THE ED SHOW
July 14, 2013
Guests: Benjamin Crump, Anthea Butler, Michael Skolnik, David Wilson,
Jelani Cobb, Hilary Shelton, Rashad Robinson
JOY REID, GUEST HOST: Welcome to THE ED SHOW. I`m Joy Reid, in for Ed
"To the living, we owe the respect. To the dead, we owe the truth." Those
are first and final words spoken by prosecutor John Guy in his closing
argument as he asked a jury in Sanford, Florida, to hold George Zimmerman
responsible in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin.
Trayvon Martin, who Guy described as 16 years and 21 day old forever. His
final act: trying to get home. His final emotion: fear.
The jury in the case of man who shot him to death on February 26 of last
year did not find George Zimmerman guilty of any crime. Not of second
degree murder. Not manslaughter. And so, George Zimmerman is a free man
today. He has even got his gun back.
So what do we owe the living and the dead?
George Zimmerman and his family are very happy this evening and so are his
supporters. Trayvon Martin`s parents who wanted to see an arrest and a
trial for the man who killed their son received both. But did they receive
Tens of thousands people marched peacefully in Philadelphia, in San
Francisco, in Atlanta, in Chicago, in Washington, in Miami and Sanford to
say no. And many more on social media and in homes where you`re hugging
your children a little bit tighter this evening are expressing feelings of
Is the truth about we`ve delivered to the dead that a black teenager has no
right to walk in a gated community in hoodie, in the rain, or to run from a
stranger without being thought of a suspect? Even tried in court for his
Or is it that as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, "Sadly, all of the
facts in the tragic case will probably never be known. But one fact is
clear: shoot first laws like the one in Florida can inspire dangerous
vigilantism and protect those who act recklessly with guns, and that such
laws, drafted by gun lobby extremists in Washington, encourage deadly
confrontations by enabling people to shoot first and argue justifiable
To the living and the dead, it seems to me that we owe an answer.
Late this afternoon, the president released a statement regarding the
verdict and it reads in part, "I now ask every American to respect the call
for calm reflection from two parents who lost their young son. And as we
do we should ask ourselves if we are doing all we can to widen the circle
of compassion and understanding in our own communities. We should ask
ourselves if we are doing all we can to stem the tide of gun violence that
claims too many lives across the country on a daily basis.
We should ask ourselves as individuals and as a society how we can prevent
future tragedies like this. As citizens that`s job for all of us. That`s
the way it honor Trayvon Martin."
I`m joined now with Benjamin Crump, attorney for Trayvon Martin`s family,
Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin.
Ben, it`s always good to see you.
BENJAMIN CRUMP, MARTIN FAMILY ATTORNEY: Thank you for having me, Joy.
REID: And, Ben, the first question we all have to ask you, I think so many
people are so succumbed in their own grief, that they forget that primary
grievers are the mom and dad of Trayvon Martin. How are they doing this
CRUMP: You know, last night was certainly difficult, Joy. But Sybrina
told me, she cried, woke up and went to church and she has come back now
for a renewed spirit to define the legacy of her son Trayvon. She told me
shouldn`t let this verdict to define Trayvon.
REID: And what is that legacy then? What does Sybrina and what does Tracy
-- what do they want the legacy of their son to be?
CRUMP: You know, one thing that was so encouraged, Joy, and you have
interviewed Sybrina personally and know her personally. They`re
extraordinary people where you think about the gravity of the situation
that`s been laid upon them. They keep handling themselves with dignity and
And she said that we have to roll up our sleeves because even though we`ve
come a long way, we have a long way to go to make sure this doesn`t happen
to anybody else`s child. I thought that was so profound that the day after
the verdict, she is already thinking we still have work to do, because we
can`t get bogged down in negativity. We have to remain focused and try to
make this negative a positive.
REID: And, you know, Ben, you and I have talked about this before. I find
it difficult to interview Sybrina Fulton. As a mom, you know, I look at
her for a few minutes, and I want it cry.
But she is so calm and she holds herself together in public so well. She
could keep it together. But you can see under the surface how much pain,
frankly, she is in. You know, has it helped her at all it see the protest,
to see how much people have fallen in love with her son and said her son,
people say this is our child.
Has that helped her at all? Has it helped Tracy at all?
CRUMP: It really has and both of them love their son immensely and they
really wanted to he the killer of their child, teenage son held
accountable, but they won`t let this verdict define him and they won`t say
his death was not in vein and one of the things that Sabrina also told me
was that when you really think about it, everybody knows Trayvon`s name.
