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   Hoodies were part of the attire for a  Special worship service tonight in the 7th ward.

   Members of Abundant Life Tabernacle say it was their way of honoring Trayvon Martin.

   Support for the fatal shooting victim has been widespread since George Zimmerman was found not guilty of second degree murder nearly two weeks ago.

   Church members at Abundant life says prayers for justice should continue.

    “We just want to show our support to the Martin Family and we also want to let the nation know that it was unfair, it was unjust,” said Karmen McKinley of Abundant Life Tabernacle. “It’s not about color, race, or creed; it’s just about wrong is wrong, and our leader wants to let the world know we stand behind the Martin Family.”

     Another special prayer service is scheduled Saturday at the church to for local victims of crime.

It doesn’t matter if you like the President of the United States or not.  You can disagree with his ideology.  You can be his harshest critic.  Maybe you’re even the type of person counting down the days ’til his second and final term ends.

But a few things about the President can’t be denied, he is highly intelligent and is an excellent public speaker.  If anyone doubts the intelligence level of the president, then you obviously haven’t been paying attention.  And if anyone thinks this President isn’t the same kind of public speaker that Kennedy or Reagan was, then you obviously haven’t been paying attention.

The president did something great late last week.  He went off the cuff, scriptless and raw, and told America exactly how it is being a black man in America. More specifically, how the experiences and history have shaped black folks’ minds and opinions differently than other Americans.

It wasn’t about slavery, or cutting blacks a break, or racism will never die.  Instead it was the President giving us all a very insightful look into being black in America.  It’s about how blacks view America through their history and their set of experiences.  That’s all the president said.  And it will go down as one if his best moments as President.

Justice for Trayvon Martin will be the focus of a rally Saturday morning outside the Federal Court Building. New Orleans supporters will join other cities holding similar rallies across the country. For more on what to expect, here’s WGNO News Reporter Darian Trotter.

The “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman trial was echoed across the nation; and since then there have been wide-spread demonstrations protesting the jury’s decision. In a show of solidarity communities across the country will gather Saturday for one purpose:

“To make sure that we send a message to Washington that we want the Department of Justice to conduct a complete, full, and open investigation into the murder of Trayvon Martin,” says Denatus King.

King is organizing the rally in New Orleans; from 11am-1pm at 500 Poydras. It’s one of more than 100-similar rallies planned at the exact same time.

“So it’s going to be a powerful message when we see folks from the east coast, to the west coast; from the north to the south all with one purpose in mind and that’s to demand justice,” King said.

But not all of the demonstrations have been peaceful. Police in Oakland had to use force to regain order, when passions ran high. It’s why New Orleans police will be on stand-by.

In a statement NOPD Spokeswoman Remi Braden said, “We can assure the community that we will be in sufficient force to protect the safety of the people.”

“No, no we don’t expect trouble,” King said. King says positive energy will be used to organize and effect local and national change.

For anyone planning to show up and show out, King says… “500 Poydras is not the place for them to be tomorrow; plain and simple.”

King says Saturday’s rally is not all about speeches and getting pumped up. There will be voter registration, and opportunities for people to sign up with organizations making positive change in the community.

News with a Twist

Zimmerman trial brought out our crazy racial perceptions

The George Zimmerman trial just simply won’t go away.  And the main reason for that is the crazy way some Americans view race.

A large number of black and white folks in our country are fixated on race, especially when it involves the outcome of this trial.  Many black and white folks ignore the facts of this case and do a lot of assuming.  I think it makes these folks feel better.

Some Blacks feel compelled to defend Trayvon Martin simply because he’s black.  While some whites cheered when the verdict was read, like they’ve got some stake in Zimmerman’s innocence.

What’s funny is a lot of the racist whites that were cheering the outcome wouldn’t want to hang around with the Latino Zimmerman anyway.  Kinda crazy.

The only real blessing about this reaction from the verdict is the fact that most black and white folks in America don’t buy into it and don’t believe race played a direct part in this decision.  Most observers feel that the judge was weak or that the prosecution went after the wrong charge and didn’t humanize Trayvon Martin enough.

But the black and white folks so fixated on race just can’t let it go.  Even the U.S. Attorney’s office is threatening to get involved.  Involved how?  What civil rights violations occurred?   The reason Trayvon Martin is dead is simple: an over-zealous rent-a-cop wanna-be went beyond the scope of his job.  And a 17 year old kid, who clearly recognized the moron following him, chose to confront him instead of ignoring him and just go home.

Trayvon Martin’s death was totally avoidable. If only George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin weren’t involved. But they were, and the race card, on both sides, will continue to be played.

