PLOT TO SPLIT THE BLACK VOTE
OVER SAME-SEX MARRIAGE REVEALED
By Cash Michaels
A national anti-same-sex marriage group with conservative leanings was allegedly plotting to pit African-Americans and gay people against each other this year for the expressed purpose splitting the black Democratic vote, and passing legal bans on gay marriage, a Washington, DC-based online newspaper reports.
The alleged plot would have definite relevance here in North Carolina, where the Republican-led General Assembly has placed on the May 8th primary ballot a controversial state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage titled “Amendment One.”
NC General Statutes have already, for years, defined marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman, and specifically bans same-sex marriages.
Still, the religious-based Amendment One is continuously touted as outlawing same-sex marriages, when they’re already outlawed.
Several black Democrats in the NC House, who are also ministers, voted with conservative Republicans to put Amendment One on the ballot.
Conservatives hope to exploit the black church’s traditional opposition to homosexuality as a wedge issue to fracture an otherwise formidable Democratic political coalition among blacks, gays and Latinos come the May 8th primaries, observers say.
By splitting the Democratic voting base, conservatives hoped to also fracture President Obama’s base of support.
Indeed, conservatives plotted to do exactly that.
In the March 27th edition of The Hill, the story, “Gay marriage opponents reveal political strategy in secret memo,” alleges that, “An internal memo from the National Organization for Marriage [NOM] was part of a cluster of documents unsealed Monday by a [Maine] federal court…[was] marked “confidential” [and] included a detailed passage entitled “Not a Civil Rights Project.”
The Daily Beast, another online newspaper, reported, “What the secret memos reveal is a well-funded group eager to exploit racial divisions and even use children against their parents in an effort to roll back legal gains for gays and lesbians—not just in the United States but around the world. “Our goal is to use a victory in the U.S. to launch a global movement to reverse the tide on cultural and legal respect for core family values like marriage,” it says.
“The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks - two key Democratic constituencies…,” the secret memo began.
It went on to detail a strategy where NOM would “recruit African-American spokesmen to speak out against gay marriage, then organize a media campaign around their objections [to gay marriage as a civil right],” The Hill reported.
The strategy memo continued, “Provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party.”
“Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of [Proposition 8] is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriage to its advocates, and persuading the movement’s allies that advocates are unacceptably overreaching on this issue,” the memo continued.
“Consider pushing a marriage amendment in Washington, DC; find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally.”
The NOM memo even plotted ways to manipulate Latino voters to oppose same-sex marriages, and ultimately defeat President Barack Obama’s “pro-gay agenda” in the November 2012 elections.
Even though the president has worked to end the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in the military, and recently came out against North Carolina’s “Amendment One” because he believes it to be discriminatory, Obama has been tepid at best when it comes to actually endorsing same-sex marriages.
He says that he’s “evolving” on the issue, those Obama does favor domestic partnerships.
And yet, the NOM memo, noting a “$20 million strategy for victory,” schemes to join with the conservative “American Principles Project” to “expose Obama as a social radical” on issues like gay marriage and pornography, according the online site, “Buzzfeed.”
The NOM documents were turned over to federal court in Maine as part of an investigation into whether the group was following federal campaign laws.
Brian Brown, president of NOM, released a statement in reaction to the memo disclosures, saying, “The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) was formed in 2007 and has worked extensively with supporters of traditional marriage from every color, creed and background. We have worked with prominent African-American and Hispanic leaders, including Dr. Aveeda King, Bishop George McKinney of the COGIC Church, Bishop Harry Jackson and the New York State Sen. Reverend Rubén Díaz Sr., all of whom share our concern about protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
Brown continued, “Gay marriage advocates have attempted to portray same-sex marriage as a civil right, and the voices of these and many other leaders have provided powerful witness that this claim is patently false. Gay marriage is not a civil right, and we will continue to point this out in written materials such as those released in Maine. We proudly bring together people of different races, creeds and colors to fight for our most fundamental institution: marriage.”
Former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond told The Hill the NOM memo, “… confirmed a suspicion that some evil hand was behind this.”
“I would not be surprised to find this group and its filthy hand in crafting this situation,” Bond continued.
Here in North Carolina in February during the Historic Thousands on Jones Street march and rally, Rev. William Barber, president of the NC NAACP, said that while people may have their personal opinions about the gay lifestyle, citizens can’t allow legal discrimination to become part of the state’s constitution, because if that’s allowed towards one group, then the next constitutional amendment will be against another group deemed politically vulnerable.
Other black religious leaders were not pleased as well.
“If the success of the National Organization of Marriage’s movement depends on stirring up resentment between communities, it might want to rethink its strategies, said Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, director of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council, in a statement.
“African American men and women of faith are not a political football to be tossed around in a cynical game of resentment and division. We, like all Americans, struggle thoughtfully with issues of faith, family and politics. Anti-equality activists such as NOM consistently attempt to use a deeply cynical ‘wedge’ strategy to divide African Americans and the gay community, playing up what are now old and tired clichés. In the long run, this strategy will falter as African American and LGBT communities continue to work together for equal justice.