And we want to make sure they know it for the right reasons, that he was a
human being on this earth. He had every right it walk where he legally had
a right to do so, breath the air just about every American has the right
not to be profiled and pursued and killed.
And those are very important things she wanted to get out to everybody who
would listen, that my son had a right to walk home that night. And when
she talks about it this morning, she was so inspirational and saying that
we are going to get them. We are not going to be in this -- the defeatist
mentality. We are going to have the mind-set of having more work to do.
REID: And I know there is a civil suit planned and a request for the
Justice Department to look into it.
But very briefly before we let you go, Ben, you know, I have to ask you,
frankly, we just showed a picture of Angela Corey, one row ahead of Sybrina
and Tracy. Are the parents disappointed at all in Angela Corey? Do they
feel the prosecutors did everything they do both to win the case against
George Zimmerman and to prevent the demonization of their son?
CRUMP: They appreciate Ms. Corey and her office and in the closing
summation, prosecutor got down to the crux of the matter of what this case
is about. And that was, if the roles were reversed and Trayvon would have
pursued and followed George Zimmerman and shot him in the heart, what would
the verdict have been? Because that`s what everybody was watching this
case for, to see if equal justice works for everybody in America.
They wanted to make sure they got their day in court and Ms. Corey`s
office, very courageously did that. And for that, they are forever
Do they want to have him held accountable? Absolutely. Are they
heartbroken? Absolutely. Are they going to stop fighting for the Trayvon
Martin legacy? Not at all. They are going to continue to fight to the
very end. And they are resolute in fighting for justice for Trayvon.
REID: All right. Ben, I know you`ve been doing this a long time, man, and
you`re a father yourself. We appreciate you being here. And, Ben, please
pass along, I know that Ed Schultz`s viewers want to pass along their
condolences., all of our condolences to Tracy and Sabrina.
CRUMP: And, Joy, please know that they are putting a lot of their energy
into the Trayvon Martin foundation and so a lot of people say, how can they
help? Visit the Trayvon Martin Web site.
REID: Exactly. I think it is TrayvonMartinfoundation.org.
CRUMP: Yes, ma`am.
REID: All right. Thank you so much, Ben Crump. We really appreciate you
All right. Now, let`s turn to our panel.
Anthea Butler, associate professor of religious at the University of
Pennsylvania. Michael Skolnik, editor in chief of GlobalGrind.com, and
Goldie Taylor, managing editor of the Goldie Taylor Project and an MSNBC
I`m going to stay with you for a second, Goldie. Because Ben Crump talks
about how resolute these parents are to get justice for their son. They
In your way of looking that Goldie, you live in the South. Unfortunately,
we have seen these tragedies too many times before. This is the 50th
anniversary of Medgar Ever Edgars killed in the south. What do you think
the legacy of Trayvon Martin will be?
GOLDIE TAYLOR, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well, first, Joy, I say this that -- I
know that I say this on behalf of all of the panelists here. We are
honored to be here, if not for his occasion, to be here with you and this
space. And so, I appreciate the idea that you are hosting this
You know, last night, for -- it is a rarity that all of my children are on
one place in any given evening. Their careers, their education really sort
of span the country, but last night, just by sheer coincidence, we were all
together and we watched this verdict. And I watched as each of my children
really sort of slumped.
There was a sadness, that hung over the house for very long time. And so,
we were, as a family, speechless. This was a trial that so many of us
fought for. We wanted due process to unfold itself, and it has. And I
think we have to be satisfied with this verdict, but we don`t have to be
satisfied with the judgment.
And so, there are other avenues this family can take to receive or at least
attempt to receive their brand of justice. But I think for all of us, the
job going forward is to make sure that we figure out how to embrace black
men and boys around this country, those who are victims of violent crime
and even those who are the perpetrators of violent crime. We have to
figure out a way that we have to break this so-called policy of
containment. If it doesn`t bother us, then I`m not involved. But we have
to get involved.
And so, we do have to get into the streets and learn to mend education, and
provide opportunity and do all of the things that are necessary, really, to
break the cycle of violence. And so, I think that our job going forward is
not to relitigate what happened in the courtroom for the state`s case for
George Zimmerman, but to prosecute violence by and for and against black
men and boys around this country on a daily basis.
REID: Goldie, that`s so important. This is a circle of friends to talk
about something traumatic. You want your friends around you.
I appreciate all of you being around here.
