Trayvon Martin’s Second Amendment Right(Poster)

A reflection of the "not guilty" verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, with a particular focus on the words of Don West when he remarked that Trayvon Martin had used "sidewalk" as a weapon.

 

This is a parody of Second Amendment Campaign Posters in favor of Trayvon Martin

 

Just felt the need to put that there in case some person stumbles across the site and does not understand my train of thought.

 

Of course, this minimalist style poster is a reflection of the “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, with a particular focus on the words of Don West when he remarked that Trayvon Martin had used “sidewalk” as a weapon.

 

I thought it was an interesting play on the themes that the US Democratic party(with Obama using Trayvon’s murder as a call for increased gun regulations) and the US Republican party(with their pundits screaming about 2nd Amendment violations, and their new found concern for Black violence in cities such as Chicago) have been impressing upon their respective constituencies and mindless flocks.

 

As you can see, I used the graphic of a concrete slab, Skittles, a Watermelon Arizona Ice Tea. I used these graphics to express idiocy of the concept that Trayvon Martin was armed and was in any way a threat to the life of George Zimmerman. Although, for most people that have been following the murder of Trayvon Martin, the arrest of George Zimmerman, the trail of George Zimmerman, and now the verdict and acquittal of George Zimmerman, these symbols should be readily available in the consciousness, but for those that might need to play catch up, I leave this here description.

 

Please feel free to comment with your thoughts about it, as well as downloading it(right click & “save as” on most laptops, and I have no clue how you do it on tablets, and touchscreens, but oh phukkking well…leave a comment and we will figure something out!). Per the usual, I thank you in advanced for your comments, and for taking time out of your day to stop by the Asylum.

Rachel Jeantel: Mad Broken English

“Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent, and our language—so the argument runs—must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to airplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.” – George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language”

 

On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Benjamin Martin was shot and killed by George Zimmerman. For those that spent the last seventeen months in solitary confinement, or aboard the International Space Station, Trayvon was returning home from a store carrying -what has now become the legendary details of this tragic event- a can of Arizona Iced Tea and a bag of Skittles when Zimmerman spotted him walking through the Sanford, Florida apartment complex where Trayvon’s father resided. Prior to Trayvon being shot with a Kel-Tec nine millimeter pistol loaded with hollow tip bullets, he was on a cell phone talking with his friend, Rachel “Dee Dee” Jeantel.

 

Rachel Jeantel was sworn in to testify in the second degree murder trial of George Zimmerman on June 26, 2013. While testifying, many people took to social media outlets to express their angst with the nineteen year old woman’s testimony. I was perturbed by how Black people responded to her demeanor and hesitance on the stand. In my own need to express my thoughts on the entire situation, I designed this poster using her image, quotes from her testimony, and entitled it, “Rachel DeeDee Jeantel, Mad Broken English”.

 

 

As a means of preemptive explanation for the title, as stated above, I was disturbed by how people immediately attacked the young sister for her choice of words. Now, I do not use the term “choice” loosely here. Rachel Jeantel was not on trial, nor did she want to be there. It might even be fair to say that her presence in the court that day was involuntary. I definitely feel safe writing that Rachel was obviously under duress while being asked to recall the elements of a phone call, the last conversation she had-or anybody else other than possibly George Zimmerman- with Trayvon , while being patronizingly interrogated in the standard Socratic method of these sorts of legal proceedings.

 

The crass and demeaning statements typed by many reflect a lack of empathy on the part of those that made these comments, rather than indicia of her lack of education or even social status. However, I do believe that her presentation touches on how many Black people in this country feel a sense of trepidation when other Blacks choose a more culturally authentic posture when in the White public eye. In the graphic I designed, I choose the symbol “MAD”, not to make Rachel yet another “Angry Black Woman” in the media, but rather to point to a certain righteous indignation that I believe most critiquing her choice of posture might be overlooking. Namely, that she was upset; namely, that she was frustrated; namely, she possibly saw defense attorneys Don West and Mark O’Mara as who they were: the people hired to defend the guy that killed her friend, Trayvon.