“I celebrate as more and more African American clergy engage in AAMLC’s Healing Grace dialogues and work to confront and overcome stigma, prejudice and homophobia in the Black Church. We continually seek to help and not harm, love and not hate, reconcile and not separate, unite and not divide -- and it's working.
“NOM’s explicit attempt to drive a wedge between the LGBT community and African Americans is deeply offensive,” Min. Malachi concluded, “and it exposes the depravity of their politics.”
W-ed - AMENDMENT ONE - THE TRUTH
All of us have buttons.
Some are hot, others turn us dead cold. Someone wants to get us good and mad, they know to press the hot one.
Someone wants to turn us off to an issue or situation, not care about it; they hit that cold button that makes us ignore anything else that’s being said about the subject.
In politics, there are paid experts who are always scheming and conniving about how to hit certain buttons in a certain portion of the electorate, to motivate those folks to vote, or NOT vote for a particular issue. That’s why we get so many mean and hateful political campaign commercials.
And you know, given that this is an election year, and President Obama is running for re-election, that we’re going to see some doozies on our TV screens accusing the president of being a Muslim who wasn’t born in this country who will totally destroy this nation if he’s re-elected.
Now anyone with a decent common sense doesn’t believe that, because it is true, but the conservative Tea Party folks pushing those ads are going to get a lot of support, because it pushes certain can’t-lose hot buttons that certain people in the country instantly respond to.
Race and religion.
Betcha shaking your head in agreement.
But betcha you’re falling for the same thing.
There are conservative Republican leaders in the NC General Assembly who have put forth a completely bogus voters’ referendum on the May 8th Primary Day ballot to determine whether or not a proposed state amendment to the NC Constitution, is approved.
You’ve heard of it, it’s called “Amendment One,” and its purpose, say conservative Republican lawmakers, is to legally define marriage in North Carolina as exclusively between a man and a woman, thus effectively prohibiting and outlawing same-sex marriage in North Carolina.
Many African-Americans, who normally wouldn’t trust conservative Republicans with last week’s garbage, are automatically all for this, because our Christian faith teaches us that homosexuality is a sin, and, as good Christians, we certainly don’t want to allow same-sex marriage to become not only legal, but accepted in North Carolina.
So as far as many African-Americans are concerned, it’s A-OK for the GOP to press that particular hot button - religion - if it keeps North Carolina free of same-sex marriages.
The Bible says homosexuality is wrong, and that’s all good Christians need to know, right?
But there’s just one problem. In the state of North Carolina, marriage is ALREADY defined as being exclusively between a man and a woman.
NC General Statute 51-1 - A valid and sufficient marriage is created by the consent of a male and female person who may lawfully marry, presently to take each other as husband and wife, freely, seriously and plainly expressed by each in the presence of the other…”
So North Carolina law, written and adopted many, many years ago, already defines a “valid and sufficient marriage” as being between “a male and female person.”
But just in case you’re still not convinced, please flip over to NC General Statute 51-1-2, which clearly states that, “Marriages, whether created by common law, contracted, or performed outside of North Carolina, between individuals of the same gender are not valid in North Carolina.”
So if those two laws have been on the books for some time, then why is the Republican Party wasting so much time and money trying to get good Christian, GODloving folks like to vote for a referendum to stop same-sex marriage in North Carolina, if it’s ALREADY stopped, and ALREADY illegal.
Why are conservatives literally lying to the black community about the need to vote for something that already exists? Same-sex marriage is ALREADY against NC law!
Because they know that this is a hot button issue for North Carolina’s African-American community, and just like certain white Christians who are convinced that they must vote against that “Muslim, anti-Christian, black socialist who is corrupting the country,” There are black Christians here in NC who devoutly believe that voting for Amendment One will forever ban same-sex marriages.
Sorry, not true, and there’s no chance of changing it.
So why is the GOP going hog wild? Because they know that homosexuality is the way to fracture President Obama’s base of support from both African-Americans and gays.
And if they can successfully do that, not only does the president lose North Carolina for sure, but Democrats will also lose because of deep divisions they’ve pour gasoline all over.
President Obama has already spoken out, telling all Democrats to vote against Amendment One on May 8th.
The NCNAACP has joined the president, warning that Amendment One is dangerous because it allows the state to codify legal discrimination against a certain group of people.
Gay people today, another group tomorrow, observers say.
The GOP wants that power under the guise of enacting good Christian dogma, when it fact, there is no legitimate legal reason for it.
And, as has been already reported, a conservative group in 2009 called the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), forced to turn over their campaign finance files, reportedly plotted to deliberately split the black and gay communities by having black and gay leaders publicly attack each other.
And 2009 documents also prove that NOM wanted Pres. Obama removed from office, and saw splitting his voting base as the best way to do it.
State House Rep. Earline Parmon, a black Democrat of Forsyth County, has already found herself being, “…targeted by Republican dollars” just because she refused to co-sponsor Amendment One.
Ask yourself this question: How could conservative Republicans who are trying to suppress the black vote through voter ID; who have already shrunk the early voting period from two weeks down to one before an election starting next fall; and have cut $1 billion from the state education budget, making things harder for NHC Public Schools, all of a sudden be people you can trust on Amendment One or anything else?
Don’t allow the GOP to divide the Democratic base, and make sure that President Obama loses re-election.
