Injustice in Florida
For Immediate Release:
July 16, 2013The Green Party of Pennsylvania
Jay Sweeney, Chair, 570-587-3603
Carl Romanelli, Steering Committee, 570-239-3914
Emily Cook, Steering Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Green Party of Pennsylvania (GPPA) finds the outcome of the Trayvon Martin murder trial shockingly unjust. Justice is not equally applied in a state where a woman is found guilty for firing a warning shot, yet a man who actually shoots and kills an unarmed teenager walks free.
GPPA also finds the comments made by George Zimmerman and his brother after the incident equally outrageous. In a Fox interview, Zimmerman declared it was “God’s will” that led to his killing of Martin. And in a CNN interview, Zimmerman’s brother suggested Martin was “looking to procure firearms” and “was growing marijuana plants,” in an attempt to demonize the teenager.
The Neighborhood Watch program is intended to enable citizens to be the “eyes and ears” in their community, alert the police of suspicious activity not to resort to vigilantism. “The alleged action of a ‘self appointed neighborhood watchman’ significantly contradicts the principles of the Neighborhood Watch Program,” according to National Sheriff’s Association Executive Director Aaron D. Kennard.
“Like Florida, Pennsylvania is a state which permits citizens to carry concealed weapons which makes the Zimmerman case so chilling because the verdict sanctions the right of anyone packing a gun to provoke another for subjective reasons and, if that person reacts, you can shoot them dead,” states Emily Cook Montgomery County Green Party Chair. “If our criminal justice system tacitly condones this conduct among men, we should all be afraid.”
“The core issue here is the lack of understanding on the part of the prosecutor. This case should have been prosecuted by pointing to the criminal behavior of profiling. Race should have been the centerpiece of the state’s case, but Florida (and US) prosecutors operate as though profiling is okay, so we end up with Zimmerman walking due to the fact that his defense team did its job well, and Florida prosecutors did not. The jury did fine, based on the case before it, but the state needs to re-examine the institutionally based racism issue, and to what extent Florida is a partner in such policy. From the state-sponsored disenfranchisement of 90,000 minority voter in 2000, to the Trayvon Martin case in 2013, and hundreds of other examples in between, Florida once again is an example of how unjust America remains for poor people and for people of color,” said GPPA Steering Committee member Carl Romanelli.
“Allowing easy access to guns in this country is dangerous,” said Vivek Ananthan, GPPA treasurer.
“I actually don’t doubt that George Zimmerman was afraid for his life,” said GPPA Steering Committee member Hillary Kane. “But that is the telling part. Why was he afraid of an unarmed teenager? And why do we find that reasonable or acceptable? As a white person who grew up in the secluded and homogeneous suburbs, I know many people who would be afraid to walk down the street in a black neighborhood or even to ride the bus. Are they now justified in shooting someone who looks at them in a way they simply perceive to be aggressive? Why is that fear acceptable in today’s society? Why aren’t we talking about it and helping people work through it?”
Kane, who co-chairs the Green Party’s Annual National Meeting, has been helping to organize a Racial Equity Workshop that will be offered as a special pre-conference session for attendees later this month in Iowa City. “Sadly, all of us that grow up in this country are exposed so relentlessly to the ‘black man as criminal’ image its almost impossible to completely rid yourself of irrational fear. The Green party recognizes this, and is taking steps to unpack oppression and white privilege in our own party. We are not in a position to change government (yet) but we can always be working on our own hearts and minds and toward making the Green Party a truly anti-racist organization both inside and out.”
More information about the workshop can be found at:
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