "what are you doing here" ??? when did George see Treyvon's face?

    • BeigeBabyDahl
      BeigeBabyDahl at 3.28 on June 18, 2012 18:31

      those cops didnt give a crap about a dead young black male...that has been proven time and time again across this country.

    • BeigeBabyDahl
      BeigeBabyDahl at 0.45 on June 18, 2012 18:29

      REALLY? how stoopid do you have to be to be an officer? There was no way anyone could oppose that jackass since he MURDERED the only witness!!! Listen to the crap he said when he was talking to the 911 operator about being a "KOON" "THEY" always get away? The voice begging for help and begging for his life was clearly a young male.

    • mickymorgan71
      mickymorgan71 at 0.32 on March 26, 2012 19:41

      its justice ....let stand for it

    • wolfkin
      wolfkin at 3.06 on March 23, 2012 11:49

      @Eva Inez Heule: i agree that's crazy. all the cop shows on TV have cops calling people randomly from phones. You'd think IRL they would be able to at least look thru it. Kid's dead man.

    • Eva Inez Heule
      Eva Inez Heule at 3.06 on March 23, 2012 11:22

      Trayvon's body was in the morgue for 2 DAYS, unidentified, did not check his cell phone. Also, his parents had filed a missing persons report.

    • Eva Inez Heule
      Eva Inez Heule at 6.42 on March 23, 2012 11:12

      the KILLER (whatever the motive) is still walking the streets 4 WEEKS LATER, with a gun, and we know who he is. this is in no way JUSTICE!

    • Eva Inez Heule
      Eva Inez Heule at 6.24 on March 23, 2012 11:08

      "this redneck justice has to stop"

    • Eva Inez Heule
      Eva Inez Heule at 5.30 on March 23, 2012 11:02

      trayvon's mother; "THIS IS NOT ABOUT A BLACK AND WHITE THING THIS IS ABOUT A RIGHT AND WRONG THING", unbelievably strong woman.

    • Eva Inez Heule
      Eva Inez Heule on March 23, 2012 10:20

      @eaves111 I very much agree with what you have to say. ..

    • Eva Inez Heule
      Eva Inez Heule on March 23, 2012 10:13

      Racism or not, Zimmerman blew that boy away and is out there walking free, in the land of the 'free to shoot a kid for no good reason'.

      Nothing about this situation is right or just in any sense. There is clear evidence that has been made available to the world on the Internet. What are you going to do America? Are you going to stand for this? Beyond the possible, and seemingly probable, murder case-- the racism involved absolutely must to be resolved and due justice must be served. Proving racism is hard but knowing what it is when you experience or witness it, is not. Not everyone has suffered it's infractions, that is certainly one way to be made aware of it. However there are other ways to become aquainted with what it is. As this stands, racism is very clear to some while more or less clouded for many others and for that reason, cases such as this go in a circular motion and so often with no resolution. Remember the Rodney King footage and ask yourself how this was not considered racism to some people. Maybe it still isn't to you.

      I don't know how everyone else feels. . . but my belief is that racism is such an integral aspect so much of the world's violence that if we could work toward properly addressing and act such as this, we'd be evolving toward the end of so, so much of the world's violence.

      Innocent until proven guilty, Zimmerman deserves to be heard and I sure can't wait to hear what he has to say for himself. But how about an arrest/conviction/sentence. If there is some sound evidence in support of Zimmerman's actions, i would love to see/hear all of that! please post them to the web so we can all see your side. Stop hiding out. Start talking. Start explaining

      i want to read the above comments too,but for now this is just my gut reaction response to amy goodman's podcast. hearing these 911 audio excerpts, absolutely heart-wrenching... and once again, Amy Goodman, thank you for your well-informed perspective.

    • KyleDeThier
    • KyleDeThier
    • Matt Fitt
      Matt Fitt on March 23, 2012 06:11

      @eaves1111: I agree, based upon the evidence I've seen so far, that racism is very likely a significant factor (along with pathological paranoia) in Trayvon's murder. And I generally agree with many of your other points, as well.

      However, your concluding sentence simply cannot go unmentioned. You say that "Someone telling me it’s not racist, is a clear sign of racism." With this you have come very close to stating that "if you say I'm wrong, that proves I'm right." Please consider the logical conclusions which others might reach about you regarding such a statement. Or consider the conclusions you might reach if, theoretically, George Zimmerman were to say "If you tell me I'm racist, then that 's a clear sign that I'm not racist." You see the absurdity.

