Sunday, April 08, 2012

Anchorage NAACP Holds Rally For Justice For Trayvon Martin; National Polls Show Sharp Racial Divide In Perception Of The Case

Until now, the Trayvon Martin case had taken a back seat in Alaska to the Anchorage municipal election and the highly contentious Proposition 5, which failed authoritatively. The aftermath of the election, in which it was found that nearly half the precincts in the city (55 out of 119) ran out of ballots, has also claimed preferential public attention.

Until now. On April 7th, 2012, the Anchorage branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) held what they billed as a Rally for Justice for Trayvon Martin, although by the flyers they held up, it looks like they already made up their mind who to support -- and it ain't George Zimmerman. At least the NAACP has enough integrity to put a current photo of Martin on their flyers, and didn't use the "baby picture" so widely disseminated by the national media.

Although photo #3 in this Anchorage Daily News photo gallery only shows about 20 people present, an accompanying story reports 50 people showed up. To no one's surprise, the participants were overwhelmingly Black, although in photo #1, they prominently positioned two of the three token Whites visible to make it appear there was broader community support. KTVA Twitter reported that the participants were chanting "Justice For Trayvon" and "Kill HB80", the latter in reference to a bill that would expand the "stand your ground" principle to anywhere a person had a right to be.

Wanda V. Greene, NAACP Anchorage president, wanted to increase local awareness of the case because she believes it could happen here. She explained "People feel that justice has not been done. It has divided the nation. As far as the NAACP is concerned, we feel that justice has not been done in the Trayvon Martin case, all the way from the beginning to this point." Green also believes that HB80 could be misinterpreted and misunderstood, and could probably lead to the tragic deaths of needless other people. She also claimed it could open a more permissive attitude toward racial profiling. Two other community leaders identified as present at the rally include Rene Rouzan, who is the Youth Program Coordinator at the Alaska Native Justice Center, and Rev. Eric Jackson. Jackson's name is not found on the list of 85 pastors who signed a letter opposing Proposition 5; this is significant because many prominent Black religious leaders broke ranks with the NAACP on Prop. 5. Thus they might be less inclined to support a rally led by the NAACP unless it was over a local issue.

What's happening with the Martin case right now? The next steps in the Trayvon Martin case are unclear at this point. Florida's governor has appointed a special prosecutor to look into the case, and a grand jury is slated to review the case on Tuesday April 10th. The Feds have hinted that they might review the case as well. It is possible that Zimmerman will ultimately be arrested and will stand trial. An Examiner article echoes the concern that Sanford, Florida may be on the verge of race war. The New Black Panther Party marched on the city of Sanford on Saturday April 7th to lead the citizens in a program of Self Defense and Survival Training, in preparation for a National Day of Action & Absence to be held on April 9th and which, according to New Black Panther Party National Chairman Malik Zulu Shabazz, is to be characterized by no work, no school, and no shopping in the cause of justice for Trayvon and the immediate arrest of Zimmerman and charging him with the appropriate charges.

In response, the National Socialist Movement (NSM) says that their cadre will be leading armed patrols of up to 20 people to deter any Black violence against Whites. NSM Commander Jeff Schoep said that they're not advocating any type of violence or attacks on anybody, and are not even taking sides between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman, but they are prepared for the possibility of violence. He says the NSM are not the type of white people who are going to be walked all over. But the Sanford Joint Information Center is claiming they have not confirmed the presence of "Neo-Nazis" and have no indication of any such patrols by the NSM at this point in Sanford.

Two recent national polls indicate a yawning racial divide in perceptions about the case. A Gallup Poll taken from April 2-4 reveals the following:

-- 52 percent of Blacks are following the case very closely vs. 19 percent of non-Blacks.
-- 51 percent of Blacks think George Zimmerman is definitely guilty of a crime vs. 11 percent of non-Blacks.
-- 72 percent of Blacks think racial bias was a major factor in the shooting vs. 31 percent of non-Blacks.

A Pew Research Center poll taken March 29-April 1 indicates that 58 percent of Blacks are following the case most closely vs. 30 percent of Whites, and that while 43 percent of Whites say there's too much coverage of the case, only 16 percent of Blacks agree.

1 comment:

  1. Reading Left To Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust by Immaculee Ilibagiza. Wish all those who are falling for the racism acusations constantly thrown out would read it. The people in power use “racism” to divide and concure the people. The practice is very obvious in that book and is alive and thriving here in America. Very sad that many cannot see that truth.