And I want to turn to you, Anthea, because another topic that -- Sybrina
Fulton talks a lot about her faith. She spent the day in church. That is
what enabled her to be so serene in a lot of ways and so strong, which I
think is one of the reasons what is going around Trayvon Martin has been so
peaceful, right? It`s grounded on a person of faith, you know?
But isn`t this one of those times -- you are a professor of religious
studies. This is when faith is tested the most. When people ask, why pray
to God when your prayers result in essentially nothing. The person who
shot a young boy goes free. They`re celebrating. Trayvon Martin`s parent
are still grieving.
ANTHEA BUTLER, UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA: I said on Twitter today, "God
is not good all of the time." People mistake not having faith for not
believing that bad things can happen even if you pray.
I really think at this moment -- I mean, look at Ms. Fulton, and think,
this is a strong woman of God, because I couldn`t be there, I couldn`t do
it. If this was my child, I would be somewhere else doing something else
But I will say this, I think part of that faith structure we have in the
black community is the reason we were able to get through slavery, get
through civil rights. We will get through this moment. But we have to
take that faith and make it operational and we have to operational to
combat these evil and unjust structures.
Because it`s not just -- it`s what Goldie said but much more. There are
evil structures that made this case happen and if we do not look at evil
structures that have been set up by evil people, we will not begin to
understand what is going on. There are many people who have been just like
Trayvon shot. But this is because of ALEC. It`s because of other stuff.
And many other people who put together laws say they are Christians. What
kind of Christians are they that it is OK to say on TV, that this must have
been god`s will. I don`t know that God. That`s not my God.
REID: I mean, in the structure you talk about, you are talking about these
laws, "Stand Your Ground" type laws, these Castle Doctrine laws, Michael,
that enable you to use your gun in any space. They have taken the castle
out of your home and taken out on to the streets. You can be far from your
house and discharge your weapon.
Michael, you are a part of Trayvon Martin Foundation. You`ve got your "I
am Trayvon Martin" shirt on. You know Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin very
well. You have been very involved in this process over the last year.
Talk about how they will get to the structures. What are the practical
things that foundation, the family, the parents want to do and want the
people who care about them to do?
MICHAEL SKOLNIK, GLOBALGRIND.COM: Sure. I think if we look at the past 24
hours and pain and sadness that so many of us feel and so much anger that
many of us feel as well, we have to look at the past 17 months. For the
past 17 months, we mobilized millions of people around this country to
stand up against these laws and say no more. For the first time in eight
years, in 2012, not one new law of "Stand Your Ground" type of law was
passed in any state in this nation. That is because the great leadership
of Sybrina and Tracy.
If I could just touch on the humanity of Trayvon and the legacy they want
it to leave for their son. Before Trayvon, young black men and young black
women as well, when they were killed, we didn`t know their names. They
were number, they were statistic.
And Trayvon was killed and now we know his name. We have him on T-shirts.
We have him on billboards. We have him I mean, our Twitter feeds.
And then, Jordan Davis was killed. We know his name.
And then, Hadiya Pendleton was killed.
The president put her family in the box next to the first lady of the
United States and recognized the pain and suffering of black parents and
equal to the pain and suffering of white parents when they lose their
children. Six or seven months ago in Sandy Hook we lost 20 beautiful young
children. And the pain and suffering that Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin
are feeling today is the same as those parents are feeling in Sandy Hook.
So that humanity that a black child has a name, has a family, has parents,
has a brother, has a grandmother. They breath, they sleep, they smile.
And as Sybrina Fulton said, her son might have struggled through life, but
he still had a life.
REID: And he had a future. And I think it`s interesting you bring up
President Obama. And, Goldie, I go back to you really quick, because one
of the things that turned this into a political story instead of a story as
oppose to a story about a dead young man, was when Barack Obama said that
if he had a son, he would look like Trayvon Martin. And all of a sudden,
this case became polarize politically, literally became a matter of
political dogma to either be for George Zimmerman or against George
And, Goldie, is there a sense in which having a black president has forced
this conversation about race on us for better or for worse? And the worst
ways and in some ways in the best ways?
TAYLOR: I think are right about that, Joy. I think equal handedly best
ways and worst ways, but I still don`t know if we are having an honest
conversation about how to relate. I`ve long said that privilege is the
liberty not to know. It is the ability not to have to present your check
and it is not cash.
And so I think under this president, we have seen a lot more of it sort of
come to growth. I think you`re right.
REID: All right, that`s going to have to be the last words. The circle of
friends is going to end right here. But I appreciate you guys being here.
