Join the Labor/Community Strategy Center and the Fight for the Soul of the Cities in taking to the streets of South Los Angeles. We are demanding that President Obama and Attorney General Holder, investigate and indict George Zimmerman and the Sanford, FL police department for violating the Civil Rights of Trayvon Martin.
How can I get involved? “I am heartbroken about Trayvon and want to do something effective.”
We are excited to ask you to join us in our “Voting Rights Referendum for Trayvon Martin” beginning in South Los Angeles, a Black and Latino community of 850,000 people, on Friday, August 2. Here are all the ways you can plug in:
- Cast your vote in the Voting Rights Referendum for Trayvon Martin campaign. We’ll have three permanent polling places:
1. Martin Luther King and Crenshaw Blvds.
2. Leimert Park at the corner of Vernon Avenue & Crenshaw Blvd.
3. The Southern California Library, 6120 South Vermont @ 61st Street.
- Volunteer for the campaign! Sign up for a shift to help us get out the vote at community events, community institutions, and in neighborhoods. Help put up posters and distribute flyers. Work in our campaign office.
- Organize your family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors to vote. Share information about the campaign with them and encourage them to go to one of the polling places to vote.
- Ask your workplace, church, mosque, temple, community organization or school to participate in the campaign. This means:
1. Endorse the campaign.
2. Serve as a polling place. We will set a voting box and a sign in their office, lobby, etc where members of the public can vote.
3. Invite a campaign poll worker to attend to a meeting, class or service to get all the people in attendance to vote.
- Promote the campaign through social media! Follow, share, re-post on:
Instagram, Tumblr, and Google+
Use hashtags #PeoplesVote4Trayvon & #VRR4TM
What Are Your Demands?
We will be asking the Obama Administration to:
- Investigate and indict George Zimmerman for violating the civil rights of Trayvon Martin under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, in support of the NAACP’s national call, and
- Investigate and indict the Sanford, Florida police department for violating the civil rights of Trayvon Martin under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994
What is Behind Those Demands?
The President is not acting forcefully enough. He must be pushed. President Obama asked the country to have a national dialogue on race but we want federal action to stop racist police forces and vigilantes carrying out beatings and murders. In particular, while George Zimmerman pulled the trigger, it was the Sanford, Florida Police Department that did not indict Zimmerman for 45 days – and not until after a major public outcry.
It was the Sanford Police that did not aggressively collect evidence at the crime scene and sabotaged the pathetic prosecution with a detective who never wanted to arrest Zimmerman and testified at the trial as a hostile witness to the “prosecution.” (The Florida State Attorney’s Office should also be investigated, given their “fight to lose” plan, but that is not in our demands).
As a woman from Florida recently stated, “Cities like Sanford see themselves as separate countries not bound by the constitution and are centers of racism and apartheid.”
Do President Obama and Attorney General Holder Have the Power to Enforce Those Demands?
Absolutely. They have the power to indict George Zimmerman under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate crimes Prevention Act of 2009. They have the power to indict the Sanford, FL police department under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994. In fact, this Justice Department, to its credit, has investigated 13 separate police departments including Miami and New Orleans under this statute, and forced them to sign consent decrees agreeing to radically change racial profiling, brutality, denial of due process practices. We need that power exercised for Trayvon. And we need it expedited because the Justice Department is telling people to “be patient” and “these investigations take a long time.” They must be pushed to move on this and move on it fast.
Why is this called a referendum?
A referendum is a big up or down vote on a large political question—should Black people have the right to secede from the United States, should all immigrants have the right to immediate civil rights, should the people of Chile vote out the dictator Pinochet, “Yes” or “No.” (See the great film in theaters, “No” that dramatizes the story of how the Chilean people voted out the dictator.) In this case, it is a referendum on whether the Obama Administration should investigate and indict George Zimmerman and the Sanford, Florida Police Department.
Why are you calling this a “Voting Rights” Referendum?
Because our referendum is open to all people regardless of immigration status, past or present dealing with the criminal injustice system, or age. Because the United States is not a democracy.
It denies the vote to Black people who built this country on their backs as slaves, who fought to get the vote and are now having it taken away from them because they vote too much. This country also denies the vote to youth who this county sends to war, to immigrants who are helping to build this country and coming from nations exploited and oppressed by the US. It denies the vote to prisoners and ex-prisoners, the vast majority of whom should never have been arrested in the first place.
As this country becomes more and more a country of color, the large corporations that run this country fear a powerful movement of the low-wage and no-wage Black and Latino working class. They are carrying out a sustained movement to restrict the votes of Blacks and Latinos. That, in turn, is a conscious tactic on the part of the system to allow unchecked police brutality, mass incarceration, and vigilante justice imposed on the Black and Latino communities.
Our Voting Rights Referendum is an exercise in Black and Latino political power to build a society in the interests of all people of color and all people of good will. All are welcome and encouraged to vote, will get a sticker, “I voted for Justice, My vote counts!” For many of our friends and members, this will be the first time they have ever voted!
What is your larger strategy, where does this campaign fit in?
Consider the murders of Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant; the 2.5 million people in prison and the 50 percent unemployment rate for young Black men; the unjust wars in which our children go to kill and be killed and come home mentally and physically disabled; you will find that this country is a system run for profit and not the people.
While we have to fight one abuse at a time, the Fight for the Soul of the Cities is trying to build a broad movement. Our demands are: free the U.S. 2.5 million prisoners; no cars in LA—and U.S. cities; 5,000 zero emissions buses in LA; free public transportation; amnesty and open borders for immigrants; support the right to protest and organize; stop U.S. drone attacks; and for President Obama to enforce, restore, and expand our civil rights.
We fight for Justice for Trayvon Martin because it is the right thing to do, regardless of chosen strategy. And for us, it is part of a longer-term movement to challenge the system with a Black/Latino alliance at its core.
What are other people doing about Trayvon Martin?
Our Campaign is just one good idea among many. It will take ALL of our efforts to win justice for Trayvon Martin and to challenge this system that is based on greed, racism, and conquest. Some other organizations doing excellent work include:
- NAACP Justice for Trayvon Martin
- Trayvon Martin Foundation
- Hip Hop Caucus
- The Dream Defenders
- Malcolm X Grassroots Movement
What is the Strategy Center’s history of civil rights organizing?
The Fight for the Soul of the Cities is a project of the Labor/Community Strategy Center, the Bus Riders Union, and the Community Rights Campaign. Many of you are already familiar with the civil rights advocacy, organizing, and enforcement we’ve done since 1989. This includes our report, Reconstructing Los Angeles from the Bottom Up and our successful coalitional campaign to defeat the Weed and Seed Program in 1992. It also includes our landmark lawsuit in 1994 against Los Angeles County MTA, for Violating Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. With excellent representation by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, from that suit we won a 10 year Consent Decree with the MTA. In this suit we were “class representatives” and won more than $2.5 billion for 500,000 low-income Black, Latino, Korean, working class bus riders.
Our present, “President Obama: Enforce, Restore, and Expand Our Civil Rights Campaign” has been asking the Obama Administration to support the Bus Riders Union in our complaint against the Los Angeles MTA in front of the Federal Transit Administration. We charged the MTA with once again violating Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act for cutting 1 million hours of bus service from Black and Latino bus riders, and we are now asking the President to enforce that act in every city in the U.S. The Voting Rights Referendum for Trayvon Martin campaign is part of that tradition.
How to get involved and stay connected:
The campaign is organized by the Labor/Community Strategy Center and it’s Fight for the Soul of the Cities Campaign. For more information, call 213.387.2800 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow us and use #PeoplesVote4Trayvon and #VRR4TM: