July 16, 2013
SACRAMENTO – July 16, 2013 – The California Legislative Black Caucus (CLBC) today strongly urged demonstrators protesting the not guilty verdicts handed down by a Sanford, Florida jury in the Trayvon Martin shooting death trial to express themselves in a peaceful, nonviolent manner that respects the rights, freedoms and quality of life of California’s residents, business owners and neighborhoods.
Holly J. Mitchell, CLBC Chair and 54th District Assemblymember, said, “This is a time for clear thinking and peaceful protest, not the destruction of property or harm to residents in their communities. Violence in our communities as a form of protest of the jury’s not guilty verdict for George Zimmerman does not honor the memory of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed teenager who lost his life in an prejudiced environment that started with racial profiling and ended with gun violence. No young person should die as Trayvon did, but we must be calm, deliberate and purposeful in our protest, and most of all, we must be nonviolent.”
Ms. Mitchell said the CLBC formally calls upon organizations to make a peaceful expression of protest in Trayvon Martin’s memory by boycotting Florida conventions and conferences.
“We can send the Sunshine State a message by refusing to patronize Florida. We can use a nationwide boycott of Florida as our reasoned reaction to the injustice we feel as Americans when an innocent teen on his way home is trailed, apprehended and gunned down by an armed security guard in a housing development, and then found by a trial jury to be not guilty of second degree murder. It should be a long time before any of us feel remotely comfortable considering Florida as a destination for business or pleasure,” Ms. Mitchell said.
Ms. Mitchell said the CLBC intends to send a letter to the leadership of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and National Black Caucus of State Legislators (NBCSL) to inform the two political groups of the CLBC’s position on the Sanford jury verdict in the Trayvon Martin case and solicit their support of the CLBC’s call for a Florida convention boycott.
Ms. Mitchell said the CLBC would send a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urging the Justice Department to conduct a thorough civil rights review of the actions by George Zimmerman in the Trayvon Martin shooting, including all evidence presented at Mr. Zimmerman’s trial.
“We will not remain silent in the face of injustice. We will use our collective influence to seek change and results in our attempt to prevent another innocent teenager from losing his life as Trayvon Martin did. Next Month, on August 28, the CLBC will support Assemblymember Shirley Weber’s State Capitol legislative hearing on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington to further explore the circumstances surrounding Trayvon Martin’s death and examine George Zimmerman’s murder trial and not guilty verdict as we seek to frame our understanding of justice in America in 2013,” Ms. Mitchell said.