Anthea Butler, Michael Skolnik, Goldie Taylor, thank you so much.
TAYLOR: Thank you, Joy.
REID: Al right. We will have more reaction to the George Zimmerman
verdict after this.
You are watching THE ED SHOW on MSNBC.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CRUMP: Trayvon Martin will forever remain in history next to Medgar Evers
and Emmett Till as symbols for the fight for equal justice for all.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Welcome back. The news of George Zimmerman`s acquittal has sent
Americans on to social media and into the streets.
Today, rallies and protest are planned in at least 20 cities across the
country from New York to Miami to Detroit to San Francisco. Many of the
organizers are asking supporters to wear hoodies in solidarity with
Last night, this was the scene outside the Sanford courthouse in Florida,
where supporters of the Martin family came together to express
disappointment. Cities brace for potential, quote-unquote, "riots", the
protests that broke out across the country remained almost entirely
peaceful. The one exception, Oakland, California. Where there are reports
of broken windows, spray painted cars and small fires.
According to "The San Francisco Chronicle," no arrests were made and there
were no reported injuries.
Today, there has a march held by a multiethnic group in Sanford, Florida.
And it`s from there that we`re joined by Trymaine Lee, national reporter
Trymaine, thanks for being here.
TRYMAINE LEE, MSNBC.COM: Thank you for having me.
REID: So, give us the pulse of how Sanford residents are absorbing this
verdict. Give us the sort of sense of the overall Sanford community and
then the black community in Sanford.
LEE: I think over all, folks are ready to take something from this tragic
incident as a whole. Not only in Sanford, in Midway, in Goldsboro, there
is not anger but there`s kind of a resignation that there are two different
justice systems here at play. That a young boy went off to the store and
never came back, and there seems to be an inherent injustice that no one
has been called to task for that.
And so, the folks now are just trying to digest it and everyone I speak to,
they express a sense of sadness and disappointment. And that we`re not
seeing the riot here but you can almost have a riot by a thousand little
explosions. And the little hurts. I think that`s more complicated than
simple anger. A feeling there is a separate justice system for you as
opposed to the rest of the country. That`s kind of sad.
You know, it`s funny Trayvon -- I mean, it`s not funny, Trymaine, but when
I was there last year, one of the things people would say is the only
reason that this case has created protests and the only reason there was
ultimately an arrest and charges is because Trayvon was not from here. You
know, in the same neighborhood you talk about, in Goldsboro, in Georgetown,
those areas, people would say if he was from here, a boy from here in
Sanford, police wouldn`t have cared. His death would not have even made
Is the sense now that oh, wait, we thought him being from Miami, from the
big city down south would have made a difference? Since it didn`t, did
that submit people`s sense of just despair?
LEE: I think it does cement that sense of despair, but also galvanized a
whole community around this whole issue of social inequity. Of course, if
he was from here, it would have been considered, and having been a police
report, a garden variety killing, sadly, that if he was known to the police
department, he was known to the community, whether he had a record or not,
it might have been easier to brush him to the rug because people would have
been used to this.
Trayvon Martin, being an outsider his family coming in support of him and
organizing, galvanizing, legal team and advisers, made the difference. But
still in that, some people said they allowed themselves to be fooled to
believe that this time, it might be different. And the fact that they
fooled themselves just hurts even deeper.
REID: You know, George Zimmerman has back his freedom, as well as his
firearm. Is there any sense that he might move back to Sanford?
LEE: I`m not sure. But almost everyone I spoke with said there is no way
he will be safe here or have a feeling of safety. Not that anyone would
necessarily attack him but this would be such a hostile environment for him
to be in. Knowing all of the baggage that his mere presence brings to this
community, it is highly doubtful that he will stick around.
REID: Last question to you, Trymaine, this case is about the Sanford
police. It was about their decision not to arrest. Now basically
vindicated by a jury of six women in that courthouse.
The Sanford Police Department, is there any sense at all that they changed?
That they -- you know, do you get the sense that police down there field
vindicated? Are they walking around saying, I told you so? Or is there a
sense that they are at all chastened by the rebuke to their treatment of
the black community for many, many years that came out as a result of this
LEE: I think only time will tell. I think city leaders and police
department leaders would tell you some of this was embarrassing and the
national spot line shown on Sanford, also shown down on a lot of dirty
laundry, in particular, the history -- what some would describe botched
investigations? Lackluster, if any relationship at all, between the black
community and the police. So, I think only time will tell. We`ll see.
REID: All right. Trymaine Lee, thank you very much. We appreciate you
and your reporting at MSNBC.com.
