Many black folks worry that Zimmerman could be acquitted if the jury is comprised of racially-insensitive residents.
They have grounds for concern.
Ironically, on the day the Martins appeared at the NAN conference in New York, a Florida police officer quit after making a racist remark while discussing the Trayvon Martin shooting case with fellow officers.
Police Lt. Ron Johnson retired after saying “This is why they should be drowned at birth,” referring to black people. Johnson made his remarks during a police briefing in February.
But inside the First Corinthians Baptist Church in Harlem on Saturday, at the final workshop during the NAN conference, a distinguished panel of African American leaders talked about a modern-day social justice campaign, “Measuring the Movement,” that has also embraced Sabrina and Tracy Martin.
Moderated by Rev. Al Sharpton, panelists included Marc Morial, president of the National Urban League, Rev. Jesse Jackson; Roslyn Brock, chair of the NAACP’s national board of directors; Melanie Campbell, President & CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation; and Dr. Lezli Baskerville, President & CEO, National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education.
“We can’t relax and act like the struggle is over or we’ll end up worse than when we started,” said Sharpton, who reminded the audience that Saturday’s conference was being held on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s historic March on Washington.
Meanwhile, Brock told the audience that she’s concerned about too many young black students dropping out of college and black men and women disproportionately dying from AIDS. She also said there are too many black men dying from urban gun violence.
Brock said black Americans are quick to protest when police shoot innocent black men, “but when we turn guns on ourselves, we have to have the same outrage.”
I hope Brock’s message resonates with black people everywhere.