It is imperative that you know, and spread the word that our community must collectively vote NO on Amendment One. Voting yes does not make the anti-same sex laws already on North Carolina’s books any better or any stronger.
Don’t allow the GOP to fool you by pushing your religious hot button like they’re doing with the “Obama is a Muslim” crowd.
This is politics, of the worst kind. Our community MUST stay strong and united in these challenging days ahead leading up to the 2012 presidential elections.
Again, don’t let the GOP fool you, and divide us.
Spread the word - vote NO against the worthless Amendment One.
STATE HOUSE 38 RACE HEATS UP
By Cash Michaels
With the all-important May 8th primaries looming, voters in the newly created state House District 38 will elect their first representative from among three dynamic Democratic candidates who offer not only different styles of governance, but different visions of what is best for the future of their constituents, and the state of North Carolina.
The new District 38, all of it in Wake County, actually shifts some the East Raleigh-based District of House 33, currently represented by Rosa Gill, slightly north, making the western boundary inside the Beltline Oakwood, encompassing St. Augustine’s College; New Hope Road serving as the eastern boundary; a sliver of Knightdale, and then north to the Horseshoe Park and Perry Creek Road, following Capital Blvd. up to the Neuse River.
That means the demographics of the new House District 38 reflects more families and businesses.
There are issues Yvonne Lewis-Holley, Lee Sartain and Abeni El-Amin, the three Democrats in the primary) agree on. They all oppose Amendment One, the Republican-sponsored public referendum to constitutionally outlaw same-sex marriage in North Carolina, even though there is already a law on the books doing such.
All three support the Racial Justice Act, and oppose Republican-led efforts to implement voter ID, saying that would be a “solution in search of a problem,” and that it’s really an effort at voter suppression.
But where do all three stand on the bread and butter issues?
Abeni El-Amin, native of Lexington, Kentucky, is the executive director of Project Ricochet, Inc. of NC, a community-based organization that works to prevent youth violence, and develop productive alternatives.
“I have been active on many fronts with my work in the Democratic Party, Wake Up Wake County, Project Ricochet, Inc of NC and many other civic pursuits,” she says.
Previously she has taught at St. Augustine’s College, Shaw University and Wake Tech Community College.
Ms. El-Amin says her last name means, “trustworthy and a leader,” and maintains that she is “the best candidate to take the message of the people of this district to the legislature.”
On the issues, in interviews, candidate forum appearances and on her website, El-Amin says job creation in the district, if not for all of North Carolina, is a top priority.
“By encouraging industry to locate in our district, and by legislating increasing investment in entrepreneurialism,” she says.
On education, El-Amin says there is a definite challenge in improving classroom instruction in the midst of severe state budget cuts.
“One major task that lies ahead is how to keep qualified instructors in the classroom to keep teacher-to-student ratio competitive with other states in the nation and globally, El-Amin notes.
On public safety, El-Amin says she’s fully committed to ensure that there is a reduction in violence in her district, and struggling communities across the state.
On transportation, El-Amin sees improvements to the transportation infrastructure in District 38 along US 1 as an opportunity for more job creation.
“US 1 is a targeted zone for light rail and supporting transportation routes,” El-Amin says. “This means that residents of District 38 have more choices for affordable and energy efficient methods of transportation.”
El-Amin says regardless of whether the Republicans are still in control of the Legislature of not, she will still work hard for District 38 if elected.
“Although, we have been challenged,” El-Amin says, “the new NC House District 38 position gives us tremendous opportunity to jet to the top as it relates to vast improvements in job creation, education initiatives and increased modes of transportation.”
For more information about her candidacy, go to www.abeniel-amin.com.
Lee Sartain, a formerly of Charlotte, graduated from NC State University in the late 1990’s, and currently works at NCSU as an education specialist. So there’s little doubt that, if elected to House District 38, improving public education will be a top priority.
Sartain, who once ran for the Raleigh City Council, is concerned, however with the direction of the Republican-led NC General Assembly, and the impact they’ve had on education in the state.
“The actions of the NC General Assembly over the last two years is putting the state we love in jeopardy,” Sartain says on his campaign website. “Higher education is simply unaffordable for families, and the state has slipped to 49th in education funding for our kids. Without investing in our education system, North Carolina can't compete in the global economy and job growth will remain stagnant.”
Sartain says the $1 billion in state cuts to education should be restored, but that the money should be spent to “Put kids and teachers first.”
“Research shows that high quality teachers are the biggest success factor in a child's education. It's time to bring North Carolina back on track for education funding and put teachers back in the classroom,” Sartain says.
He adds that focusing on a better-educated workforce will help attract for businesses and industries to North Carolina, and thus more job creation.
“We must focus on growing the innovative jobs of the future by incentivizing small businesses in emerging industries - solar energy production, biotech, software development - to relocate and invest their research and development dollars right here in North Carolina. These industries will hire North Carolina workers trained in our universities and community colleges,” Sartain says.
And finally, Sartain says fairness will be the hallmark of his legislative efforts if he’s elected to House District 38.
“All families in North Carolina deserve a fair shake. Everything from job benefits, healthcare, to child welfare is jeopardy this May,” he says. “ I look forward to serving as [the] representative in District 38, while being a positive and progressive voice for North Carolina.”
