The May 1 Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights calls for the arrest and punishment of the murderer of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla. We condemn the war on Black youth typified by the assassination of this young man, who went to a store to buy sweets for his little brother. His executioner, George Zimmerman, heard on the phone muttering a racist epithet as he killed the youth, justified his assassination of the youth by invoking Florida’s so-called self-defense law — known as “Stand your Ground.” The police told him to leave the youth alone, but he stalked Trayvon Martin, caught him, and while the youth screamed for his life, Zimmerman cold-bloodedly shot the young man in the chest. Zimmerman said Martin looked suspicious because he was wearing a hoodie. Still, one month after the murder, Zimmerman remains free.
New laws in Florida and in nineteen other states allow vigilantes to kill people they think are “suspect.” The overwhelming majority of such murders, 65 in Florida in the past year, have been of people of color. The Tampa Bay Times found that “justifiable homicides” have tripled in the state since the law went into effect. Sanford police have already been cited for not arresting racists who assault Black people.
There are huge gaps between rich and poor in the US. African Americans and Latino/as possess barely one-twentieth the wealth of whites. Black and Latino/a youth have the highest rates of unemployment and their wages are the lowest of all workers. The U.S., with six percent of the world’s people, has 25 percent of the world’s prison population. It is mainly people of color who are incarcerated. This is called “The New Jim Crow.”
In Florida and other states, the capitalist system denies millions of Black men who have served time in prison decent-paying jobs, education, health care … and the vote. This is another way of keeping people powerless. Those incarcerated in prison are forced to work for slave wages: a dollar or less an hour.
The U.S. was built on the robbery of land from Native People and Mexico, 350 years of enslavement of Africans, and a racist, Jim Crow system. Today, whether its murder by a police officer or a vigilante’s bullet, a bloody war on African-American youth is escalating as the capitalist economic crisis worsens. States and the federal government have simultaneously declared war on immigrants. One million have been deported and thousands more incarcerated in the past four years alone. All over the U.S., police racially profile Black, Latino/a and Native youth. The Department of Homeland Security leads the attack on Muslims. And states have passed 92 laws in the last year alone against women’s health rights. Meanwhile, police arrest, tase, pepper spray and beat unemployed and indebted Occupy Movement youth, who are mainly white.
Racist reactionaries are trying to destroy the progressive gains won by mass struggles, from workers’ rights to civil rights. The May 1 Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights sees this as a time for unity and fightback. In Union Square, “A Million Hoodies March” took place on March 21st against the murder of Trayvon Martin, that brought out thousands of angry people. This anger continues to mushroom around the country each day Zimmerman is free. A “National Hoodie Day” took place on March 26 – the one-month anniversary of Martin’s murder. On April 10, the day that a Florida grand jury meets on the Martin’s case, an International Day of Justice 4 Trayvon Martin protests are being called. On May 1 in Union Square, again we must stand together. Black and Brown and white, workers and unemployed, and documented and undocumented, calling for an end to racism and repression.
Justice for Trayvon Martin! Ramarley Graham! Sean Bell!
No more racist murders!
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