 

As part of the double consciousness of Blacks in the United States written extensively about by sociologist W.E.B. Dubois, is this need for US Blacks to feign reasonableness around White people, that is, to force a smile that has no roots in authentic emotional bearing. There is a socio-psychology that informs US Blacks to respond rebelliously when being handled by Whites, and others, in a design to oppose authority. Unfortunately, many US Blacks have a visceral intimidation of White authority, especially when that authority is derived from the US Justice System.

 

In the same cultural vein that young Black children show a disdain for the oppressive over culture by speaking to authority figures in more urban Black vernacular while dismissing the more approved of socialized version of English representation, I pose that also Ms. Jeantel chooses to use this voice. Rachel’s vitriol for the circumstance was semiologically reproduced via the attitude and the expressed symbols she evoked on that stand. She was not and is not the “angry Black woman,” but she is a rightfully, and understandably, angered woman who happens to be Black.

 

It should be noted at this point that according to Rachel’s attorney, Rod Vereen, Rachel speaks three languages. Besides English, which is her third language, she speaks Spanish(Her father is from the Dominican Republic) as well as Creole(her mother is Haitian). Yet, once again, it is not Rachel Jeantel on trial for murder, and I am battling perplexed feelings with regard to finding my Self defending a woman who has without a shadow of doubt endured tremendous traumatic stress. Not only am I disturbed by a certain collective lack of empathy, but on top of that, I am distraught by the reality of needing to explain to a group of people regarding their obliviousness to their own culture of resistance, no matter how symbolic and passive-aggressive one might define that culture of resistance.

 

This culture of resistance is reflective of the slave narratives of agency whereby the only means of fight some slaves felt they had was to break the dishes of their White slave masters. In the same artery of resistance where US Blacks began wearing their ball caps on their heads with the bill towards the back, and some even wearing their pants lower than what is the norm; in the same train of thought that promotes a social posture where speaking “proper” English is deemed as “acting White”, which is reflecting the culture that these people seek to escape or find some sort of power of their own from. Much of what is exhibited as US Black culture is an extension of counterculture, including a manifestation whereby one chooses to not speak English(the bastard language of bastard languages that anyone should feel ashamed of attaching the adjective “proper” or “standard” to) in a presumably acceptable manner, or more accurately, in a more “Black” fashion. Which, ironically, is what makes Rachel Jeantel’s choice of posture the more precise definition of proper use of a language because she did what language is supposed to do: communicate a thought.

 

Rachel Jeantel, the friend of Trayvon Martin whose murder caused many of the same people deriding this same friend to rally throughout the country, was faced with admitting to a national audience that she lied to her friend’s mother about her age, and the reason she decided not to show up at his funeral. While the scorners hurled assumption and insult at her, Rachel Jeantel sat in front her friend’s mother and recounted the details of the last possible conversation that woman’s son ever had. She recounted the details so vividly and with such a passion, that the defense attorneys at certain moments wanted her to repeat her statements. This request, mind you, was not due to what many fearful US Blacks would believe—that she was inarticulate and inaudible. No, it was because what she said and how she said it was revolutionary in such a setting. “Creepy ass cracka” boomed from the loudspeaker of her voice box and rattled the glass-like worldview of residential United States. “I just told you” was an intimidating, yet casual, reminder for some that the US Justice system really ought not to have the overt tones of supremacy, and that on the stand, no matter who has what degrees or titles, we are equals. Her power, her unique position in our minds that day, was not because we did not understand her, it was because via neck rolls, teenage disdain of authority, and Black teenage disdain of White authority, Rachel Jeantel not only stood her ground, she made us know exactly what she was talking about.

 

This idea of equality in the courtroom returned to my immediate consciousness on Friday, July 5, 2013 when Dr. Shiping Bao took the stand. Now, Dr. Bao, or as one highly educated woman typed, “the bad ass doctor”, is the man that performed the autopsy on Trayvon Martin after Trayvon was killed, placed in a bag, and marked as a “John Doe”. In a similar fashion to Rachel, Dr. Bao felt the need to express his vision for the jury. Dr. Bao demonstrated that he too has a belief about how the court system ought to work, and in his ideal world, probably mapped out somewhere in the corner of his now famous(or infamous) notes. It was his demeanor, his stature represented by his “100% confidence” and maybe the fact that he “reads many books”. Sure, this might have come off as a bit patronizing, but is not the Socratic method of asking series upon series of questions to elicit one’s point just as patronizing? And ultimately, is not the patronizing tone Rachel took towards the defense team of George Zimmerman, the more honest reason this burly, dark skinned woman asserting all of her authentic Black Womanness to a professional White man was attacked for? Dr. Bao was assailed by a few because he would not cooperate. His obvious intelligence – no matter that he spoke just as lightly at times as Rachel, and he speaks with an Asian corruption of “proper” English- and his job title, seem to have worked as a shield from attacks on his education, so most of those criticizing him just called him “crazy” or some derivative. But, ultimately, the determining quality that seems to have people in an uproar is Rachel and Dr. Bao’s desire to express them Selves how they chose as opposed to acquiescing to perceived courtroom decorum.

 

In saying all of that, I hope that the piece it Self was capable of communicating visually what it took me over one thousand and six hundred words to say. I chose a more modernist approach to the main illustration of Rachel, and the third layer of quotes. The layer of quotes it Self is almost art deco in font choice and treatment. I picked several quotes from her testimony that I felt would express her testimony and the elements of the testimony that made it controversial. For the title, I chose a more post-modern approach and an overt deconstructionist method. I played on the term “Bad” by using the term “Mad”, as stated above, I did not want this to be interpreted as Rachel Jeantel her Self being the “Angry Black Woman”, or to be confused with the stereotypes of Black women and “bad attitudes”, but more in the spirit of Black women that made statements that caused the media as an extension of government to dub them as “mad”. Further, as alluded to, my most prominent intent is to toy at the concept of “Bad English”, as if “English”, and the “English” have been anything but “Bad”. I felt that it was not “Bad English”, but mostly, “Mad English”, which if you have been following along, I seem to consider a beneficial thing. The treatment of the word “English” in this piece is to symbolize the already “broken” nature of “English” before most of us living today even became acquainted with this particular set of visual and vocal symbols of communication. With this treatment, I really wanted to remind people of the nature of “English” it Self, and much of the George Zimmerman trial– with its Hispanic, Asian, US White, US Black witnesses, an all-woman jury, a Woman judge disturbed by the antics of an overzealous White male defense, an Instagram image of one of the Defense attorneys and his daughters with a caption that causes controversy, the only smile from George Zimmerman erupting because of a joke told by his Black college instructor, a university educated Black mother whose son is being vilified as a criminal to the extent that the defense blames him for his own death—is similar to a Polaroid snapshot of US culture as it stands presently. As the texture, the physical construction, of the United States has been deconstructed, so has its primary language, and I wanted that psycho-social deconstruction to be visually communicated in my use of the deconstructionist typographical treatment of the symbol “English”.

Bail Bond Amounts In High Profile Cases(Infographic)