For more information about his campaign, go to www.leesartain.com.
Yvonne Lewis-Holley, a Southeast Raleigh native, touts herself as the only candidate running for House District 38 who actually grew up and attended public school in the district.
Her father, the late J. D. Lewis, was a Montford Point Marine, and later a popular WRAL-TV personality, having hosted “Teenage Frolics” for many years.
Ms. Lewis-Holley has 25 years of state government experience, and a long history of community involvement.
On her website, as in candidate forum appearances and radio interviews, Lewis-Holley promises to be attentive to the needs of House District 38 if elected, and responsive.
“My promise to my community is that I will listen to you!” she writes. “Tell me what your ideas on how to make our community better. I will make our conversation easy because I intend to communicate through regular community meetings, via my website, Face Book, and through monthly newsletters.”
Lewis-Holley continued, “I will keep you informed on legislative issues that require your attention and involvement. I will work with other state leaders from the area to discuss ways to maximize our effectiveness. I intend to listen to you, the community, to identify problems and explore avenues that will pinpoint solutions.”
Because she is a Southeast Raleigh native, it was no surprise this week when Lewis-Holley garnered the endorsements of both the Raleigh-Wake Citizens Association and the Wake County Voters Coalition.
On the issues, like her opponents Abeni El-Amin and Lee Sartain, Ms. Lewis-Holly sees job creation and improvements in public education as top priorities for District 38, as well as the state.
On jobs, Lewis-Holly says if elected, she’ll “work to ensure the necessary resources are available for the community college system to effectively offer educational opportunities for upgrading job skills and retraining displaced workers in areas of emerging technology and sustainable energy.”
On education, Lewis-Holley says she’s, “…committed to ensuring that a superior educational environment for all students supercedes political conversations, and will work to address such critical issues as tuition hikes, student retention and job retraining.”
For more information about her campaign, visit www.yvonnelewisholley.com.
Tulsa Shootings Evoke Memories of ‘Black Wall Street’
By Lee A. Daniels
Special to the NNPA from TheDefendersOnline
The burials were completed Tuesday, April 17.
Bobby Clark, 54, Dannaer Fields, 49, and William Allen, 31, were all laid to rest by then, as the two wounded victims of the murderous, racially-driven rampage that terrorized the Tulsa, Oklahoma Black community on Good Friday continue their painful recovery.
I wrote “racially-driven” deliberately. Tulsa law enforcement officials have refused yet to define what drove 32-year-old Alvin L. Watts and 19-year-old Jacob C. England, who have been arrested and have confessed to the crime, to do it.
The two defendants were charged on Friday with three counts of first-degree murder, each charge carrying a maximum life sentence or the death penalty; two counts of shooting with intent to kill, which carries a maximum life sentence, and five count of malicious intimidation of harassment (hate crimes), each carrying a sentence of one year and a $1,00 fine.
Authorities are being properly cautious because their investigation isn’t complete.
But, for me, given that the five victims – none of whom Watts or England knew – are Black; that Watts is White; that England is a Native American who is said to have described himself as White; and that England used racial invective on his Facebook page to refer to the Black man he said killed his father two years ago, I’m willing to make that assertion.
One ironic facet of this tragedy is that Oklahoma authorities did not charge the man alleged to have killed England’s father because they determined that according to Oklahoma law he was justified in using deadly force to defend himself.
What has caught my attention in equal measure as the victims’ personal tragedies of this crime is the stunning historical event it recalls that 90 years ago destroyed the heart of Tulsa’s Black community and from which it has never recovered: the Greenwood race riot of 1921.
Over a day and a half at the cusp of May and June that year, White Tulsans used the pretext of a Black man being accused of the attempted rape of a White woman to lay waste to Greenwood. Some 10,000 Whites, abetted by Tulsa’s police force, shot, looted and burned their way through the 35-block district that had been so stuffed with businesses, hotels, restaurants and other entrepreneurial activity that among Blacks it was widely regarded as the “Black Wall Street.”
Indeed, Tulsa’s Negro Quarter, whose population comprised about 10 percent of the city as a whole, exemplified the zeal with which African Americans had rushed down all the pathways to success they could find in the decades after what many of them called The War for Negro Freedom. Its residents – which included the family of attorney B.C. Franklin, father of the famed historian John Hope Franklin – had shown themselves to be shrewd and resourceful in building a place that bustled with restaurants, hotels and shops of all sorts.
It was just that, however – success writ large and small – which provoked a venomous reaction. “the black prosperity caused resentment among poorer Whites,” wrote Jonathan Z. Larsen in the February 1997 issue of Civilization, “and the city elders worried that it was bad for the city’s image.”
In the turn-of-the-century America, in a city where, as Larsen noted, the Ku Klux Klan “had somewhat of a stranglehold,” on the city power structure, a prosperous Black community was not going to be long tolerated.