All right. We will have more commentary on the verdict of the George
Zimmerman trial, coming up after this.
REID: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
There`s been so much reaction on Twitter in reaction to the George
Zimmerman trial, we wanted to respond some of your questions about the
Our question tonight comes from Beach Shadow who asks, "Why are black men
always the scary ones but not entitled to be scared? Seems unfair."
You know what, it does seem unfair. And one of the issues that the
prosecution really, really failed to address in this case was the potential
fear that Trayvon Martin, who is after all a 17-year-old kid, might have
felt being followed by a stranger. We never really addressed that until
the end, when John Guy finally, finally said it in his closing argument,
but by then, it was too late.
The prosecution hadn`t presented, in my opinion, enough evidence about the
pursuit, about the chase, about the notion of a lone black kid, a kid
walking down the street, minding his own business and finding out 60 yards
from his house that the man he thought was following him in a car has
gotten out of the car and is following him, and then finding out that that
man has a gun.
Is there no place for a black man to feel fear? Are they only the
monsters, never the person afraid of monsters? I think one thing we have
to get to if we`re going to have a real conversation about race is a full
sense of the humanity of black men and boys. They are capable of being the
victim. They are capable of being afraid. Sometimes they do run away.
And, you know what, sometimes they take the advice that I was given when I
was an 18-year-old living by myself in New York. Which is if a stranger is
following you, don`t run. They might have a gun and you might get shot.
Don`t go home, you might draw them to your house. And you have to swallow
your fear, swallow that thing that in the pit of your stomach. Turn
around, square up, face them and fight. You want their DNA under your
fingernails. You want to see their face.
That`s what I was told and that`s what I had to tell my sons. And now,
it`s all been called into question because if this notion that young black
men just don`t feel.
All right. That`s the answer to the question for the night. And there is
a lot more coming on THE ED SHOW, so please stick around.
REID: Welcome back to THE ED SHOW.
As some Americans ever still trying to accept the acquittal of George
Zimmerman, it`s almost hard to believe that a shooting happened four years
ago that in some ways is eerily similar to the killing of Trayvon Martin.
In the early morning hours of January 1st, 2009, 22-year-old Oscar Grant
was fatally shot at point blank range by a San Francisco Bay Area Transit
cop after fight broke out on the train. The incident was caught on cell
phone cameras by a number of witnesses. The officer who shot him said he
mistakenly used his pistol instead of taser when he saw grant reaching no
for his waistband. It turned out Grant was unarmed.
Officer Johannes Mehserle was charged with second degree murder but was
found guilty only of involuntary manslaughter. He served just one year in
After the Oakland verdict was read, protest started out peacefully but
turned violent after nightfall resulting in the arrest of more than 80
people. This story has been made into a film called "Fruitvale Station"
that won a number of award at this year`s Sundance Film Festival.
Here`s a clip of the movie`s trailer.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, Oscar, how are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m good. I`m good. Happy New Year.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Happy New Year.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oscar, Oscar from (INAUDIBLE).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get off the train now!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put that phone away.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you still on the train?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re still at Fruitvale.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why can`t you tell me what is going on? What is the
problem? What did you do?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: After Zimmerman`s not guilty verdict was read last night, "Fruitvale
Station" star Michael B. Jordan tweeted, "I cannot believe this is
happening right now."
The story of Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin has disturbing parallel. Some
might say these incidents are the consequences of racial profiling in
America and many believed the justice system failed both victims.
For more on this, let`s turn to David Wilson, founder of TheGrio.com, and
Jelani Cobb, contributing writer for "The New Yorker".
Both David and Jelani both saw "Fruitvale Station" this weekend.
I want to start with you, Jelani, because you literally walked out into the
movie and cell phone text about the verdict.
JELANI COBB, THE NEW YORKER: Right. First off, it is an extraordinary
film. And it is also a film that you only need to see once, because at the
end of the film as credits were rolling, the audience was still sitting
there and you could hear people quietly sobbing because you understand the
humanity of this individual in ways we often don`t.
So we talked out of that theater and then 20 minutes later we got word of
the verdict. So what it said to us is, no, you cannot suspend disbelief.
No, this is not just movie. This is the America that you live in. These
are the issues that you grapple with.
And I`m the historian. I look at this in the long-term. So, we talked --
I`m thinking about Claude Neal lynched in Florida in 1934. I`m thinking
about Rosewood in 1923. I`m thinking about Harry and Harriet Moore, who
are the Mims County NAACP in 1951, their homes bombed and killed on
Christmas Eve. This is not simply about Trayvon Martin. It`s about all of
the Trayvon Martins.
