A wake up call to vote

trayvon rally

Nothing can bring 17-year-old Trayvon Martin back to life for his family and the nation. But Trayvon lives in the remarkable outpouring of sorrow and outrage demanding justice in the case. 

The image and horror of this young African American man's murder while walking peacefully home from the store in Sanford, Fla., is galvanizing a new anti-racist movement in the country. 

In days, a million and a half people signed the petition by his parents, and students demonstrated on campuses in Florida calling for arrest of the gunman and a federal investigation.  The federal Department of Justice has stepped in.

This shooting did not take place in a vacuum.  The escalation of racism and bigotry throughout the Republican presidential primaries has created a dangerous climate. Right-wing talk show hosts are fanning the flames. Glen Beck calls Trayvon Martin "the aggressor," just as Rush Limbaugh called    Sandra Fluke "a slut" when she testified to congress on behalf of the right to contraception, also being met by large scale protests.

In East Haven, Conn., it was an Obama appointee to the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department whose investigation into racial profiling of Latino immigrants resulted in the arrest of four police officers and the resignation of the chief.  The investigation is ongoing.

Republicans have blocked Obama's judicial nominees just as they have rammed through new laws in many states making it more difficult to vote in an attempt to disenfranchise those most likely to vote for Barack Obama.

Justice for Trayvon Martin is interconnected with the presidential, congressional and state elections.

The appeal by the NAACP to the United Nations Human Rights Council for oversight of the elections in our country follows in the steps of the "We Cry Genocide" petition presented to the United Nations in 1951 by the Civil Rights Congress, which exposed the lynch terror in the South.

It took the massive organizing and marching of the multiracial civil rights movement in the 1960s to break through and win the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. These victories came with strong support from the unions, which recognized that the enemies of Civil Rights in Congress also voted consistently against the rights of working people.

This labor-civil rights alliance is even stronger today, as seen in the recent re-enactment of the Civil Rights March from Selma to Montgomery, which was a dramatic call for a new civil rights movement to organize and get out the vote to preserve and expand those rights that have been won.

The racist and anti-woman ideological offensive is a major challenge to unity and the outcome of this election. The Republican program to end Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and even public education and reverse the gains of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts would hurt all working people.

There are some who dismiss corporate tea party extremism as too far over the top to win election. It would be shortsighted to take the outcome of November's vote for President and Congress and State Houses for granted. Huge sums of money and shameless distortions and lies can prevail unless there is a groundswell voter turnout.

The shooting of Traynor Martin is a wake up call for justice.

Justice for Trayvon Martin begins with an investigation of the role of the police and the prosecution of his killer. Beyond that, in the name of Trayvon Martin, a crusade to break through undemocratic barriers to voting and to bring out the largest voter turnout ever can be the most powerful answer to the engrained racism and anti-woman policies of the extreme right-wing that give rise to such tragedies.

The combination of 4 million union members being mobilized to speak with their co-workers and neighbors, alongside similar efforts by the NAACP, Planned Parenthood, Youth Vote and many others can set the stage for rejecting a racist, anti-woman program and opening the door for government to play its role on behalf of human rights and people's needs.

Photo: Roberto Gonzalez/AP

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  • Although President Obama passed some rights and social legislation they are miniscule compared to what he could have done. The fact is that Obama is the same as the last president, a puppet of the fascist capitalist American oligarchy. He murdered thousand of innocent men, women and children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, among others. Add to this the toll on the young of this country, many of them forced by the lack of jobs in this country, who are sent by Obama to crommit those evil crimes.

    Posted by Juan Hernandez, 04/18/2012 9:44pm (2 years ago)

  • These "Stand Your Ground" laws are essentially a new kind of Lynch Law, enabling White Citizens to use their own "judgement" (and a gun) to "defend" what ever they decide is their "Way of Life" against "the other."
    There is a sickness in the land, especially, but not limited to, the Southern part of it...

    Posted by Mike Olszanski, 04/02/2012 12:20pm (2 years ago)

  • I am with the petition for justice for trayvon martin i myself have two black teen children i dont want this to happen to another child my heart and prayers go out to his family...w as black people must stand up for justice ...

    Posted by Tanya West, 03/23/2012 9:53pm (2 years ago)

  • So gratifying it is to see the "We Charge Genocide" petition in these windows and so meet.
    That the N A A C P's appeal to the United Nations Human Rights Council is in step with this, as pointed up in this excellent article, it is also in tune with the best traditions envisioned by one of its founders, the Communist, W. E. B. Du Bois, always stressing worker's internationalism in the struggle for African American liberation.
    The murder of Trayvon Martin is an indice of the genocide that Communist, William L. Patterson, and human rights activist Paul Robeson presented to the United Nations, that international arena for justice, in 1951-and unspeakably a genocide as true today as it was over 60 years ago.
    The impetus of the largely Communist inspired activity of the historic Civil Rights Congress, as historian Norman Markowitz recently printed in these windows, has heavily contributed to affirmative action law and policy, including the Voting Rights Act, and the Civil Rights Act.
    Along with this, the sterling activity and legal work of U. S. Senator Charles Sumner, during the Civil War era and aftermath, have paved the way for progressive policy and law, to preclude racist and unlawful institutional activity in the U. S. criminal justice system, and in North American society and life in general.
    The real test, however is the conscious citizen behavior of those who stand to lose much if not all on 6 November 2012.
    Those people are all who labor for a living, all unionists, all the unemployed, all youth, all elderly, all differently abled, all people of color, independent of sex.
    What a time it is to strike a major blow against the ingrained racism of decades and decades, to turn back the fascistic tea party, to protect the elderly with Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare, our workers with unemployment insurance, and our youth, like Trayvon, with the right to walk, to vote, to live and breath free, on this American soil, beyond 2012.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 03/23/2012 3:34pm (2 years ago)

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