U.S. Attorney General Holder talks Trayvon Martin, slams “stand your ground” laws


by Tim Reed/photo and video courtesy of the NAACP

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder took to the stage at the NAACP convention yesterday to talk Trayvon Martin and slam “stand your ground” laws. “It is time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods,” he said. According to Holder, “These laws try to fix something that was never broken. The list of resulting tragedies is long and, unfortunately, has victimized too many who are innocent.”

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In a joint statement released when the tragedy first occurred, the National Education Association, Florida Education Association and American Federation of Teachers registered their disgust with the laws by saying, “When laws like ‘stand your ground’ make individuals arbiters of guilt and relegate the judicial system to the role of a mere bystander, that tragedy belongs to all of us.”

Holders remarks came as part of a speech to thousands of NAACP members during their annual convention, where activists pushed Holder and the Department of Justice to file civil rights charges against George Zimmerman. Petitions from the NAACP and MoveOn.org in support of civil rights charges have already reached more than 1 million signatures.


NEA President and high school math teacher Dennis Van Roekel has called upon NEA members and social justice activists to sign the NAACP petition, saying:

The National Education Association stands with the NAACP in calling for a full investigation by the Department of Justice. A full federal civil rights investigation is essential. As educators, it is our responsibility to our students to set the example by acting to seek justice, to teach fairness, and to provide comfort to students and families who grieve.

Following his remarks on Trayvon Martin and the tragedy of “stand your ground” laws, Holder spoke on another topic close to many social justice advocates’ hearts, the Voting Rights Act. Section 5 of the VRA, which was gutted by the Supreme Court last month, was an attempt to protect minorities in voting districts with a history of discrimination by requiring those districts to seek federal approval before any changes were made to voting procedures. Holder pledged that the Justice Department will not wait for Congress to possibly set new standards under the law, but instead shift resources to focus on prosecuting specific cases of minority voter discrimination using Section 2 of the VRA.

Visit NAACP.org and sign the petition seeking justice for Trayvon Martin.

Reader Comments

  1. Csteele when whites and blacks disproportionally have a different economic, politcal and social status; issues like these cant be oversimplied & out contexted with just an example of race reversal.

    Yes we can counterargue who is responsible for black disempowerment. But lets cut the bull, I could cite various schorlay sources like tricia rose that show blacks are

  2. The court decided that “Stand Your Ground” was irrelevant to this case, so why would the attorney general use the Zimmerman court case as a point if reference for attacking SYG laws? None of this rebel rousing makes sense.

  3. NEA has no business involved in this. Why not have a voice in the case where a black man on community watch killed a white child? Do we want civil rights for all or for some?

    1. csteele when blacks and whites has disproportionately have different economic, political, and social standards; using an example of race role reversal oversimplifies the equation, takes it out of context, and doesn’t represent the reality of the situation.
      40% of blacks are in the prison-industrial complex, at-below the poverty line etc. White folks don’t even reach 10%

      And yes I’m sure both of us can counter-argue whose fault it is for the destruction of black communities. Please let’s cut the bull we both can cite sources that’ll prove both sides. I could cite examples like Tricia Rose & Michelle Alexander that’ll cite national surveys that it’s a myth that blacks are creating their own self-destruction, if anything their is more evidence of community building to prevent that. And you’ll cite neo-con talking points to prove yours. But that’ll just be speculation on your part. Let’s just skip that “I have more evidence than you” part.

      Here’s the point. In reality, for all intents and purposes white children aren’t getting shot because of “stand your ground” laws supported by American legal systems. Black kids are, and that’s why black fathers and mothers are afraid of this out-of-proportion case of racial profiling, cause their children could be next.

      1. Really? Name one example of a black child being shot because of stand-your-ground laws. The court has already said the Zimmerman case is not one of them.

    2. You could not be more right! My state organization (NJEA) is constantly spending time and money on immigration reform while our education system is in chaos! I’ll be fine with spending time, money, and energy on the liberal agenda when everything about our education system is fixed, but until then please oh please, for the love of God please, let’s focus our energies on education!

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