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Opinion

Jim Crow Justice: Trayvon Martin and the generational burden of Black boys

Jim Crow Justice: Trayvon Martin and the generational burden of Black boys

The history of America is still being written and the acquittal of George Zimmerman of second degree murder by a Florida jury of five White women and one Hispanic female in the mindless shooting death of 17-year-old African American teenager Trayvon Martin is now an important chapter in that history that gave birth to centuries of slavery and Jim Crow.

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  • Written by Roz Edward, National Content Director

Did Justice Prevail? Understanding the Zimmerman Verdict

Did Justice Prevail? Understanding the Zimmerman Verdict

A key principle of the American Criminal Justice System is that a verdict of not guilty doesn’t mean that a defendant is innocent. It simply means that the prosecution could not meet their burden of proving their case beyond a reasonable doubt. This principle was never more evident than in the trial and acquittal of George Zimmerman.

Unlike many lay persons, I was not surprised by the verdict. Non lawyer friends of mine expressed the gamut of emotions; sadness, anger, but most of all, they were confused as to how Trayvon’s killer could walk free. In the spirit of helping my friends understand the legal ramifications of the acquittal of Zimmerman, I’ve decided to write this letter.

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  • Written by Byron Pitts

Digging into the need to make health changes

Digging into the need to make health changes

Change can be difficult when it comes to health. Why is this so?

Well, let's start with some observations. There seems to be a preoccupation with living our lives wishing for time to accomplish more of the tasks we have undertaken. This has caused many of us to lose focus and – in some cases – not pay attention to our health.

We're placing more and more trust in gadgets, medical shots, pills, liquid shakes, body wraps and fads thinking they can help us stay healthy. In search of quick-and-simple fixes we run the risk of incurring severe healthcare problems.

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Right response from Obama on Zimmerman verdict

Right response from Obama on Zimmerman verdict

(The Root) – Though it's compellingly argued and passionately felt, I disagree with the assessment of my colleague at The Root, Keli Goff, that President Barack Obama's statement about (the) George Zimmerman verdict was disappointing or somehow offensive. After all, everyone has a part to play in this tragedy, and Obama's is unlike anyone else's.

While he's the most visible – and powerful – black man in the world, he's also head of government and head of state. And in those dual capacities, he ought to – and has – spoken out in support of Trayvon Martin's family. But it's also his job to represent the American system, with all its attendant flaws.

That's the difference between being a black politician and a president who's also black.

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Twitter examines white privilege

Twitter examines white privilege

Much of the nation is still reeling from the not-guilty verdict handed down to George Zimmerman over the weekend. Though Zimmerman is half Latino, many rightly name white privilege as a factor in his acquittal.

Since the verdict was announced, white Twitterers have used their own stories to illustrate the way white privilege works. Using the tag #WhitePrivilege, they shared encounters they had with police officers when they were young – situations similar to Trayvon's that ended much differently because they were not profiled as Trayvon was.

Hearing the privileged recognize and speak on their privilege imparts a bit of hope that maybe they can reach an audience that the rest of us can't.

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Were they disappointed we didn’t riot?

Were they disappointed that we didn't riot?

That was the sentiment of some who took to Twitter to give their accounts of the peaceful protests against George Zimmerman's acquittal that took place in Oakland, Calif., Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and other cities across the country on Sunday.

While the demonstrations focused on frustration with the verdict, Twitter accounts reflected what was seen as another instance of injustice: inadequate coverage of media coverage of the events, and especially of the accounts of those who said Los Angeles Police were firing rubber bullets at the crowds.

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In Zimmerman case, doing what’s right not just about law

In Zimmerman case, doing what’s right not just about law

Like so many others, I am distraught. It will take many days to sort through my feelings and reactions to the verdict of not guilty in the Trayvon Martin case. Still, some thoughts and lessons are obvious, immediate and, in a sense, imperative.

First, those who delight in the verdict are wrong. There is no winner here. Trayvon Martin is still dead and George Zimmerman still must live with the fact that he killed without reason or cause. Here, the "should have" rules: He should have stayed in the truck.

Those who react to the verdict with despair are wrong. We work hard for justice in this world, but we, being human, are flawed. We will make mistakes. The law is only our best approximation of justice, and the law needs constant revision. But doing what's right is not limited to the law. Sometimes, we must go beyond it.

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  • Written by Donna Brazile/Special to CNN

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