On April 22, 2012, George Zimmerman, the murderer of 17 year young Trayvon Martin walked away from John E. Polk Correctional Facility with an unidentified man into a BMW Sports Utility Vehicle on a $150,000 bond set by Judge Kenneth Lester, Jr. of Sanford, Fla. In lieu of these heart twisting events, I took it upon my Self to compile a list of bail bonds set in court cases of prominent individuals, or at least individuals that came to prominence because of the charges or incidents surrounding a case. What I’ve compiled is interesting to me, mainly the bail bonds set on the five young Afkan(Afrikan Amerikkkan) men from Jena, Louisiana. According to my research, and personal predicaments from time to time(insert Owl’s charming smile here), a bail bond is set in an effort to allow a person a modicum of freedom(defined here as not being in a cell, tank, or open bay confinement unit ran by state or federal personnel) while their case is being tried. Those that don’t get bonds are supposedly assumed to be “flight risks” — that is, they are rabbits waiting for a cage to spring so that they might. The amounts for those being tried ought to reflect their income and ability to pay such collateral. As we can see from the compiled data, such is not always the case. I do further the understanding here to ward off petty polemicist, each state is governed by various precedents and judges are allowed to operate within a fairly arbitrary space in these matters. Very much like the sentencing process, the judge has precedents they can consider, but these are not written in stone and often based on the personality of the judge in question.

 

I’ve presented the infographic in full here as a .png file(Portable Network Graphic) that can be right-clicked and saved or dragged and dropped onto your computing system. I also have a .pdf file that can be visited online or saved to your system as well. That is linked here.

 

Our Son…

Editor’s Note: This is a piece written by our sister, friend, and Asylum Staff member, Nikki(she can be followed on Twitter under the handle, @Chey_Marly_mom).

 

Million Hoodie March - Streets Of NYC

 

Today is Wednesday, March 21, 2012.

 

If you had asked me this time last week who Trayvon Martin was I wouldn’t be able to answer. This is astounding considering his death occurred almost a month ago on February 26th. FEBRUARY 26th!!! Learning who Trayvon Martin was and the devastating events leading up to his murder these past few days, has filled me with immense anger and distress at the mere mention of the town in Florida (Sanford) where his lynching occurred, and the name of his murderer (George Zimmerman) who has yet to be arrested, or charged with the crime. Now that this story is finally making national headlines you can read and watch a barrage of articles and reports about the unjust laws that protect and support the assailants terrorist act against a defenseless teenager whose only offense was that he was black and male. However, it is not my intent to further acknowledge the offenders in this post. I’m here to speak briefly about Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, the parents of ancestor Trayvon Martin as well as the “A Million Hoodies March” that was held this evening in New York City’s Union Square Park which was mobilized via social media and grass roots organizers such as Color of Change (within a 24hr span, mind you). Actually, it seems to be just about 24hours between the time I read the first mention of the march on Twitter late afternoon yesterday, until the time I arrived downtown this evening, about 45 minutes prior to when thousands of others gathered on the steps of the park (already partially occupied by Wall Street protesters) wearing hoodies and carrying signs in protest of the tragedy. It was also yesterday evening that the matter and the unfolding details were brought to the attention of my 13yr old daughter who had many questions for which I had only difficult and mostly unsatisfactory answers to why a child was dead and how his killer remains free and still armed, with the discussion ultimately ending with her very matter of fact conclusion: “People should riot”.

 

Out of the mouths of babes, right? And what a difference a day makes…

 

At some point this morning shortly after I arrived to the workplace it became increasingly difficult for me to come up with a reason not to be at the “A Million Hoodies March”,( and not having a hoodie to wear wasn’t even a consideration). My conscience and highly engaging twitter TL which is usually the bane of my productivity wouldn’t allow me an excuse not to “do something”. Let me just say that I am not in any way claiming to be an “activist”. For all intents and purposes my activism has been limited to the rearing of my children. Which to me is by no means any less of a feat than those who organize as a career. Nevertheless, I felt compelled to participate and pay my respects to Trayvon by standing in solidarity with his mother and father who flew across states to New York City to attend this rally to express their appreciation of the efforts being made to not allow this case to be swept under the rug like so many others. This was the least I could do. No part of me ever wants to ever know the pain that Mr. Martin and Ms. Fulton are feeling. I can’t help but wonder if I would be able to find the strength to address the media in the dignified manner that they have in recent days. Constantly replaying the torment of their loss with every inquiry. Could you? So, when Trayvon’s mother stepped up to the microphone this evening and stated that “Our son, is your son…” . I wept. I heard and felt the anguish in her voice. And it was then that I realized that every single person in that park (and those on social networks wearing hoodies in solidarity and sharing information about the case as it unfolds) was holding them up so that they can continue to seek justice for Trayvon and every other nameless, faceless, victim.