That May 31 to June 1, Greenwood’s prosperity, its life as the symbol and reality of Black Americans’ post-Civil War potential fulfilled, was extinguished: As many as 300 Black residents were killed (two Whites died; one from a heart attack watching the riot); 1,256 homes and virtually every other building in Greenwood, including a hospital and a library, were destroyed. Many of those who survived the riot moved away, never to return, according to the Oklahoma Commission to Study the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, which in 2001 produced an exhaustive report on the riot and its aftermath
Not all Whites behaved abominably. The American Red Cross aid to the riot’s victim was “a model of human behavior at its best,” the commission report said, and some White Tulsans and those from surrounding towns aided in providing for the thousands of Black Tulsans who had been left homeless.
What happened to Greenwood was the manifestation of the perverse racist principle that shadowed Black Americans’ lives until the mid-1960s: The White majority disdained Blacks because, it said, they were lazy, shiftless, stupid, spendthrift and immoral. But in the decades between the end of the Civil War and World War II, when Blacks proved again and again they were industrious, thrifty, moral and patriotic, whites hated them more – and they often took violent action to try to put blacks back in their “place.”
The Wilmington, North Carolina race riot of 1898.
The Atlanta, Georgia riot of 1906.
The Ossian Sweet murder trial of 1925.
The Shelley v Kraemer restrictive covenants case decided by the Supreme Court in 1948.
The foundation of these and many of racial events was what drove the pogrom that destroyed Greenwood: envy of and anger at a people whose success refuted the assertion that they were inferior.
White Tulsa refused to acknowledge the Greenwood riot for decades. Indeed, city and state authorities had initially refused to provide any funds to rebuild the area. It was not mentioned in the schools’ history curriculum. It was buried deep in the city records. Even into the late 1980s many white Tulsa residents had never heard of it. That changed due to the agitation of Blacks and White committed to bringing the story to light. State officials created the Tulsa race riot commission. and recommended a $12 million reparations fund be established to disburse payments to the direct survivors of the riot – who then numbered 80 – and fund development projects throughout the Tulsa Black community.
Last year the city commemorated the 90th anniversary of the riot. A newspaper report noted that some righting of the historical wrong has occurred. The Greenwood riot will be taught in the city’s public schools beginning this year. Various civic monuments and plaques around the city mark the history of the Greenwood Black community.
But the article also pointed out that, despite the Commission’s extensive documentation of lives lost and property destroyed in Greenwood, all legislative and legal attempts advocating reparations have failed. “[No] payments were ever delivered for what was lost.”
Isn’t that – the continuing injustice – the most powerful legacy of the Greenwood race riot?
Zimmerman Remains in Custody
Investigators Say Shooter ‘Profiled’ Trayvon Martin
By George E. Curry
WASHINGTON (NNPA) – Two investigators working for Florida Special Prosecutor Angela Corey in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin have filed court documents saying George Zimmerman, who was arrested last week, “profiled” the Black youth in Sanford, Fla.
Zimmerman, who had been free since killing Martin on Feb. 26, turned himself in the authorities last Wednesday and was immediately charged with second-degree murder, which could land him a life sentence.
He appeared in court for the first time Thursday before Judge Mark E. Herr in Sanford, answering “Yes, sir” to two basic questions about the charges filed against him. Zimmerman, 28, is scheduled to appear back in court on May 29 at which time he is expected to plead not guilty.
The case has sparked international interest and protests. Initially, Zimmerman was questioned by police and released after he claimed to be acting under Florida’s Stand Your Ground law that provides broad protection for people claiming to be acting in self-defense. It took 45 days –and constant pressure from Martin’s family and angered protestors – to get a special prosecutor appointed to handle the case. The local prosecutor assigned to the case did not file charges against Zimmerman, but turned the case over to a grand jury.
However, Special Prosector Angela Corey halted that process and filed second-degree murder charges against Zimmerman.
An affidavit of probable cause filed in connection with the second-degree murder charge shed further light on evidence collected by the special prosecutor prior to filing formal charges against Zimmerman, who has a White father and a Latino mother.
“On Sunday 2/26/12, Trayvon Martin was temporarily living at the Retreat at Twin Lakes, a gated community in Sanford, Seminole County, Florida,” said the affidavit filed by the investigators, T.C. O’Steen and Dale Gilbreath. “That evening Martin walked to a nearby 7-11 store where he purchased a can of iced tea and a bag of skittles [sic]. Martin then walked back to the townhouse where he was living when he was profiled by George Zimmerman. Martin was unarmed and was not committing a crime.”
Amplifying on the profiling claim, the investigators explained, “Zimmerman who also lived in the gated community, and was driving his vehicle observed Martin and assumed Martin was a criminal. Zimmerman felt Martin did not belong in the gated community and called the police. Zimmerman spoke with to the dispatcher and asked for an officer to respond because Zimmerman perceived that Martin was acting suspicious. The police dispatcher informed Zimmerman that an officer was on the way and to wait for the officer.”
The investigators noted that Zimmerman made reference to people he felt had committed break-ins and gotten away, saying “these —holes, they always get away” and “these f–king punks.”
Unlike Sanford police, who have been strongly criticized for the way they have handled the investigation, the special prosecutor’s investigators spoke with Trayvon’s girlfriend, who had been talking with him on the phone shortly before his death.