    • poetrydivas
      poetrydivas on March 23, 2012 02:56

      @poetrydivas: everything that is perceived as a reality is based on racism there is nothing that this atrocity doesn't touch from love to hate this is a symbol of Democracy steeped in RACISM. Absolutely correct we are so deeply entrenched in RACISM it seems most natural except to those of us that feel it's sting from the whip as it repeatedly slaps us upon our backs everywhere from work,play and in the boardrooms,classrooms,recreation, education, corporations, free enterprise which isn't free for us but we have to know someone, even the athletes that think they are free all have a white somebody handling their money and their legal aspects that is basically racism in their bedroom too- can you escape?? Then the fact of th matter the laws that separate and supposedly protect don't protect but separate us more than anything the same laws that will lock us up will free a murderer and send him home with a gun that will get you or I a 5(five) year mandatory sentence here in Washington DC

    • poetrydivas
      poetrydivas on March 23, 2012 02:46

      @eaves1111: I definitely agree with you while there should be more remarks and comments written on this atrocity I see that there aren't many people that view this as news. It is the only news that applies to us and it is a reality. I say for instance in the next moment if every one of your children are gunned down in the streets what would your situation be?? Would you want the media and the world to understand your grief or would you try to settle your vendetta in a vicious , angry way as Zimmerman did to this child I dare say that you would handle this like any man or woman would that sees this as an eye for an eye. Courts will not heap the justice that this man needs upon his head he needs the same justice that he provided for this child nothing more nothing less!!

    • TLewis
      TLewis on March 23, 2012 01:03

      Eaves, your comment is cogent and articulate; I agree.

    • eaves1111
      eaves1111 on March 23, 2012 00:39

      While I appreciate a detailed retelling of the events for this particular incident I hope that white people who understand white privilege and agree that racism does exist will use their privilege to push other white people to move their conversations from just this incident to conversations about the larger context and US system that created and fosters space for Trayvon Martin to be thought of as suspicious and threatening.

      Conversational shifts if we want real, systemic change:
      1) Relate how the American perception of Black men is based on a historical fear of the black man and a need to dominate, control and subjugate the black male body and mind. It started with slavery and has yet to be ended. Go deeper and realize that white America needs to soul search on why THEY are so fearful, controlling and destructive of and to Black skinned people.

      2) The handling of this case is NOT just reflective of the relationship between black communities and small town police… more specifically black people and the united states as a whole, small towns, urban cities, south, north, west, police, law, schools, businesses. See #1.

      3) A USA Today article quotes a Zimmerman family member regarding their family’s connections to Black people and being Spanish speaking. But nothing else is said of this statement. It leaves an unknowing reader to assume Spanish speaking and/or Latinos can not racially profile blacks and some people will use this to support their case that this is not a racial incident – ummm blacks racially profile blacks, it’s called internalized racism, assimilation and indoctrination and the US is VERY good at it.

      4) My last major issue – the Florida law states: “The law allows the use of force if the person "reasonably believes" it is necessary to protect the person's own life, or the life of another or to prevent a forcible felony.”
      People will and have stated that the problem here is the law and it has nothing to do with race. They will say this because it’s easier. An unfair or unjust law is much easier to talk about than racism, the American and often global hatred for Black Americans. It’s easier to not dig deep, to not look at our own behaviors and thought processes and decisions to cross the street, get off the elevator, hire someone else, remove our kids from the school with too many of “them”, to assume it’s drugs that bought the new car or affirmative action that got them into school. It’s easier to not confront what’s staring us all in the face and that people like me are conspiracy nuts, too sensitive and blaming.

      But the reality for most Black people in the US in 2012 is not just happenstance. Incarceration rates of Blacks, dismantling of Black neighborhoods and families, making sports and music the most sought after avenue to pull ourselves up from our boot straps, limiting and destroying public education, feeding gang wars, depicting Blacks in movies and TV as one dimensional and more often than not, light skinned. I could go on and on and on. You want to say the self-defense law is the problem, please don’t insult my intelligence. Black people, specifically Black men are ALWAYS depicted as a threat, and we are conditioned to believe as such through hundreds of years of manipulated and constructed policies and patterns. To think it is reasonable to believe it is necessary to protect yourself from another, based on your perceptions and your conditioned state to perceive Black men as threats, makes the law, this situation and almost everything we do in this country racist. There, I said it. Someone telling me it’s not racist, is a clear sign of racism – American racism at its best.

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