News with a Twist

George Zimmerman IS guilty … of being a moron

Is George Zimmerman guilty?   I’m pretty sure George Zimmerman is guilty of something.  He’s gotta be, right?   A 29 year old man shot and killed a 17 year old kid essentially because he thought he was up to no good.  But is George Zimmerman guilty?   The clear answer is yes.

George Zimmerman is fully guilty of being a world class idiot.  An over zealous fool who was playing policeman-wanna-be.  But is George Zimmerman guilty of a crime?  The answer might be yes, but in America that guilty verdict has to come with no reasonable doubt left on the table.  Reasonable doubt.

I think we all have reasonable doubt when formulating an opinion about this case.  That’s why the verdict came back not guilty.  That’s exactly why no rioting took place after the verdict was announced. This case’s outcome ended up having little to do with race and everything to do with reasonable doubt.  Obviously, all 6 jurors were struggling with that key factor.

I think George Zimmerman is guilty of something in this case but 2nd degree murder or even manslaughter probably isn’t it.  Blame the prosecutor’s office for a poor effort at trial or going after the wrong charge, but don’t get mad at the system.  The system worked.  George Zimmerman is a moron who’s life will never be the same.  And Trayvon Martin is no longer with us.  A tragedy that easily could have been and should have been avoided.

naacp(from the New Orleans NAACP) – The New Orleans Branch NAACP joins the National NAACP and thousands of other NAACP units in calling on the United States Department of Justice to file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman. Below is a statement from Mr. Benjamin Todd Jealous, President/CEO NAACP.

A jury in Sanford, Florida has found George Zimmerman not guilty of murdering Trayvon I know I am not alone in my outrage, anger, and heartbreak over this decision. When a teenager’s life is taken in cold blood,
and there is no accountability for the man who killed him, nothing seems right in the world, but we cannot let these emotions alone rule.

In these most challenging of times, we are called to act. There is work left to be done to achieve justice for Trayvon. The Department of Justice can still address the violation of Trayvon’s most fundamental civil right — the right to life, and we are urging them to do so.

Sign our petition to the Department of Justice. Tell them to file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman.

We continue to grieve the loss of Trayvon with his parents, his family, and all who loved him. Do not forget what brought us to this day.

George Zimmerman was arrested and charged because we would not back down when he was initially released. The Sanford Police Chief was removed from his post because we voiced our disbelief that he would overrule his
detectives and block George Zimmerman’s arrest.

And, perhaps most importantly, not a single state has passed a “stand your ground” law in 2013 — the first time in eight years — because we refuse to let the memory of Trayvon fade from the hearts and minds of America.

So, now we have a choice: We can be felled by our sorrows over the jury’s decision, or we can turn our frustration into action. We can demand the Department of Justice address the travesties of this tragedy. We can
take a step forward in our efforts to finally end racial profiling in America once and for all. What will yo u do, Danatus?

For Trayvon Martin, for his family, and for all parents who suffer the horror of burying a child, sign our petition to the Department of Justice:

Thank you,
Benjamin Todd Jealous
President and CEO

(CNN) — George Zimmerman is not guilty of murder in the death of Trayvon Martin, a Florida jury decided late Saturday.

The fact that Zimmerman fired the bullet that killed Martin was never in question, but the verdict means the six-person jury had reasonable doubt that the shooting amounted to a criminal act.


(CNN) — After George Zimmerman was found not guilty in his son’s death, Trayvon Martin’s father tweeted, “God blessed Me & Sybrina with Tray and even in his death I know my baby proud of the FIGHT we along with all of you put up for him GOD BLESS.”


The verdict caps a case that has inflamed passions for well over a year, much of it focused on race and gun rights.

The six-person jury — all women — had three choices: to find Zimmerman guilty of second-degree murder; to find him guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter; or to find him not guilty.

The jurors deliberated for 16½ hours total, including 13 on Saturday alone, before delivering their verdict.

When he learned his fate, a subdued Zimmerman had little visible reaction. His face was mostly expressionless. He turned and shook one of his attorney’s hand before sitting back down. His parents, Robert and Gladys Zimmerman, were seated nearby, but Martin’s parents were not in the courtroom.

Earlier in the day, the jury had asked the court for clarification on its instructions regarding manslaughter. The jury couldn’t have even posed such a query a few days ago: Judge Debra Nelson ruled Thursday, over the defense’s vehement objection, to include manslaughter as an option for jurors, in addition to a second-degree murder charge.

To convict Zimmerman of manslaughter, the jurors would have had to believe that he “intentionally committed an act or acts that caused the death of Trayvon Martin.” That charge could have carried a sentence of up to 30 years in prison, though the jury was not told of that possible sentence.