REID: Right. I mean, the thing that is different about the two, David, is
that obviously in the Oscar case, you are talking about a police officer
shooting a black man which is something unfortunately young black men and
their mothers and fathers have had to tell them to be careful around
police. That is something we have come to, unfortunately, understand.
But in the Zimmerman case, it was a civilian. It was just a person with
absolutely no authority, doing the same thing, profiling and then shooting
a young black man.
DAVID WILSON, THE GRIO: Absolutely. I think the similarities with both
Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin, two young African-Americans trying to get
home, who are trying to return to loved ones. I think that is powerful.
One of the things I took away from "Fruitvale Station" was the fact that
they really portrayed Oscar Grant, not necessarily as a hero, not someone
as flawless, but an African-American man trying to find his way in society.
He had brushes with the law.
But he loved his family. That was important to show. He didn`t have to be
perfect in order for justice to be on his side.
As you know, with Trayvon Martin, there has been a smear campaign by some
on the right and also from the defense team, when they show pictures of
Trayvon Martin, in court, a shirtless young kid with grills in his mouth.
As if to say because he may have looked that way, that he could not be the
REID: And he didn`t look that way that night. That is the most outrageous
thing, because literally Mark O`Mara held up a picture of Trayvon Martin
which wasn`t the most recent photo and said, this is the person that my
client confronted. It wasn`t.
Is that one dimensional view of black men, of young black men? That is the
central struggle of growing up young, black male in America.
COBB: And even -- to take it a step further, the disgusting lengths to
which O`Mara went. Well, if you look at the body, you can`t tell how
muscular he was.
REID: At that point the parents walked out.
COBB: The point he`s saying, everything but. This case is defined by the
application of antiquated ideas about rape. What was he wearing? You
know, was he drunk or high. And really ultimately, what did he do? Did he
deserve it? So this is what was happening in that courtroom.
And you can say, OK, maybe they are mounting a vigorous defense for their
client. Maybe they are willing to cater to racism to get their client an
But this was the same kind of line that was echoed in the press conference
following it. As if they had no conscience, as if they had no recognition
that this was a tragedy. No matter what your theory of this was, this was
still a grieving family. Not capable of a humanity of saying, we should at
least we have an expression of sympathy for them.
WILSON: You know, it`s interesting. You know, last year, when everyone
learned the case of Trayvon Martin, you know, we all mentioned the phrase
teachable moment, teachable moment.
And I think one of the unfortunate lessons from this teachable moment for
many African-American boys is beware. You know, you can be doing
everything right. You can come home from school. Be profiled, and killed.
The law may not be on your side still, and you may not receive justice for
doing the right things, being in the right places. So I think that is a
very daunting sort of notion for young African-Americans to process, young
African-Americans mean to process, especially given all the other stresses
that we deal with, whether talking about dealing with incarceration, we`re
pretty much at the bottom of the totem pole for almost every issue, health,
And so, when you add this stress to a young 15, 16, 17-year-old African-
American male`s life, you know, it`s almost unbearable in some ways.
REID: You know, we were talking, Dave, earlier, Jelani, in the green room
and you were talking about because one of the issues was made is Trayvon
Martin`s height. A cardboard dummy that was brought in, the cardboard box,
look how tall he was. Look how menacing.
You grew up as a tall, as a big young man, tell us about that.
COBB: I`m 6`3". And I stopped growing when I was 15.
When they kept talking about Trayvon Martin and pointing out he was 5`11",
I said this will end in acquittal, because people would say, oh, 6 feet
tall, he was intimidating, what else could George Zimmerman do? But I
remember as a young person, my parents gave me the same warnings that
everyone else did. You k now, be careful, people will mistake you for
something else. All these things can happen.
My father always told me, if the police try it hand you anything, keep your
hands at your sides. If they ask is this yours, keep your hands at your
sides because they want your fingerprints on something.
But it didn`t register to me until a white teacher told me, he said, you
know, you actually could be intimidating who white people. That was really
something really telling in my own life.
WILSON: And the only unfortunate -- not the only unfortunate thing, but
one of the unfortunate things, is we know George Zimmerman had a longer rap
sheet and more brushes with the law than Trayvon Martin did. That`s one
thing that wasn`t admissible in the court and I think it would have made
all the difference if it was.
REID: Yes, and the prosecution didn`t exactly fight that hard to get it.