 

I ask you all in cities around the country to please show up for the family of Trayvon Martin if you can. If nothing else, they need us.

 

Our son’s killer is still free…

Are We Prepared If George Zimmerman Never Gets Arrested?

I remember the apathy after many of us realized that Oscar Grant’s murderer Johannes Mehserle was not going to be tried for murder. I remember the sense of loss many shared when his slap on the wrist came down from the judge. I can still feel the streaming tears as the video tape of Aiyana Jones was never released. Often Afkan(Afrikan Amerikkkans) are forced to swallow bitter realities. Realities such as Trayvon Martin’s killer possibly never being arrested.

 

We are now picking up on the message from The New Black Liberation Militia to seek a citizen’s arrest of George Zimmerman. This could possibly be a costly measure given Zimmerman’s penchant for hurling fragments of burning metal into Afkan bodies and calling the police on him Self in defense from grand juries. Yet, I realize that there isn’t much else in the matter of Ma’at(human enforced justice for human enforced injustice) that anyone is volunteering. My Asylum salutes their efforts.

 

Afkan peoples of an above and beyond the blindness of naivete sort of upbringing and/or adulthood may ask why such measures would be applauded and supported here. Well, frankly, something has to be done. Many of us have called into the Sanford Sheriff’s office to be redirected to the State’s Attorney’s office, only to be told of limited resources in the matter of arresting George Zimmerman. In fact, it could be weeks before a charge is given. Trayvon was killed February 26 of this year. The date of this writing is March 19. You figure out how upset you should or shouldn’t be.

 

I am pleased to see so many media outlets investing energy into reporting of young Trayvon’s murder. I recall the lack of support from most in information dissemination after a Detroit Police Officer sent a slug screaming through the cranium of Aiyana Jone’s sleeping head and out through the base of her chin. Unfortunately, the Afkan community can join together and help Obama corner a bloc of voters unified enough to push him past the Democratic primaries, but his vocal thoughts on the murders of Aiyana, Oscar, and now Trayvon remain disloyally silent. Tonight, a message from Obama’s administration that they wouldn’t “wade” into a human rights travesty that demands international attention on the grounds that it was a local law-enforcement matter. The violation of the Afkan community’s trust in Obama can’t be fully gathered in vibrations bouncing around pupils to form symbols of expression. The surface of my disappointment’s now breathing body is tempered only by the foreknowledge of the regret his family will face knowing Barry was the father that dropped the ball, time and time again. To enter the office as the Black president, and to leave as the half-Caucasian one that could be compared to an overseer of some grand plantation should hurt. And yet, that sweltering prophecy in my emotive heart will not replace the deep seated notion that every Afkan child around me must be reminded that we can’t trust anyone in this war for our removal from this place, this Earth.

 

As I read through countless digitally captured thoughts in the social web, I notice the emergence of self-hate revealing it Self like a tumor of Afkan psychic pulses. Afkan men are blamed for Trayvon being killed while walking down a pathway. Children ask their teachers how could Trayvon have prevented a failed lawman from slaughtering him. Those that seek to rally to bring attention to the event are labeled as misguided; those that seek blood writ are labeled as foolish. Instead of everyone involved and concern doing their part and allowing others to play their position, the whole movement for Justice for Trayvon is imploding.

 

So, as I sit and ponder how a two time felon who has just been saved from homelessness can assist the best he can in raising awareness and training of young Afkan males, my lovely Lifeline asked me,”are we prepared if George Zimmerman never gets arrested?” And all I could do for an answer was ask you…

 

Are you ready to accept what you’ve known within your most original and Eastern mind? That a half-blood prince can’t save your children from Herod’s wrath on your boys. Are you prepared? Are you prepared to accept that George Zimmerman- not Crips or Bloods, or drug dealers, or aliens that look like lizards underneath their manufactured skin- killed Trayvon Martin. Are we ready to understand that Afkan on Afkan violence is only a subset of the power structure created as White on Afkan violence crystallized into a system of society. Can we accept that a killer will be walking the streets of Florida with the confidence of a lion after feeding that he has privilege enough to murder when he chooses?