For second-degree murder, the jurors would have had to believe that Martin’s unlawful killing was “done from ill will, hatred, spite or an evil intent” and would be “of such a nature that the act itself indicates an indifference to human life.”

Ultimately, they believed neither. And that means Zimmerman can walk free.

The fateful night

The story starts the night of February 26, 2012, as Martin walked back to his father’s fiancee’s house through the rain from a Sanford convenience store, where he’d bought Skittles and a drink.

Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, spotted him and called police. A 911 dispatcher told Zimmerman that officers were on the way and not to follow the allegedly suspicious person.

Nonetheless, Zimmerman got out of his car, later telling police he just wanted to get a definitive address to relay to authorities.

Sometime after that, Zimmerman and Martin got into a physical altercation. Some neighbors took notice: On one 911 call, anguished cries for help can be heard.

Who was yelling? Martin’s mother testified she’s “absolutely” sure it was her son; Zimmerman’s parents said, with as much conviction, that it was their own child.

There are also disputes about who was the aggressor, about whether or not Martin may have seen or reached for Zimmerman’s gun, about whether Zimmerman should have had more injuries if he was pummeled, as he claims.

And some accused Zimmerman — who identifies himself as Hispanic — of racially profiling the black teenager, a claim the defense camp flatly denies.

About the only thing not in dispute is that the now 29-year-old Zimmerman shot and killed Martin.

Nelson acknowledged this week that jurors have a lot of evidence, and competing arguments, to consider. She told them that, even as they pay close attention to the law and the facts, they should also “use your common sense.”

“All of us are depending on you to make a wise and legal decision,” she said.

Prosecution: ‘He shot him because he wanted to’

In his closing argument, Assistant State Attorney Bernie de la Rionda noted that — for all the evidence presented — the case boils down to two men. One of them, Martin, is dead and can’t give his side of the story. The other, according to the prosecutor, cannot be trusted.

De la Rionda asked: Why would a scared man get out of his car and walk around after being told not to? Shouldn’t Zimmerman have had more than a bloody nose and scratches on his head given the beating he allegedly took? And did he have an agenda — to do whatever necessary to stop one of those “f***ing punks,” as he’s heard saying under his breath in his call to police, from getting away?

Assistant State Attorney John Guy made the prosecution’s final pitch, during the rebuttal phase of closing arguments Friday. He echoed many points de la Rionda had made earlier, portraying Zimmerman as a frustrated wannabe police officer who took the law into his own hands. He had decided Martin was one of the criminals who had been victimizing his neighborhood, he said, then trailed him against the advice of police dispatchers.

“The defendant didn’t shoot Trayvon Martin because he had to,” Guy said. “He shot him because he wanted to. That’s the bottom line.”

Zimmerman, the prosecution said, had a powerful determination not to allow someone he had already decided was a criminal to escape.

“What is that when a grown man, frustrated, angry, with hate in his heart, gets out of his car with a loaded gun and follows a child? A stranger? In the dark? And shoots him through his heart? What is that?” Guy asked.

Defense: Zimmerman deserves benefit of the doubt

In the opinion of defense attorney Mark O’Mara, what George Zimmerman did was simple: he defended himself.

Zimmerman was looking out for those in his neighborhood when he saw someone he felt was suspicious and called police, O’Mara said in his closing argument. The defendant got out of his car, but briefly, and was walking back to it when things got physical.

Martin jumped out of some bushes and pounced, the defense contends. And, O’Mara added, the teen didn’t just hold Zimmerman down, but punched and slammed his head repeatedly into the sidewalk.

“That was somebody who used the availability of dangerous items, from his fist to the concrete, to cause great bodily injury against George Zimmerman,” said O’Mara.

The lead defense attorney also criticized the prosecution’s case, saying it was full of “coulda beens. How many ‘what ifs’ have you heard from the state in this case?” There’s no merit, he claimed, to the depiction of Zimmerman as a frustrated, spiteful man seeking vengeance.

“Do not give anybody the benefit of the doubt except for George Zimmerman,” O’Mara said.

Tensions high ahead of verdict

There was a buzz outside the Sanford courtroom Saturday even before the verdict was announced, punctuated by occasional speeches, songs and impassioned words — at times directed against those on the other side of the debate.

There were those calling for a guilty verdict who held up a large banner reading “End racial oppression” and who yelled in unison, “We want justice.” On the other side, Zimmerman backers toted signs saying “Self-defense is a basic human right,” “Not enough evidence,” and plainly “Not guilty.”

Many of these themes have been echoing since the weeks after Martin’s death, when tens of thousands attended rallies led by civil rights activists demanding Zimmerman’s arrest and chastising authorities for their handling of the case.