All right. Well, thank you very much, David Wilson, my boss. And Jelani
Cobb, thank you. Really appreciate it.
We will have more on the George Zimmerman verdict, coming up next.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VALARIE HOUSTON, PASTOR: We cannot afford to sleep for another 50 years
because if we do, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Trayvon Martin`s
innocent blood will be in vain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
REID: Welcome back. George Zimmerman`s acquittal left many feeling like
justice system had failed. But the fight for justice for Trayvon Martin is
not over. After last night`s verdict, the NAACP on their Web site, calling
on Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to open up a
civil rights investigation against Zimmerman.
NAACP president Ben Jealous wrote, "The most fundamental of civil rights,
the right to life, was violated last night, was violated the night that
George Zimmerman staled and then took the life of Trayvon Martin.
The petition also hosted on moveon.org received over 350,000 signatures,
enough to crash the NAACP`s Web site.
I`m joined now by Hilary Shelton, senior vice president for policy and
advocacy for NAACP, Michael Eric Dyson, MSNBC political analyst and
Georgetown University professor, and Rashad Robinson, executive director of
Color of Change.
OK, I want to start with Hilary Shelton, since it is the NAACP, it`s your
petition. How likely is it that the Justice Department will initiate a
prosecution of George Zimmerman at the federal level?
HILARY SHELTON, NAACP: We know at this point they are actually
investigating it very thoroughly. They have been -- according to the
conversations we`ve had with Justice Department officials, they have been
monitoring this case from the very beginning, from the time we talked to
them, after we heard this happened.
They have been following everything along these lines. They`ve been
looking at trial throughout this process. We know there`s a possibility
that they are looking for an opportunity to bring charges, if charges can
be found. So, we feel good that Justice Department has full attention
focused on this case.
REID: Well, I mean, we thought it`s important obviously that the NAACP has
an entity to pursue these charges on behalf of the family, on behalf of
those who care about Trayvon Martin.
But Color of Change, one thing you have done well is boycotts with the
Glenn Beck situation and targeting advertisers, targeting -- boycotts is a
way to achieve social change. Are there any thoughts of boycotting Florida
for instance. Maybe encouraging organizations to pull conventions out of
Florida. Is there any talk of that?
RASHAD ROBINSON, COLOR OF CHANGE: You know, one of the things we`ve done
well is hold corporations behind stand your ground accountable, getting
nearly 52 corporations to lead the American Legislation Exchange Council
after it was shown they were behind the laws.
REID: The "Stand Your Ground" laws.
ROBINSON: And what we`re going to be doing over the next several months
and years is really focusing on mainstream median, in particular Hollywood
and depictions of black men and boys, black women. You know, we have a
larger conversation, not just to change policy in this country, but also to
change the culture. We can do it by leveraging our power as everyday
people who care about what is happening on our television screen.
And understand that what George Zimmerman saw when he saw Trayvon Martin
has to do a lot with our culture and the images that come into our homes
every single day.
REID: I mean, that`s great. I think that`s important but, you know,
Michael, I think also people want to see something concrete, something to
happen, something needs to happen, I think, to nullify people`s sense of
grief and sense of Hollywood. If you do a long-term thing with Hollywood,
that`s good -- if you pursue the Justice Department.
What about on the street, advocacy, boycotting, things that people can see
and feel right now?
MICHAEL ERIC DYSON, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, it`s very tangible and
that`s where it resides, because, look, we`ve had people with American
culture with pictures of black masculinity we don`t want to outlaw. But at
the same time, we understand the white supremacist impulse of Hollywood has
been to demonize black men.
But on the ground, we`ve got to have rallies, we`ve got to go to churches,
we`ve got to tell people to vote. Why? Because not just for Barack Obama,
but vote in the local legislators in and out of office who are Southern,
who determine the ALEC, who determine the "Stand Your Ground" law. We can
put those people out of business.
We have to appeal to Department of Justice and to Attorney General Eric
Holder who I know is a very sensitive person to this issue. We have to
say, we have to stand our ground. Our ground is America. Our ground is
this country that we built.
We cannot be railroaded out of consciousness of America, and what we can do
is tweet, talk, touch, tend to each other, heal our wounds, and tell
America, we will not tolerate this. This will not be the last word.
REID: And the Martin family, also, they have their own Website. They are
doing something familiar. So, they are part of this.