 

On the bus ride from the urban war zones to the rural concentration camps, there is an understanding shared from the veterans to the rookies,”if you ain’t ready, get ready. And once ready, stay on the ready…”

Trayvon Martin, George Zimmerman, and The Etcetera Margin

It seems like, as always, the Trayvon Martin discussion on Twitter and other areas of the social web (I’m really controlling the urge to refer to it as “the trap”) have caused more harm than good. As a writer, I often find my Self facing what I call,”etcetera margins”. A writer is always confronted with stylistic concerns that may or may not indicate their level of research or the number of words that they command or can google before a deadline. Whether these indices are accurate or not tends to matter less than the reality that people judge your works by how many times you used that one obscure term in a piece, or how many items in a group you coma separated before tossing out that foreboding “etc”. The etcetera margin is that pack of words added to a group that usually have much less of a relationship to the original terms but recruited to fill some arbitrary notion of good writing. Many people are using a similar stylistic approach to dealing with the discussion of Trayvon Martin.

Regardless of Florida state laws, a jury or grand jury is usually needed to decide the truth or falsehood of a murderer. George Zimmerman pulled the trigger of a gun causing a metal projectile to ripple through the young and defenseless, screaming body of Trayvon Martin. That is murder. Self-defense or not, it is far from the job of local sheriffs and police units to determine the guilt or not so guiltiness of George Zimmerman. It is the duty of tax paying citizens to be called together from the community to weigh in on the evidence. George Zimmerman should be arrested not because he may be a Jew or raised by Jews. George Zimmerman should be arrested not because he may or may not be Hispanic. George Zimmerman should be arrested not because he failed as a police officer. George Zimmerman should be arrested because that is how this country operates. If you commit a crime, especially one as heinous as taking someone’s life, you are to be held until a bond is posted (or you are released on a recognizance (“recog”) bond), or until a jury of your peers hears your case and a judge determines how to place a period on matters with a sentence.

There is only one discussion to be had with regards to George Zimmerman, why hasn’t he been arrested? Any and all other straw man or red herrings being bandied about are filler, portions of etcetera margins posing as knowledgeable sentiments. I don’t care how many law schools a person snorted cocaine in, it doesn’t take an all-nighter for the Florida bar to know that in every state in the Union people are arrested for killing another person, no matter what the circumstances. George Zimmerman fatally wounded Trayvon Martin and should be tried for murder. This implies an arrest. No need to discuss whether Zimmerman is a racist. He’s already admitted that he saw a young Afkan (afrikan amerikkkan) male in a hooded sweater, decided to follow him after being told by authorities not to, and then in the orchestra of several screams loud enough to be picked up audibly in phone conversations held by adults watching from the safety of their cowardice, shot Trayvon Martin. We will discuss the motive after George Zimmerman is on the stand.

We do not have to sully Trayvon’s name and lack of justice proffered with our need to appear overly analytical and complicatedly knowing. These are simple terms here that ought to be framed in such a way that even a child of average understanding could comprehend it. It doesn’t even have to be just an Afkan issue. Since it truly is a US issue. This is an issue that a president, especially one versed in the law would want to take a stand on in an election year. But, at this moment, even that discussion — if it is ever had — should only be centered on why George Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested. Let us not continue to waste time urinating in gutters and margins of empty thought for the sake of appeasing drunken egos. If one must discuss the Trayvon Martin matter for the sake of being heard or read, at least honor the plea for help young Trayvon wasn’t able to receive in life by speaking to the specific and simple concern: Why hasn’t George Zimmerman been arrested?