Zimmerman surmised Martin was a criminal like those who’d struck in his neighborhood before — at least one of whom was black — a lawyer for the late teen’s family said Friday. But Martin was not a criminal, which Daryl Parks said contributes to the racial tensions that still surround this case.

While he wouldn’t call Zimmerman a racist, “this case in its totality has a racial undertone to it,” Parks told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.

The defense strongly rejected accusations Zimmerman is racist, with O’Mara citing his client’s work as a mentor to black children and his taking a black girl to his prom as evidence of his non-racist beliefs.

His defenders have been passionate as well, especially about a person’s right to defend himself with a gun when attacked. Debate swirled over Florida’s “stand your ground” law, which allows those who believe they are in imminent danger to use deadly force to protect themselves.

In light of this ongoing fervor, authorities asked for calm while setting up contingency plans to respond to incidents tied to a verdict. The Rev. Jesse Jackson Jr. was among those appealing for peace Friday, while Zimmerman’s family urged people to “respect the rule of law, which begins with respecting the verdict.”

“Freedom of expression is a constitutional right,” said the sheriff’s office in Broward County, in the Miami area. “While raising your voice is encouraged, using your hands is not.”

But O’Mara said that, whatever the outcome, his client will not feel safe.

“There are a percentage of the population who are angry, they’re upset, and they may well take it out on him,” he said.

HLN’s Grace Wong, Graham Winch, Amanda Sloane, Jonathan Anker and Anna Lanfreschi and CNN’s Mariano Castillo, Michael Pearson, Faith Karimi, Chelsea J. Carter, John Couwels and Mayra Cuevas contributed to this report.

News with a View

Media inciting race riots in America

According to FBI statistics, approximately 9,000 African Americans are killed in this country annually. This carnage is basically ignored by the news media, which treats the vast majority of these cases as non-stories. This major tragedy is consistently overlooked by a media that often highlights the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. While all of these deaths are tragic, it is much more dangerous for African Americans on the streets of our country than it is for our soldiers fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan.

To add some perspective to the numbers, about 6,588 Americans have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001, but 108,000 African Americans have been killed on the streets of America. Thus, the death toll for black citizens in the U.S. is almost 17 times greater than it has been for our soldiers fighting overseas.

This African American death rate is shockingly high and should be analyzed by the media. Unfortunately, most of our journalists are not fair and balanced. Sadly, too many in the media today are looking for sensational stories and one sure fire method of creating controversy and attention is to stoke fears of racial injustice.

george-zimmerman-trayvon-martin-277×177Enter George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch volunteer, who shot and killed 17 year old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida in February of last year. The media has focused on this one incident, even though approximately 12,000 African Americans have been killed throughout the country in this same time period. The other cases were mostly disregarded because they involved “black on black” crime. FBI statistics show that approximately 93% of African American homicide victims are killed by other African Americans. Such crimes are not juicy or interesting to a media that wants to promote racial division and cause strife in this country.

Clearly, the media focused on the Trayvon Martin case because of the race factor. Trayvon Martin was black and George Zimmerman is Hispanic, although, initially, the media erroneously referred to the neighborhood watch volunteer as “white.”  After civil rights leaders and politicians joined the fray, it was no surprise that Zimmerman was charged with second degree murder.

Zimmerman became the poster child for racism, even though his best friend is an African American. The media depicted Martin as a very young child and presented inaccurate pictures to viewers. Martin was not a young child targeted by a “racist” Zimmerman. In fact, he was a tall, muscular young man who had a questionable past and multiple brushes with the law, but all of this was hidden from Americans.

If Zimmerman was a black neighborhood watch volunteer or Martin had been a white or Hispanic youngster, this story would have been ignored by a media that has no interest in the vast majority of the 9,000 African American murders each year.

As a sensational trial moves forward, the country will learn whether George Zimmerman is guilty or not. We may also learn whether Martin was an innocent youngster trying to get to his father’s house or a troubled young man looking for a fight.

Ideally, there should be a calm reaction across the country to whatever verdict is reached. Instead, there are concerns that civil unrest will lead to rioting if Zimmerman is acquitted. Hopefully, these threats will not influence a jury that is only supposed to consider the facts presented in the case.

Regardless of the decision, it is appalling that so much is at stake in this trial.  If there are riots, much of the blame should rest with the news media which created such racial unease with their coverage of this case.

Let’s hope and pray that sanity prevails both in the courtroom and throughout the nation.

Defense attorney Don West told a knock-knock joke during his opening statement.

As you can imagine, the joke was a flop: “Knock knock. Who’s there? George Zimmerman. George Zimmerman who? Alright good, you’re on the jury. Nothing? That’s funny! After what you folks have been through the last two or three weeks.”