You know, Hilary Shelton, I want to talk to you a little bit about the
march on Washington, the 50th anniversary being put together. How can that
energy already existing, people wanting to be in Washington for that next
month, how can all of these things be put together? Is that a plan of the
SHELTON: Absolutely. Just like the original march on Washington, big push
to change our policies in this country, to make sure we educate people on
what`s going on but then turn that knowledge and understand into direct
action. Direct action in our cities and our states as we take on policies
and issues like stand your ground and other very dangerous and destructive
policies but then also focus on the federal government as well.
We have to address what happened to Trayvon Martin and also what happened
to voting rights in this country with the Shelby decision.
So, we`ll be using that to garner that power, to match that power, and to
actually focus that power and make positive changes n our society needs.
REID: I want to let everybody know, we are looking at live pictures of
Union Square. One of about 20 different protest scheduled to go on around
the country, including in Sanford, Florida. That is Union Square right
here in New York City. People protesting the verdict.
I want to come back to you guys, Rashad and also to Michael. One of the
things that was so offensive with this idea that people would riot. I
mean, we see people out there peacefully protesting. I would submit that
you don`t have that violence nowadays is that you have social media.
People can have a community with them even in their living room alone or
you don`t have to feel grief and despair on your own.
Do you --
ROBINSON: Absolutely. I mean, hundreds of thousands of Color of Change
members, members of Change.org, Sybrina and Tracy -- folks mobilized
hundreds of thousands of people, George Zimmerman wouldn`t have seen a day
in the courtroom if people didn`t mobilize. Folks have seen the power they
have through the use of technology, through the use of organizing.
REID: And quickly, last word, Michael, are we a year from now going to be
seeing another Trayvon Martin?
DYSON: Probably so, but we`ve got to make sure that it doesn`t happen and
when it does, we`ll be there on the spot to circumvent that possibility in
King said that riot is the voice of the unheard. Twitter and social media
allows those people to be heard.
REID: All right. Thank you very much. Really appreciate it. Hilary
Shelton, Michael Eric Dyson and Rashad Robinson, thank you all for being
ROBINSON: Thank you.
REID: All right. We`ll have more on the verdict in George Zimmerman
murder trial, after this.
REID: In finishing up tonight, I want to take a moment to talk to you
One of my favorite lines from one of our greatest president, Franklin
Delano Roosevelt, was his speech on the four freedoms -- freedom of speech,
freedom to worship God each in our own way, freedom from want and freedom
Freedom from fear. We`ve heard a lot about George Zimmerman`s fear of
great bodily harm during his second degree murder trial. It was an expert
defense that convinced a jury of his peers that he was not guilty of second
What we didn`t hear much about until the very end of the case was Trayvon
Martin`s fear. It was only in rebuttal to closing argument that the
prosecution finally asked, isn`t it every child`s worst nightmare to be
followed by a stranger?
Every parent in this country, whether they`re Republican, a Democrat, an
independent, right or left, struggles with teaching our children to be free
from fear. At some point in every child`s life, we have to give our kids
the freedom to toddle and then to walk away from us, to cross the street,
to go out alone, to drive the car and be home by curfew and eventually to
become a self-sufficient adult member of society.
Trayvon Martin ventured out from a gated community on a rainy night in
Florida while his dad was to dinner to get some candy and a drink for his
soon-to-be younger stepbrother. He was exercising the kind of small
freedom that teenagers do every day, that my teenagers do -- that freedom
to go to the store, to walk in the community where he was staying cost him
his life and it will haunt his parents for the rest of theirs. No parent
should ever have to experience burying a child.
George Zimmerman deserved to have his day in court. He deserved the right
to a free and fair trial. In the end, the system worked for him.
But Trayvon Martin lived in a state and in a country where guns are held
sacred. He lived in a country where he was perceived as a thug and a
threat because of the color of his skin and the clothes he wore, and
because he fought back against a stranger who was following him. And he
lived in a country where he could be put on trial and held responsible for
his own death.
This story should make every single parent stop and think -- every time
your child walks out the door, they are in danger, you are in danger of
never seeing them again because the right to bear arms has turned into the
right to shoot first and get your story straight later.
In 2013, America has become a country where the Second Amendment rights are
more important than a 17-year-old boy in Florida, 20 first graders in
Connecticut, or dozens of people just trying to watch a movie in Colorado.
We live in a country where you can be stopped and frisked because of your
race and where a black teenager not only has to be wary of the police, but
each and every armed civilian and where never one of us can experience
freedom from fear.
That is THE ED SHOW. I`m Joy Reid, in for Ed Schultz. We`ll see you back
here next Saturday at 5:00 Eastern.
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