“During this time, Martin was on the phone with a friend and described to her what was happening,” the investigators stated. “The witness advised that Martin was scared because he was being followed through the complex by an unknown male and didn’t know why. Martin attempted to run home but was followed by Zimmerman who didn’t want the person he falsely assumed was going to commit a crime to get away before the police arrived. Zimmerman got out of his vehicle and followed Martin. When the police dispatcher realized Zimmerman’s was pursuing Martin, he instructed Zimmerman not to do that and that the responding officer would meet him. Zimmerman disregarded the police dispatcher and continued to follow Martin who was trying to return to his home.”
The affidavit continued, “Zimmerman confronted Martin and a struggle ensued. Witnesses heard people arguing and what sounded like a struggle. During this time period witnesses heard numerous called for help and some of these were recorded in 911 calls to police. Trayvon Martin’s mother has reviewed the 911 calls and identified the voice crying for help as Trayvon martin’s voice.
“Zimmerman shot Martin in the chest. When police arrived Zimmerman admitted shooting Martin. Officers recovered a gun from a holster inside Zimmerman’s waistband. A fired casing that was recovered at the scene was determined to have been fired from the firearm.”
Some legal experts were surprised that Special Prosecutor Angela Corey filed murder rather than manslaughter charges against Zimmerman.
Murder requires prosecutors to prove that Zimmerman intended to kill Martin. On the other hand, manslaughter is associated with accidental deaths.
Michael Grieco, a defense attorney and former felony division chief for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, told the Orlando Sentinel that he very surprised that second-degree murder charges were filed against Zimmerman. He said, “It’s a stretch charge.”
However, those commenting on the case are not privy to what evidence the prosecution may have gathered in investigating the case.
A source close to the case told the NNPA News Service that under Florida law, a jurors will be given instructions by the judge that will allow them to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder or a lesser charge of manslaughter, which is punishable by 15 years plus another 15 years because Trayvon Martin was a minor. The murder charge carries a maximum life sentence.
“The jury can convict of a lesser charge, but had she charged Zimmerman with manslaughter, they would not have been able to increase the punishment,” the source said.
As supporters of both Martin and Zimmerman attempted to tone down emotions surrounding the case, a top official of the Southern Baptist Convention created a controversy by describing the behavior of President Obama and some civil rights leaders supporting Trayvon as “shameful.”
The official, Richard Land, said President Obama, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson “poured gasoline on the racialist fires.” According to the Associated Press, Land said the leaders were trying to use the case “to try to gin up the black vote for an African American president who is in deep, deep, deep trouble for re-election.”
Land’s comment will not help repair the image of the organization that supported slavery and segregation. Rev. Fred Luter is expected to become the first Black president of the Southern Baptist Convention at its annual meeting in June. But some Black pastors say that even with Luter expected election, the group still has difficulty shedding its racist past.
TRIANGLE NEWS BRIEFS
SHAW UNIVERSITY REOPENS STUDENT CENTER ON TORNADO ANNIVERSARY
On the first anniversary of the April 16 destructive tornado that badly damaged six buildings on campus, putting in doubt whether the school would reopen in the fall of 2011, Shaw University administrators, staff and students gathered Monday to commemorate the singular event in the school’s history. They also formally reopened the Willie E. Gary Student Union, the building that sustained some of the worse damage from the storm. St. Augustine’s College crosstown also sustained significant damage to its campus during that storm.
MORE ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENT - TRIANGLE HOMES SALES UP 20%
In what could be a sign of more economic improvement, homes sales in the Triangle area are up this first quarter 20 percent over what they were in April 2010, say housing analysts and local realtors. They credit that to sure signs of slow recovery. However, experts are also bracing themselves for a new wave of home foreclosures, throwing the region’s market into a tailspin. Plus housing construction has slowed, lessening new housing inventory.
“IRON MAN 3” CASTING CALL ATTRACTS THOUSANDS TO RALEIGH
Thousands of would-be movie extras crowded Crabtree Valley Mall last Saturday for the chance to be considered for “Iron Man 3,” the third film in the Marvel super hero series starring Robert Downey Jr., scheduled to be filmed in Wilmington starting next month. The open casting call attracted a cross-section of people, who lined up and waited hours for their chance to impress producers. The film is expected to open in 2013.
STATE NEWS BRIEFS
NC DEMOCRATIC PARTY EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR RESIGNS; CHAIR REFUSES
[RALEIGH] Amid allegations of sexual harassment, Jay Parmley, the executive director of the NC Democratic Party, resigned Sunday, saying in his parting letter that he has never harassed anyone, in any of his jobs. NC Democratic Party Chair David Parker, who was also under fire after allegations that he authorized the hush money to the alleged victim, accepted Parmley’s resignation, saying there were no grounds for it. Top Democratic elected officials, including Gov. Beverly Perdue, called on Parker to resign on Tuesday, but he refused. The scandal has Democrats nervous, given that in September, the Democratic National Convention is coming to Charlotte for the re-nomination of President Barack Obama.
BEST BUY CLOSES FORTY STORES NATIONALLY; TWO IN NC
[MONROE] In an effort not to go under like electronics retailer Circuit City did several years ago, Best Buy Stores is closing over 40 retail outlets nationwide by early May, with two of them in Monroe and Rocky Mount. The company is restructuring, opening smaller stores in the future. Employees at the affected stores have been notified.
