Vol. 7    No. 6
MARCH 22, 2012

The Capital City Hues
(608) 241-2000
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EDITORIAL STAFF

Jonathan Gramling
Publisher & Editor

Clarita G. Mendoza
Sales Manager

Contributing Writers
Rita Adair, Ike Anyanike, Paul
Barrows, Alfonso Zepeda
Capistran, Theola Carter, Fabu,
Andrew Gramling, Lang Kenneth
Haynes, Eileen Cecille Hocker,
Heidi Pascual,  & Martinez White
Reflections/Jonathan Gramling
                    Trayvon Martin and Voting
Like many people across this great land, I was shocked, enraged and mystified by the events surrounding
the murder of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida as the details became known. I couldn’t believe —
although African American history makes it all too believable, remember Emmett Till — that an unarmed
African American young man carrying a container of ice tea and some Skittles that he had recently bought
at a convenience store — name one kid who hasn’t done that — was gunned down as he went to his
father’s home.

The photos that I have seen of Trayvon make him look very innocent, but that isn’t the point. And African
American youth should be able to walk home no matter what he/she looks like without being accosted by a
stranger who has “deputized” himself to look after the neighborhood. Trayvon had as much right to be
there as George Zimmerman, his murderer, did. He had committed no crime. He carried no weapon —
concealed or not concealed. And he was simply going home.

From the accounts that I have read, George Zimmerman was tripping in two ways. First, he had an
ambition to be in law enforcement and seemed to be fantasizing and imagining himself to be a law
enforcement officer through his role as a member of the neighborhood watch program. To watch and
report “suspicious characters” is one thing. To get out of one’s car with a concealed weapon, call 911,
which told Zimmerman to let the police handle it, pursue and accost the individual, get into a tussle and
then shoot the unarmed individual is quite another thing. George Zimmerman was tripping.

Zimmerman was also tripping because he had mentioned in another 911 call that the suspicious-looking
African American youth he reported on had always gotten away. Nowhere does it say that these African
American youth had done anything wrong other than walk in an area where George Zimmerman felt they
shouldn’t be. It sure seems that African American youth, because of what they were, would always be
suspicious in George Zimmerman’s eyes. And they always got away according to Zimmerman’s own
testimony.

Well it sure seems that this time, Zimmerman was bound and determined not to let “them” get away. It
seems to me that Zimmerman accosted Martin and sought to detain him until the police arrived, got more
than he bargained for in the resulting scuffle, drew his gun and shot Martin while Martin was begging for
his life.

Zimmerman may have feared for his life and felt that he was acting in self-defense. But it was the fear of
the stereotypes of African American young men that Zimmerman was afraid of and not the previous
actions of Martin who was only trying to get home with his Skittles. Zimmerman had no right to pursue and
accost Martin, not to speak of shoot him.

Yet Zimmerman — and initially the police — feels that he is innocent because of the ‘Stand Your Ground’
law in Florida that allows people to shoot another — without trying to flee. It sure sounds like this could be
open season on Black folks in Florida and other places when an African American is present where
someone else doesn’t feel they have the right to be. That sure does have the look and feel of the 1920s
when African American men were lynched for even looking at a white woman.

And this brings me around also to the need for African Americans and other people of color to become
civically engaged and vote. It does matter who gets elected to public office. It does matter who is making
decisions and passing laws like the concealed-carry law, which is also a tragedy waiting to happen.

Many voters were asleep when Governor Scott Walker was elected in November 2010. And he and other
Tea Party Republicans took power and did away with most public sector collective bargaining. And now
how many classrooms have gotten more crowded because Walker cut $1.6 billion biennially out of public
education and how many tens of thousands will be dropped from BadgerCare. And how many thousands
of voters — voters of color, seniors and rural folks — will be effectively barred from voting because of
the Voter ID law? And how many of you feel as if you are a guest in someone else’s house when you
visit the State Capitol instead of coming to the house that tax dollars paid for?

I could go on and on about the stark measures that have been enacted in the name of austerity and job
creation. Will a woman’s right to choose be curtailed as well? As powerful economic forces seek to
transform Wisconsin and this nation into the likeness of a third world country with a small upper class,
almost non-existent middle class and the large majority in an economically uncertain lower class, people
need to wake up.

A part of the tragedy of Trayvon Martin’s murder is due to the disenfranchisement of many, many voters
of color in Florida because if the level of political participation of voters of color was proportional to their
numbers in the state, the ‘Stand You Ground’ legislation — which empowered George Zimmerman to act
on his fears — would have never made it into law.

All of us need to be socially conscious and exercise our right to vote. Those who came before us died for
the right to vote. Others who come after us may die because we fail to exercise it. Vote on April 3rd!
Worker’s Candidate
Mahlon Mitchell Enters the Lieutenant
Governor’s Race