ALL-WHITE JURIES CONVICT BLACKS MORE TIMES THAN NOT, SAYS DUKE STUDY
If a Duke University study of all-white jury pools in Florida is to be believed, black defendants were convicted 16 percent more with all-white juries than comparable white defendants. Duke Economics Prof. Patrick Bayer, the senior author of the study, says the evidence is clear that the racial makeup of juries do have an impact on what the verdict will be in a capital case.
At their meeting on Monday, April 16, the Wake County Voter Education Coalition voted to endorse the following candidates in the 2012 Election:
President Barack Obama
H2 - Toni Morris - Dem
H4 - David Price - Dem
H13 - Bernard A. Holliday - Dem
N.C. Governor - Bob Etheride - Dem
N.C. Lt. Governor - Linda D. Coleman - Dem
N.C. Attorney General - Roy Cooper - Dem
N.C. Auditor - Beth Wood - Dem
N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture - Scott Bryant - Dem
N.C. Commissioner of Insurance - Wayne Goodwin - Dem
N.C. Commissioner of Labor - Marlowe Foster - Dem
N.C. Secretary of State - Elaine Marshall
N.C. Superintendent of Public Instruction - June Atkinson - Dem
N.C. Treasurer - Janet Cowell - Dem
S14 - Dan Blue - Dem
S15 - Sig Hutchinson - Dem
S16 - Josh Stein - Dem
S17 - Erv Portman - Dem
S18 - Doug Berger - Dem
H11 - Duane Hall - Dem
H33 - Rosa Gill - Dem
H34 - Deborah K. Ross - Dem
H35 - Lori B. Millberg - Dem
H36 - Charles McDarris - Dem
H37 - Jason Ora Wunsch - Dem
H38 - Yvonne Lewis Holley - Dem
H39 - Don Mial - Dem
H40 - William (Watt) Jones - Dem
H41 - Jim Messina - Dem
H49 - Keith Karlsson - Dem
County Commissioner - D4 - Caroline Sullivan - Dem
County Commissioner - D5 - James West - Dem
County Commissioner - D6 - Betty Lou Ward - Dem
Register of Deeds - Laura M. Riddick - Rep
Supreme Court Associate Justice - Sam J. Ervin IV
Court of Appeals Judge - Linda McGee
Court of Appeals Judge - Wanda Bryant
Court of Appeals Judge - Cressie Thigpen
Superior Court Judge - District 10B - Michael (Mike) R. Morgan
Superior Court Judge - District 10D - Donald W. Stephens
Superior Court Judge - District 10E - Abe Jones
District Court Judge - D10 - Monica M. Bousman
District Court Judge - D 10 - Jacqueline Brewer
District Court Judge - D 10 - Eric Craig Chasse
District Court Judge - D 10 - Lori G. Christian
District Court Judge - D 10 - Damion McCullers
District Court Judge - D 10 - Jennifer Miller Green
District Court Judge - D 10 - Jennifer Knox
District Court Judge - D 10 - Robert B. Rader
District Court Judge - D 10 - Debra Sasser
District Court Judge - D 10 - Christine Walczyk
District Court Judge - D 10 - Anna Elena Worley
The Coalition voted AGAINST Amendment One.
RWCA/M-PAC endorses in the following contested races in the primary elections:
2nd District Toni Morris
13th District Bernard A. Holiday
NC Governor Bob Etheridge
NC Lieutenant Governor Linda D. Coleman
NC Commissioner of Agriculture Scott Bryant
NC Commissioner of Labor Marlowe Foster
NC Treasurer Janet Cowell
NC House of Representatives
District 33 Rosa Gill
District 38 Yvonne Lewis Holley
District 39 Donald W. Mial
NC District Court Judges
District 10 (Gray Seat) Damion McCullers
District 10 (Worley Seat) Anna Elena Worley
Constitutional Amendment One AGAINST
CASH IN THE APPLE
By Cash Michaels
WHAT A MESS - The Secret Service scandal, and make no mistake about it, it IS a scandal, is one of the stupidest things I ever heard of.
Secret Service agents, preparing for President Obama’s visit to Columbia for an international summit, reportedly decide to hire some local prostitutes, and then don’t pay one of them, thus causing a major international incident like never before in the Secret Service’s history.
I don’t think there’s any question that security clearances were breached, because the hotel that the alleged tryst had taken place had been secured by the Secret Service. Bringing unauthorized personnel into the hotel was stupid, and a risk.
I also agree that the agents allegedly involved opened themselves up big time to blackmail, especially the ones who were married.
What the hell were these guys thinking.
I mean besides that.
Most Americans agree with the president - have this investigated to the nines, have every detailed confirmed since this deals with at least eleven agents careers, and if what we’re hearing is indeed true, then don’t demote them, can them. Let them all become highway patrolmen or something.
Just get them off the Secret Service. They not only protect our president, but sense they work for the US Treasury Dept., they also protect our money.
We need better than this on board.
OH NO, T.J. - I’m sure you remember T.J. Holmes, former CNN weekend anchor, now scheduled to be working at Black Entertainment Television. When the new hit a few months ago that TJ was going to BET, there was a cheer. The channel that cornered the market for airing booty-shaking black rap videos, hasn’t had a serious news division in a long time, and it was hoped that Holmes was the first step in that right direction.
But alas, we were all wrong.
If a Huffington Post story from last week is to be believed, TJ’s new show on BET will be a comic look at the news, very similar to what Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher do.
So BET hired an actual journalist to do comedy.
Stewart, Colbert and Maher are NOT journalists, and never were.
How is the audience supposed to take Holmes when a serious story, like say the 2012 presidential elections, require him to play it straight? I understand the need to make money, but you do that by doing the best work possible.
Stewart, Colbert and Maher are brilliant at what they do, which is taking a satirical look at the news and famous people.
Holmes is supposed to be a newsman, and yet he’s going to compromise that in order to play to his ego, an make a buck.
Oh, we forgot to give you the name of the trainwreck of a show we’re told will premiere in a few months.
The name - “Don’t Sleep With T.J. Holmes.”
I smell big time failure already!
Read the official BET announcement:
DON’T SLEEP WITH T.J. HOLMES is a fresh new voice joining the ranks of Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert and Bill Maher. T.J. Holmes gives you a good reason to stay up late. With hilarious “correspondents,” T.J.’s sure to have viewers rolling with laughter over the absurdity of today’s hot-button issues. Speaking through a unique and smart African American filter, T.J. invites the community to wake up on the issues that affect them; don’t sleep on the stories that mainstream news outlets won’t cover. The show will also open ears with captivating, unexpected musical performances. DON’T SLEEP WITH T.J. HOLMES reports with keen focus to keep Black America engaged and in the know.
Oh Lord, please spare us this indignity.
Now many of you are probably saying, “Come on, give TJ and his show a chance.”
OK, I will, and it better be good!
MAKING JUSTICE PREVAIL - It was good to see last week, after over 40 days since the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, that the first step towards justice finally being done was taken when George Zimmerman was charged with second-degree murder, arrested and jailed.
There’s only one reason why this happened - millions of people, online and in the streets, mobilized to demand justice, and pressure the state of Florida to do the right thing by taking another look at Trayvon’s case after police failed to arrest his killer.
So for all of you who marched, signed petitions, prayed, took to Facebook, donated money, defended Trayvon and his family, and just stuck by the cause…thank you.
You’re caring made the difference. The job isn’t done yet. The process leading up to the trial which may take place by the end of the year, must be monitored carefully. And prayers are still needed for the family and their attorneys.
So let’s all stay on the job.
THE RISE OF THE “BLACK KLAN” - The conservative Washington Times newspaper had a completely ignorant story online last week, written by a well-known member of the anti-Obama birther crowd (these folks just refuse to give up, they hate him so much). The story, titled, “The Rise of the Black Klan” warns that people like the New Black Panthers and Rev. Jeremiah Wright, in addition to Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton, should not be allowed to protest or agitate when important issues spring up, because if they are, they will cause a national race war.
These dummies are thinker than the bottom of my shoe.
No question that the New Black Panthers talk lots of fiery yang. They always have. They made famous their version of the Black National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” by adding the lines, “Yes, but also, lift ev’ry FIST, and SWING!”
But the New Black Panthers, unlike the original Black Panthers of Oakland, Ca. and elsewhere during the sixties who assassinated police officers and got into shootouts, haven’t laid a hand on anybody.
The same can be said of Rev. Jeremy Wright, former pastor of President and Mrs. Obama.
Rev. Wright is s firebreathing minister, no doubt. But he’s dangerous because he tells it as he sees it, not because he propagates violence.
Again, the man isn’t responsible for one human hair on one human head to have been harmed.
But there are those on the right salivating for something to happen, and seizing on the tragic Trayvon Martin case gave them that opportunity.
Even dummer-than-my-show Bill O’Reilly wants Rev. Al Sharpton to apologize for…WHAT…causing enough of a ruckus to finally get Florida officials to arrest George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin case.
Apparently, O’Reilly believes that black leaders should only lead when given permission, and speak when spoken to.
If this weren’t a family newspaper, my answer would be succinct and to the point, as I’m sure you could imagine.
Now, did the New Black Panthers put a $10,000 bounty on the ehad of George Zimmerman? Yes, and it was wrong. From the beginning, Trayvon’s parents said they wanted the criminal justice system in Florida to handle it, not vigilante justice.
And many of us joined them in that call.
What folks like O’Reilly and Fox News, and the Washington Times are trying to pull is scare enough people into believing that black leaders are getting too big for their britches, once again, so that they can then smear Pres. Obama with it.
Because there is nothing they want more than Barack Obama out of the White House.
Make sure you tune in every Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. for my talk radio show, ''Make It Happen'' on Power 750 WAUG-AM, or online at www.myWAUG.com. And read more about my thoughts and opinions exclusively at my new blog, ‘The Cash Roc” (http://thecashroc.blogspot.com/2011/01/cash-roc-begins.html). I promise it will be interesting.
Cash in the Apple - honored as the Best Column Writing of 2006 by the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Columnist Cash Michaels was also honored by the NNPA for Best Feature Story Journalist of 2009, and was the recipient of the Raleigh-Apex NAACP’s President’s Award for Media Excellence in Sept. 2011.
Until next week, keep a smile on your face, GOD in your heart, and The Carolinian in your life. Bye, bye.